Are You Ready to Improve Your Customer Onboarding?
In our last post, we discussed why customer onboarding is critical for a business’s success. In today’s post, we dig deeper and look at ways to improve your customer’s onboarding experience.Customer onboarding is all about improving the experience for your customer. Click To Tweet
Get to Know Your Customer
Customer onboarding is all about improving the experience for your customer. However, if you have no idea who your customer is, it’s very difficult to create an experience that they would find enjoyable.
This graph from the Financial Brand wonderfully illustrates the questions you need to think about in order to understand your customer.
To begin, create a few ideal reader/customer profiles. This exercise helps to narrow down who you believe would like and benefit from your product. In understanding what your target audience values, appreciates and dislikes, you can create a strategy tailored to address each of these needs.
After you’ve determined your target audience, do some research to see what they are actually saying. Visit your competitor’s message boards to see what comments are being left, send out surveys, or go on social media. By going to your audience, you will get a good idea about the likes and dislikes of your potential customers. Once you understand them, you can then develop a system that they will like and appreciate.
Map It Out
Now that you know who you are addressing, you can begin creating a system that your audience will find helpful. To do this, your business needs to map out the sequence of events a customer will go through once they covert. This sequence will begin the moment a visitor converts into to a customer and will end once they are proficient in the product’s use.
Mapping out the sequence of events is very important as it creates a framework on which the rest of your company’s strategy hinges upon. In understanding the path you want customers to take, you can build policies and procedures to support that framework.
A common customer onboarding sequence includes the following steps:
1. The sign-up process
2. The welcome email
3. The first login experience
4. Customer training
We will discuss each one of these steps in more detail.
The Sign-Up Process
Since the customer onboarding process begins once a visitor becomes a customer, the sign-up process is the first step in the onboarding sequence. Arguably, this is also the most critical step as it is the first touch point with the customer. This step sets the stage for the customer’s future expectations of your company.
To improve this step, keep simplicity in mind. In a perfect world, you could ask for a lot of personal data in order to enroll someone as a customer, but that would not make the sign-up process simple. Instead, pair down the information you require to the bare essentials. The faster and simpler you make the sign-up process, the more likely it will be for someone to complete this step.
The Welcome Email
For most businesses that offer online services to customers, it is standard practice to send the customer a welcome email right after they sign up. While you might be excited to connect with your new customers, remember to take it slow with the welcome email.
Use the welcome email as an opportunity to introduce the customer to your company and to offer them information on how to get started. Pair down the information you present to the essentials as you do not want to overload them at the first meeting.
By giving them too much information at the get-go, you may cause them to think that a simple process is a lot more complicated than they thought, and they may abandon your site. By breaking the information down into bite-sized pieces you are making the process much easier for the customer.
To learn more welcome email strategies, check out our post here.
The First Login Experience
Has this ever happened to you?
You signed up online for something you are really excited about. When you initially signed up, everything worked well and you got to poke around the site to figure things out. After you’ve explored a bit, you decide to sign out. A few days later, you try to sign back in and it is a nightmare. Nothing is working well and you can’t get back into the customer portal. After a few frustrating attempts to get back in, you give up and move on.
Don’t let this happen to your customers. Test the sequence of events that happen for a customer the moment they hit the “Login” button. Make sure everything is working the way it should and that the login steps are clear.
If you take time at the beginning to show the customer how to navigate their customer portal and how to use your products, the better educated they will be. A well-educated customer is beneficial to you as they require less help to figure out the basics. This means that instead of you spending a lot of time helping customers overcome little hurdles, you can better spend that time working to obtain more customers or improving the customer’s experience somewhere else.
To help educate your customers, consider starting a drip campaign once the welcome email has been sent. By sending short emails on a regular basis, you can introduce one tip at a time to help the customer navigate your site better.
Another way to educate you customers is to include tutorials and FAQs on your site. People are generally resourceful and if you provide them with the information, they will try to answer their own questions first before seeking outside help.
As a final take-away, remember that the customer onboarding experience should be pleasant. Review each step of your onboarding sequence and look for ways to improve them. You want each step to be easy to understand and seamless. By eliminating friction points along the way, you improve your customer relations and help build your company into a successful business.
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Jolene is a strong operations, compliance, and paralegal manager. She also loves to research and write about business as well as personal topics that help others.
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