13 best practices for digital customer onboarding

Ryan Forsythe, Content Marketing Specialist, Moxo

Implementing best practices for digital customer onboarding is vital for retaining customers and maximizing their lifetime value. Failing to provide a satisfactory digital onboarding experience, or worse, neglecting it altogether, puts your hard-earned customers at risk of churning. In this article, we will explore the significance of adhering to customer onboarding best practices and share actionable tips to ensure a delightful digital customer onboarding process that leaves a lasting impression on clients.

Discover below the timeless best practices for digital customer onboarding that are applicable to every industry. To familiarize your customers with your products or services, it is crucial to implement these top-notch onboarding practices. By following the techniques outlined below, you will be equipped to create a seamless and captivating onboarding experience that can result in satisfied and loyal customers.

1. Develop an exceptional digital customer onboarding program

Not every customer will have an innate understanding of how to use your products or services. When customers are left to figure things out on their own, frustration can easily set in. And when customers become disgruntled, it can lead to a high churn rate—a measure of the percentage of customers who stop using your company's offerings within a given period. To minimize customer churn, it's crucial to implement a high-quality onboarding program.

Customer onboarding is a vital process that nurtures and guides new customers in adopting and utilizing your products or services. This initial step in cultivating a relationship holds the key to maximizing customer lifetime value. While acquiring new customers may be costlier than retaining existing ones, this method can potentially create an exceptional and unforgettable experience for new customers. As they progress through this journey, their perception of your company's value will soar, fostering loyalty and transforming them into repeat customers in the future.

Additional benefits of a quality customer onboarding program include increased revenue, word-of-mouth referrals, decreased customer service costs, and increased engagement. Customer onboarding sets the tone for the ongoing relationship your customers will have with your products and business.

2. Find the best digital customer onboarding software

When your company decides to develop an onboarding program, it's crucial to find suitable software that caters to your specific requirements. These programs provide you with the necessary tools to create step-by-step onboarding experiences, minimizing repetitive work while simultaneously allowing you to measure customer engagement. With the software you choose, you  should be able automate your onboarding process (streamlining intake forms, file requests, tasks meeting scheduling, etc) and guide your customers in context through collaborative capabilities, ensuring a seamless onboarding experience for your customers.

Choosing the right software for your business can have a significant impact on your customer's experience. It's essential to find a solution that is flexible and customizable to meet the diverse needs of your clients.

Investing in digital customer onboarding software can enhance client retention and overall business efficiency. In this regard, Moxo's digital customer onboarding software is a dependable and robust choice for businesses seeking a customizable, secure, and user-friendly platform.

3. Define expectations and establish milestones

In the realm of customer engagement, the value of asking questions cannot be overstated. This is especially crucial during the initial days and weeks. One key question to address is: What does success mean to them? In the modern era of customer success, the term "success" encapsulates the ultimate objective. This entails understanding their desired outcome and aligning it with your engagement strategies. By doing so, you can establish clear expectations and devise a plan to achieve them.

Setting "success milestones" or goal deadlines is integral to this process, allowing customers to define what these milestones entail. Regardless of your industry, it is paramount to be authentic and ensure that the milestones set are attainable and consistently met.

4. Enhance the onboarding experience with personalized customization

There is a wealth of information available regarding customizing the digital onboarding experience for new employees and creating a welcoming environment. Extend this approach by treating your customers as you would a valuable new hire. View your customers as partners and tailor their onboarding experience to meet their specific needs.

Part of the onboarding process should involve tailoring each account to the individual, and this should be a standard protocol. What does personalizing the onboarding experience entail? Consider the principles of UX design: The experience with you, regardless of the industry, should be valuable, useful, desirable, and accessible. This can encompass various aspects, such as creating exclusive client-only VIP portals, establishing personalized profiles, offering exclusive content, ensuring availability, and understanding your customers well enough to anticipate their questions and address them proactively.

As a side note, conducting occasional check-ins, whether requested or not, can be incredibly beneficial for both you and the customer in terms of quality assurance. These check-ins often serve as pleasant surprises and offer a wealth of information. Inquire about their onboarding experience, address any questions they may have, and ask if there's anything you can do to enhance their journey. By doing so, you will proactively stay ahead of the game.

5. Execute onboarding activities

When onboarding your customers, it's important to generate excitement and maintain engagement. Implementing a range of activities throughout the process can be crucial. To ensure commitment during onboarding, consider incorporating video tutorials, Q&A check-ins, webinars, and personalized one-on-one sessions. By offering a variety of methods, you can cater to different learning styles and help customers familiarize themselves with your product or service effectively. Take the time to carefully select activities that will keep your customers engaged and make the onboarding experience a success.

6. Onboard your team for a seamless transition and effective collaboration

When discussing your team, it's important to consider not just the sales team, but the entire team. Ensure that every individual involved is well-informed about the customer's needs, pain points, story, background, and onboarding process. This comprehensive understanding will contribute to a more effective and cohesive approach.

Without a doubt, this is a relatively novel concept that has gained popularity thanks to customer success. Conducting an internal onboarding briefing not only integrates the customer into the daily operations of the company but also aligns the team in a manner that facilitates the smooth flow and execution of new ideas. This results in reduced time spent on briefing and a generally more efficient and effective operation.

During the onboarding process, it is crucial to steer a seamless ship. This phase holds more significance than any other in the sales cycle, as the potential for churn is sown early on. It is imperative to truly prioritize the customer's needs and integrate them into your company's daily agenda. By doing so, you exemplify a commitment to walking the walk.

7. Data gathering

Collecting data is of utmost importance. It encompasses various aspects such as website analytics, purchasing patterns, duration of sales cycles, customer performance in the market, and more. Why is data gathering crucial? Well, because elite businesses attribute a significant 68% of their success to the collection and analysis of data.

Let's face it - being unaware of your customers' needs is detrimental to your relationship with them and your own growth. Data should be your trusted companion not only during the onboarding process but also beyond it. Having baseline key performance indicators to measure progress or identify shortcomings will enable you to define the success of your process. Consistently demonstrating your value beyond onboarding requires gathering the necessary data during the onboarding process.

8. Focus on building strong relationships

Whether it's a quick transaction or a long-term process like selling software to entire companies, every sale creates an opportunity for building a relationship. Regardless of the duration, selling is about fostering connections and creating lasting value.

To cultivate a strong relationship, implement a few key strategies. Firstly, assign dedicated account managers who can provide personalized support. Regularly check in with clients to gauge their satisfaction and address any concerns. Engage with their social media content by following, liking, and commenting, showing genuine interest. Additionally, schedule progress checkups via phone calls to ensure ongoing success. The foundation of building trust lies in honest and sincere communication. Remember, trust is the antidote to customer churn, and cultivating relationships showcases the value you bring.

9. Communication is key

The significance of communication and contact for achieving success is undeniable, as evident in each aforementioned best practice. During the onboarding process, maintaining good and consistent communication becomes the deciding factor in establishing a strong relationship with your customer. Remember, it's crucial not to abandon them after the sale! Stay engaged during the initial stages and reassure them of your availability.

10. Conduct a follow-up after the completion of onboarding

Maintaining a strong customer relationship should extend beyond the onboarding process. It would be unfortunate to invest in building rapport, only to sever ties abruptly. Let's continue nurturing these connections for long-lasting success. Rather than closing the door, consider leaving it open for customers to stay connected with their account manager even after completing onboarding. This provides them with a direct channel to reach your team, whether they have further inquiries about your product or need assistance with onboarding a partner or new employee. By offering ongoing communication, you foster stronger relationships and ensure that your customers receive the support they need throughout their journey.

It is also advisable to periodically reach out to customers to inquire if they have any further queries regarding your product or service. Once they have become proficient in its fundamental features, they may display an eagerness to explore more advanced techniques and tips. These interactions can provide opportunities for representatives to engage in timely conversations, potentially leading to upselling and cross-selling of add-ons or upgrades to customers.

11. Consistently evaluate customer needs

The purpose of onboarding is to equip customers with everything they need to achieve their goals. However, as the length of your onboarding process may vary, customer needs can evolve as they begin using your product or service. It is crucial to regularly check in with customers to ensure that your onboarding remains effective and aligned with their objectives. After investing significant time and effort, you wouldn't want customers to churn simply because they fail to recognize the value your product offers.

This is where developing a strong relationship with customers is crucial. When trust is established, they are more likely to openly communicate their needs. This valuable insight enables your team to adapt and deliver a personalized experience, tailored to their feedback.

12. Engage and onboard customers to explore product add-ons and upgrade their accounts

Even though a customer has already completed your onboarding process, it doesn't mean they can't go through it again. If they make another purchase or upgrade, they'll need to familiarize themselves with their new product or service.

This is where having multiple onboarding processes comes in handy. Some representatives should be dedicated to onboarding new customers, while others can assist existing customers with learning how to use add-ons and upgrades. Remember, repeat customers are more valuable than new ones because they're purchasing additional products without the need for acquisition costs. These individuals already trust your brand, so it's crucial for your team to ensure their satisfaction and engagement.

13. Create an accessible, flexible, and repeatable onboarding process

As previously mentioned, businesses are dynamic entities that evolve in response to their goals, circumstances, and environment. As companies grow, their short and long-term requirements adapt, placing the onus on your success team to effectively address customer transitions. If your onboarding process is inflexible and fails to accommodate change, meeting all of your customers' needs becomes challenging.

Furthermore, your onboarding process should be both accessible and replicable, allowing new employees or your customers' partners to easily familiarize themselves with your product. Even if this incurs additional costs, customers expect your business to facilitate the onboarding of new users.

Wrapping up

Effective customer onboarding serves as your shield against the inevitable churn. While churn is a reality, implementing robust onboarding practices ensures that your company doesn't become a relic in the Business History Museum, alongside the remnants of traditional businesses that feared embracing change. So forge ahead, evolve, and greet new customers with fervor, involvement, and genuine enthusiasm.

If you’re looking for digital customer onboarding software, Moxo offers a powerful, easy-to-use solution trusted by several of the world's leading businesses.