October 2, 2017

Step-by-step: How to onboard your customers

Getting a new customer takes work. You took the time to understand their wants and needs and showed them that your product could help make their lives easier. It could even take months before a potential customer actually wants to commit to your business.

Amazing, right? Well, yes… except for the sinking feeling that comes when you realize that you’re not totally sure what happens next. However, there is a way to retain your customers from the very start of your business relationship. And that magic solution is called onboarding.

“Wait, what’s onboarding?”

Good question! The onboarding process is how you welcome new customers to your product or service. This can come in a variety of formats: an automated email, step-by-step walkthrough of your platform, or a phone call from customer service. No matter the method, these practices ensure that your new customer’s first experience with your brand is seamless.

A thorough onboarding process ensures that your customer’s life is easier, and also prevents churn––AKA customer loss––by getting them to use your service shortly after signup.

The 5 Onboarding Essentials

1. Outline your product flow

Before a customer can get comfortable with your product, they need to know exactly how it works. That’s why the flow of your business needs to be communicated quickly and simply. This is the part of your process where conversational copy on your site or platform is key. Otherwise, your customers will be too intimidated, or confused, to continue on in their journey.

2. Create a sample experience

Even after the product flow is explained, your potential customer might still be unsure about making a purchase. This is the perfect time to show them a visual demonstration of what their experience with your company will be.

This step can be a video demonstration, an embedded slideshow, or a walkthrough on the phone with a company representative. For example, MOO has a quick video that shows how to use our MOO Business Services online platform.

3. Call to action

Once you’ve proven how simple the purchasing process is with your company, it’s time to give the customer a call to action. Here, you want them to order now, upload a design, or do whatever you think is the next step in their buying process.

Remember, consistent early engagement will improve the likelihood of a return customer. This was proven in a study done by Appboy, a lifecycle engagement platform for marketers. According to them, 90% of the people who engage weekly for the first month after an app download are retained, compared to only 23% of people who don’t engage in the second, third and fourth week.

4. The follow-up

Don’t leave your customer hanging after the first order. Make sure to follow up, and let them know that you appreciate their business.

It’s important to touch base with your customers after their first experience of your product. This is a crucial time to reach out, request feedback, and answer any questions they might have. This follow-up will build trust and encourage repeated product use in the future.

5. Personalize it

No one wants to get an email that says, “To our valued customer: Thank you for using our service!” That approach, while well-meaning, feels cold and detached.

Instead, use the follow-up message as an opportunity to give your customer some personalized thanks. Bonus points if you include a promo code for a free gift or a discounted service. After all, where would we be without our customers?


Have a successful customer onboarding story? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

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