Create an Onboarding Experience That Leads to Long-Term Customer Satisfaction
There is a great deal of work that goes into landing a new customer. Customers who choose to work with your business are making an investment, and once you have convinced them that you are an investment worth making, your work has only just begun. Going through a thorough onboarding checklist will help your customers feel confident that they have made the right decision and will get your relationship off to a great start. When you onboard your new customer, you will help them become comfortable with your product or service. As you progress in your business, you’ll find that your existing customers are your most valuable assets as well as your best marketing tools. Giving them a positive onboarding experience will not only increase retention, but it will increase your potential to earn new business.
Step 1: Give Them a Warm Welcome
Your first communication with your new customer should be friendly, straightforward, and assure them that they have made the right decision in choosing your products or services. The first form of communication that might come to mind would be an onboarding email. While these welcome emails are certainly important, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile. If you have the bandwidth, sending them a handwritten letter will make you stand out from the crowd, and you could even include a welcome package to get them excited about their purchase.
If it makes sense for your product or service, you could also schedule an onboarding meeting to allow them to get acquainted with your team. Be sure that your team is on board as well and knows how to best serve this customer. This applies mostly to services that require an ongoing relationship where it will help them to put a name to a face. If they have any particular milestones, deadlines, or other expectations that they need your team to meet, this gives them the space to communicate expectations. Regardless of how you decide to reach out, let your customers know that they have a full team who is there to support them throughout their journey.
Step 2: Educate Your Team on the Customer’s Industry and Individual Needs
If you are scheduling an onboarding meeting with your new customer, this step should begin before that welcome meeting. Your team might already be familiar with the customer’s needs from the sales process, but it is important to make sure that everyone stays informed and on the same page.
One of the most efficient ways to understand your customers’ individual needs is to send an onboarding survey. Not only is this a reusable format, but it will be a great tool for your team to refer to as you continue to work with them. While your customer might be reluctant to fill out a questionnaire, if they can understand that this short investment in time will serve them greatly in the future, they will likely be on board. Some examples of questions you can ask in this form include:
- What is your vision for your business or for your current needs (three-year goals, five-year goals)?
- What is your ideal target market?
- Who are your main points of contact for various needs?
- What is your ideal form of communication and customer service?
- How often would you like to stay in communication with our team?
- Have you worked with a similar company or service in the past? What was your experience like?
Step 3: Make Sure They Understand Your Product or Service
This step will be especially important for those who are selling a particular program or software. Teaching them how to use your technology will improve their experience and help them to see the benefits of working with you. Beyond that, it will establish your expertise in the area, increasing their perception of your knowledge and credibility.
We recommend offering step-by-step guides and taking feedback when it comes to the ways they would like to be communicated with. Some customers might do well with a simple written guide, whereas others might prefer a presentation, personalized video, or phone call. It is important to pay attention to their needs and adjust accordingly. Once they get a chance to become acquainted with your software, ask them for feedback to see how helpful they found your instructions. This will make them feel appreciated, and it will help you improve the process for future customers.
Step 4: Follow up and stay in touch!
Once your customer is fully onboarded and your team is aligned on a strategy to meet their needs, it is important to continue following up. Create a follow-up schedule that makes sense for each individual customer and their goals. This can be as simple as sending a follow-up email or call to ask how their experience has been, whether they have had any issues, or if they have any questions for the team. As a general rule of thumb, it is best to follow up with them between a few weeks to a month after your initial onboarding.
A successful onboarding process is your first stepping stone toward a long and thriving customer relationship. We understand that a seamless onboarding session might take a bit of work, but creating a positive experience for your customers will be well worth it. The more practice you get with walking customers through this onboarding process, the better the experience will be for both them and for your team. If you would like to learn more about establishing strong customer relationships, feel free to contact the team at Scorpion.
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