A good customer onboarding process can make a massive difference to product adoption, customer retention, and the overall scalability of your company.
A fantastic onboarding experience helps your customer feel confident about their decision to choose you over your competitors. It also helps your team onboard a high volume of customers with minimal time investment.
In this article, we’ll discuss what customer onboarding is, six key onboarding steps you must follow, why onboarding is important, and how Rocketlane can help you with your customer onboarding.
Customer onboarding (often known as client onboarding) is the nurturing process where new users and customers get acquainted with your product and services.
It covers the entire customer journey from the initial sign-up to the first use.
A successful customer onboarding process would include:
The aim of customer onboarding is to deliver value to your customer as early as possible — ideally in their first use. As such, onboarding is inextricably linked to customer satisfaction and engagement.
You can adopt one of the following models for onboarding customers:
A customer onboarding model is how your company helps the customer learn about your product and engage with you.
Broadly speaking, there are three models you can adopt.
A high-touch model employs a human-centric approach. Here, the new customer receives personalized engagement throughout each stage of the onboarding process.
This could be in the form of in-person meetings, Zoom demos, a product tour, high-priority email support, and calls from a dedicated customer success manager. This would also include support documentation, but the availability of human support is the key differentiator.
Sounds like a lot of work?
A high-touch onboarding process can be made incredibly streamlined by using a tool like Rocketlane.
The low-touch onboarding model involves minimal involvement from your user onboarding team. Instead, the user uses self-help documentation to set up the product themselves.
This could include your FAQ section, how-to guides, and troubleshooting documentation.
While customer support is available over the phone, email, or text, it’s not personalized to each new user.
In this onboarding strategy, the customer is led through the entire onboarding process through the software itself.
You levy technology to help the customer using:
The goal of the tech touch approach is to enable users to find value in your product and reach the ‘aha’ moment quickly, and upgrade to a paid plan.
Your choice of onboarding model will need to connect with your customer’s needs. But regardless of the model, here are some steps you can follow to deliver on your customer onboarding goals.
Here are the six steps you need to follow for a successful customer onboarding process.
It all begins with the pre-sales phase, where the customer onboarding team works with the sales team to come up with the perfect onboarding flow for each customer.
Here, the sales team (the customer’s first point of contact) collects all the necessary data, like their top problems. These inputs and other customer data are then shared with the onboarding team.
The customer is also introduced to their customer success manager (if there’s one.)
The kickoff meeting sets the tone for the entire onboarding project.
A successful meeting can help you establish project goals, milestones, and set expectations with your customer. It should leave every team member confident about the overarching goals and details, like who will sign off on deliverables.
We also recommend having a simple project mission statement that you can refer back to. Make it a collaborative effort between you and the customer.
In this stage, the onboarding team walks the customer through the account setup, setting configurations, and other features.
However, if the product is complex, the onboarding team will set up the product themselves.
You can streamline this process by mapping out every step of the customer journey, from receiving a welcome email to a product walkthrough. This will help you understand how the customer experiences your onboarding system.
In this stage, the customer truly starts engaging with the product – whether that’s through self-serve options or a dedicated customer success manager.
For the ones who prefer to self-serve, you should have plenty of documentation ready. This could include FAQs, video tutorials, a virtual product tour, etc.
On the other hand, for enterprise-level customers, you can provide a dedicated team member who can walk the customer through various touchpoints and resources individually.
Such customized guidance can help these customers understand how your product addresses their specific use case and challenges.
This is also the stage where you should invest in customer education by adding quizzes, graphics, and other interactive elements. These can help drive customer engagement by gamifying the entire process.
The best part about customer education is that you can leverage it in other ways to grow your company.
For instance, as Bill Cushard (GM at ServiceRocket) puts it, HubSpot started training its audience early on, even before its product was ready for launch. They educated marketing professionals on inbound marketing and noticed those people were more likely to turn into paying customers.
Similarly, Cloudera hired someone in the customer education role as a way to scale quickly. They understood the value of their education and turned those elements into a lead source.
Additionally, existing customers attended training sessions to understand the product better.
Before launching, you should double-check every element of your onboarding programs. From technical glitches to grammar in the customer education section — everything should be running smoothly.
If you are deploying custom-built software, you would need to test your program either using your own employees or outside testers.
Ask them to go through the program the way a customer would and give your feedback. This feedback can help you edit your onboarding program and make necessary improvements.
You can also ask existing customers to go through the process to understand their wants and needs. For example, they may require certain product integrations you didn’t provide earlier.
This stage can help you collect all the customer feedback and implement it into your onboarding process.
Finally, there’s the pre-launch stage, where the goal is to help potential customers understand how your onboarding strategy will help them.
A well-informed audience is more likely to help you find success with your onboarding process. This is also where the customer’s portal is rolled out so they can make the program their own.
As you move forward, you want to routinely check with your existing customer to ensure everything is running smoothly. You can also refer back to the mission statement and goals you set out to achieve.
Regular check-ins play an important role in your onboarding process. They help customers feel like you care about their progress and are ready to help them out if they’re stuck somewhere.
But why should you go through this lengthy onboarding process at all??
There are three key reasons why you should invest in a well-oiled customer onboarding strategy.
First impressions are lasting impressions — and you never get a second chance at them!
A seamless onboarding experience is your best bet to build trust in your brand, driving up customer loyalty and retention.
In the long run, a happy customer is more likely to warm up to new features and up/cross-selling opportunities from you.
On the other hand, if your onboarding process is too complicated and without thorough customer service, it could drive customers away.
Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend your product to others. This word-of-mouth marketing is generally more successful than paid ads.
People trust other people and their experiences over brands — more so because ordinary users don’t stand to benefit from promoting brands as advertisers do.
This makes your customers your biggest potential brand advocates.
Even a single loyal customer can help you tap into a new, emerging customer base through their right industry contacts.
A customer base that’s already loyal to your brand is more likely to be receptive to your other products or add-ons to existing ones.
This is one of the most important advantages of a well-established customer onboarding process. Since customers are not just familiar with your brand but also trust it, they’re open to the idea of trusting you with their hard-earned money.
Whether that’s through the purchase of a higher-tier or complimentary products, effective customer onboarding can help your brand soar to new heights.
Let’s now look at how you can check whether your customer onboarding process is delivering the right results or not.
How do you determine how well your onboarding process works?
Here are a few questions that you can use to gauge your customer onboarding process.
If the answer to all of these questions was yes, then you’ve done your job right and have a happy customer on your hands.
If not, then turn to Rocketlane!
Typically, customer onboarding requires multiple tools like:
This can be quite a lot for a new customer or even your own team! It can result in app confusion, making customers lose their drive to engage with your product.
Rockletlane does this by offering a one-of-a-kind, unified workspace with improved communication, collaboration, and project visibility.
Here are the four pillars of Rocketlane’s onboarding experience:
Rocketlane ensures that all tasks and processes have consistency woven through them by incorporating different project templates and insights into project processes.
In just a few clicks, you can set up the entire Rocketlane collaboration space for different projects and types of customers. This quick setup helps make the onboarding process simple and repeatable.
With Rocketlane, you can get a snapshot view of all your projects at once!
Simply hover over elements to understand what’s going on with each project down to the nitty-gritty details.
You can even check project progress, delays, bottlenecks, pending tasks, and more.
Create status updates related to these elements and have task-specific conversations, so everyone knows what’s happening without a single email.
Each Rocketlane task has prebuilt project management features and fields like:
Each template can be customized for different customer segments depending on the customer’s industry, size, maturity level, and implementation complexity. These templates can be used for multiple projects, helping you get performance insights at every stage of the onboarding journey.
You can also use Rocketlane’s Private feature to ensure certain information is available to your customers while other information is only visible to your customer success team. This way, you can take care of small comments and tasks without overwhelming the customer.
Meetings can be a pain sometimes, but Rocketlane makes it easy by collecting all your presentations and meeting notes into one view. This can help you establish what resources you require from the customer and when.
It can also streamline all communication and collaboration with the customer.
Rocketlane provides each customer with their own portal and unique domain. You can customize and add logs or themes to create a connection with your brand.
This portal lets you talk to the customer by sharing updates, requesting approvals and feedback, and even assigning tasks.
By following a well-proven customer onboarding process, Rocketlane can help bring your customers and your customer success team together.
Don’t believe us? Here are three examples of just that!
Here are three examples of how an effective customer onboarding process leads to visible gains for your company.
Jirav is a financial planning and analysis solution company based in Seattle, USA. It helps businesses forecast bookings, revenues, expenses, cash flow, and workforce.
However, they were struggling with a lack of visibility regarding open projects and project progress. There was also no easy way for them to access project information on HubSpot. All of this made it difficult to estimate project timelines.
In essence, they needed a solution that could:
Rocketlane brought much-needed structure and consistency to Jirav’s customer onboarding strategy in the following ways:
A 50% reduction in onboarding time for every single customer! Jirav went from taking 8-10 weeks per customer to just 4-6 weeks.
Mosaic is a strategic business finance platform based in San Diego, USA, for real-time analytics and planning.
They were using Google Sheets to assign representatives to customers and onboard them. So, they were struggling to maintain all project documents simultaneously.
Using Google Sheets also meant minor customer requests would slip through the cracks, leading to customer churn. They needed a way for their internal sales team to track every customer requirement without unnecessary delays.
With Rocketlane, Mosaic has a process-oriented approach to customer onboarding in the following ways:
As a result, they were able to save approximately 120 hours each month and make the onboarding journey transparent for their customers!
Tevera is an ed-tech company based in Hudson, USA, that simplifies field and program management, accreditation, internship, and employment for counselors and educators.
They had limited resources, which meant customer engagement at each step of their onboarding program was paramount. Their previous platform failed to deliver many learning outcomes due to a lack of intuitive features.
They needed an onboarding tool that could:
Here’s how Rocketlane spearheaded Tevera toward its onboarding goals:
Since the customer onboarding experience is streamlined, Tevera’s engagement has also increased while the average CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) score is up by 10%.
A well-thought-out and executed customer onboarding strategy can help customers realize the value of your product, which allows them to reach their ‘aha’ moment quickly.
But you need the right technology to craft your ideal customer onboarding strategy.
That’s why we created Rocketlane — a singular customer onboarding tool! It’s built to help your customers feel at ease so you can deliver maximum value to them and reduce customer churn.
Sign up for the 14-day free trial today and provide the best customer onboarding experience possible!