Customer onboarding: Types, steps, and best practices

Which customer onboarding model should you choose for your company?
March 23, 2022
No items found.

A good customer onboarding process is critical to making a customer successful, and customers are known to have high expectations. Speaking of high expectations, customers want a personalized experience throughout their journey, and there is a high probability of churn if you don’t deliver your promises. 

However, not all customers want to learn everything about what you do. They want to know how your product can solve their problem quickly and efficiently.

So, how can you develop an onboarding strategy that’s not time-consuming yet delivers value to your customers? 

In this blog, we’ll explain:

  1. Types of customer onboarding
  2. How each model can benefit your company and customers
  3. Which type of onboarding is appropriate for your business 
  4. Best practices to create each type of onboarding
  5. How Rocketlane can help you with your onboarding

Let’s get started.

Types of customer onboarding models

A customer onboarding model is the approach to how your company can help your customer learn about your product and engage with you post-sale. When it comes to onboarding, there are 3 models that you can follow:

  1. High-touch 
  2. Low-touch
  3. Tech-touch 

High-touch onboarding model

A high-touch model involves a human-centric approach that offers personalized digital engagements to customers throughout their journey. 

This approach is applied via in-person meetings, demos, 1-1 webinars, and phone calls from a dedicated customer success manager. Customers get 1-1 immediate assistance from a dedicated CSM to solve their problems, answer questions, etc.

Low-touch onboarding model

A low-touch onboarding approach has minimal involvement from the onboarding team. In this approach, the customer uses self-explanatory resources you’ve provided to set up your product by themselves. 

Standard low-touch onboarding methods include webinars, emails, content resources such as how-to guides, FAQs, troubleshooting documentation, etc. Close follow-ups and support are available via email, phone, chat, and not on 1-1.

Tech-touch onboarding model

The tech-touch onboarding is self-serve in nature that allows a user to sign up, learn about your product by using it, and find value instantly. 

It refers to using technology to onboard customers with a series of automated emails or pop-ups in-app to explain each feature, email newsletter, blogs, and video tutorials to provide the know-how.

How each model can benefit your company and customers

Benefits of high-touch approach

  1. You get to ensure your customers know your product/service and help them reach their goals.
  2. You receive live feedback about your product/service or the onboarding experience from your customers during training.
  3. You can quickly inform your customers about product updates and provide the necessary training.

Benefits of low-touch approach

  1. Lesser 1-1 touch points with your customers frees up valuable time for your teams.
  2. Customers and users can choose how they learn about your product or service, thus reducing friction.
  3. Enables your customers to use your product quickly.

Benefits of tech-touch approach

  1. You can identify the barriers to your customers reaching the “aha” moments with your product, sooner in the onboarding journey.
  2. It helps your customers achieve their goals quickly and realize value.
  3. Reduces the investment of cost into low LTV customers.

How to choose the customer onboarding model for your product

The most successful companies use a blended approach of all these models to provide a better customer experience to their customers.


Because every customer is different and onboarding them depends on four factors:

  1. Complexity of your product
  2. Growth stage of your business
  3. Type of company you’re selling to - SMB, mid-market, or enterprise
  4. Deal value/Customer LTV

Also, find out a few things about your customer:

  1. What problem they are trying to solve
  2. What solution they are looking for
  3. What their end goal is
  4. The risks they are facing
  5. Their awareness of your product or competitor’s product
  6. Their experience with the subject matter
  7. Any possible reasons for churn

You need to tailor your onboarding process to provide a better customer experience based on these factors. 

If your company is still early in your product lifecycle, it’s better to start your onboarding process as high-touch to understand your customer needs and get feedback on what’s not working. Based on the observations and feedback, you can tailor your onboarding process.

Best Practices

Now that you’ve understood the types of onboarding, their benefits, and when to use each approach, let’s see how you can create your customer onboarding process for your product.


  1. Keep your sign-up process short. If you require more information, split it into 2-3 parts.
  2. Welcome your customer via multiple channels - emails, in-app messaging, and product tours.
  3. Do a discovery and kickoff call to start the onboarding project and to set the right expectations from the start. 
  4. Define the goals, milestones, KPIs and assign roles and responsibilities on vendor and customer sides.
  5. Document all the required data.
  6. Showcase your product and educate your customer well enough to do a “reverse” demo.
  7. Migrate all data from their previous system to yours.
  8. Let the customer explore your product on their own and start using it.


  1. Like the high-touch onboarding approach, keep your sign-up process as sweet and straightforward as possible.
  2. Send a welcome message, including a product introduction video or a help article with a catchy CTA that takes the user back to your product.
  3. Don’t make your customer guess how to use your product. Remove the barriers to achieving quick value.
  4. Allow the customer to skip the product walkthrough because not everyone wants to look at all the features at once.
  5. Follow up via emails to check in on their progress and share helpful resources.


  1. Interactive walkthroughs: Help your customers learn about your product by exploring and using it.
  2. Native Tooltips: Display the tool/feature’s use case using a brief in-app messaging box when the customer hovers over it.
  3. Knowledge Base: List your help articles, explainer videos, blogs, podcasts, troubleshooting articles, FAQs, etc., in one place. 
  4. Community: Build a centralized hub for all your customers to discuss your product and learn together. Use this space as a repository for the company and customer-generated content.

For each onboarding model, track how customers engage with your product and the process. Use data and onboarding metrics to understand their behaviors and needs.

How Rocketlane can help you with your customer onboarding

Rocketlane is a purpose-built customer onboarding software that helps your business accelerate your time-to-value, achieve faster go-lives, and increase renewals. Rocketlane improves communication, consistency, collaboration, and project visibility for your teams and customers with a one-of-a-kind, unified workspace. 

Want to know more about how Rocketlane can help you? Give us a try!

More resources

  1. How to build a customer onboarding framework
  2. The Customer Onboarding Maturity Model
  3. Value Realization for SaaS Businesses: Framework and Tools

Industry insights you won’t delete. Delivered to your inbox weekly.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Mohana Valli Prabhakar
Marketing Analyst @ Rocketlane & Community Manager, Preflight

Introverted, but willing to discuss books. Follow me on Twitter @Mohanavalli96

You might also like...
Here are some other posts from us you may enjoy reading
Mastering subscription billing: Best practices for professional service businesses
A must-have guide for professional service firms on implementing subscription billing to drive growth and enhance customer retention.
Mastering modern customer onboarding: Your essential guide to success benchmarks
Explore industry best practices and benchmarks for customer onboarding that use personalization and technology for maximum efficiency.
Subscription models demystified: Choosing the right approach for your professional service business
A detailed guide to subscription models for professional services with core components, pricing approaches, metrics to track, and more.

Move your service delivery into the fast lane

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.