Your business relationship with your clients does not end when you receive their payment. In fact, that merely marks the beginning. To make sure that your clients are happy with your business, you should have an effective client onboarding process.
In this article, you will know what client onboarding is and how it can help your business. Most importantly, you will find nine tips that will aid you in setting up an effective client onboarding process for your customers.
What Is Client Onboarding?
Client onboarding is the process in which: (1) a customer becomes familiar with the product and/or service he purchased; and (2) the seller provides answers and solutions to the questions and concerns of the customer.
Many people say that client onboarding starts from the moment the client signs up for, or purchases, a product or service. It is also said that this process ends once the customer becomes comfortable using the product or service. Thus, the duration of the client onboarding process differs from one business to another.
Importance of Good/Effective Client Onboarding Process
A good/effective client onboarding process is valuable not only for customers but also for businesses. Specifically:
1. Client onboarding highly affects customer satisfaction – Customers will be highly dissatisfied if they do not get assistance from the seller or service provider after the “checkout stage.” Some customers might even think that the transaction is a scam, particularly if the service or product sold is technical. And in these times, customers are likely to leave customer reviews (and create social media posts) when dissatisfied.
By assisting the customer from the checkout stage until he becomes comfortable with the product, the said customer is likely to become happy and satisfied.
2. Client onboarding helps in retaining customers – Customers feel valued when they receive answers to their questions, especially during the first few times they are using a product or service. They will not look for another seller or service provider if they are happy with the treatment they are getting
3. Client onboarding helps improve business efficiency – With an effective client onboarding process, customer complaints and inquiries are minimized. Customers will be empowered to use the product or service on their own.
Because they are comfortable in using the product, they are less likely to complain. Thus, the business will not have to spend much time answering complaints. More time can be spent attracting more customers and improving market offerings.
9 Tips for Onboarding New Clients
1. Send automated Welcome Emails
Emails, particularly automated ones, are one of the best ways to contact customers. Sending out emails also comes at little to no cost. There are many affordable options when it comes to automated emailing – one of the most popular ones is MailChimp.
Emails are also fast – they can reach customers in a matter of seconds. Thus, incorporating automated emails in a client onboarding process is a must. In fact, almost all sellers of products and services online send out welcome emails as soon as the transaction is done.
Welcome emails are useful in affirming the customer’s decision of paying for the product or service. These emails can also contain basic instructions and other details that the customer might need. Most importantly, welcome emails can introduce other parts of the onboarding process to the client. See different ways of utilizing welcome emails in the other tips below.
2. Personalize the User Experience
Human interactions are still important. Yes, automating processes is necessary, and creating generally applicable responses is great. But it is crucial that customers get an experience appropriate for them.
Not all customers are the same. Thus, the client onboarding process should have parts that cater to the specific needs of the customers. For example, customers may be classified into different groups based on their familiarity with the product or service.
Here, the information that will be provided for customers trying the product or service the first time should be different from those given to customers who know how the product or service works.
3. Keep things simple and easy
The information and instructions to be provided to customers should be user-friendly. Complicated info can lead to customer inquiries and complaints. In some cases, it can also cause customer dissatisfaction.
4. Provide different learning options
There are different types of learners. The three major learning types are visual, kinesthetic, and auditory. Some people learn better when reading instructions while others learn better through hands-on experience. Others prefer listening to instructions or watching video tutorials. Thus, an effective client onboarding process offers various types of options for different types of learners.
5. Do not bombard customers with information
New customers can easily experience “info overload.” Thus, divide the information to be shared in easy-to-digest portions and deliver the said info at different times. For example, in the first communication with the customer, the information to be given should be limited to the basic ones, or those particularly needed to get started.
In subsequent communications, instructions related to the additional features may be provided. Giving out all types of information in one go can intimidate new customers. The basic instructions may be included in the welcome email.
6. Set expectations properly and clearly
Disappointment can be minimized by setting proper expectations. Customers who are using the product or service for the first time expect to achieve something, such as profits, convenience, increase in productivity, etc. If their expectations are not set properly, they will be disappointed even if the product or service is as described and marketed.
Setting proper expectations is also important for customers who used a similar product or service before. These customers will likely assume features or functionalities that were made available to them by their previous seller or service provider. It is likely that there are differences between what they used before and the current product or service they are about to use.
By guiding the expectations of these customers, they will have an easier time knowing the specific features and characteristics of what the business is providing. Setting customer expectations can be done through the welcome email.
7. Be proactive
The product or service provider should proactively introduce the client onboarding process to the customer. Waiting for customers to ask or encounter problems before directing them to the onboarding process is a huge mistake.
8. Give out “starting kits” or “welcome packages”
These kits or packages usually contain the following:
a. Cheatsheets: may contain FAQs and basic instructions. It might also include basic troubleshooting or problem-solving steps.
b. Success stories: these are effective in affirming the decision of customers to avail of the product or service being offered. They can also serve as real-world examples in which the product or service was used.
c. Reading materials: additional learning materials containing more information regarding the product or service will benefit the customers.
These kits/packages may be in the form of electronic files and documents, which can be attached to the welcome email.
9. Periodically test and review your client onboarding process
The client onboarding process should be responsive to the needs of customers. And customers’ needs change over time. It is important to check whether the client onboarding process still serves its purpose, or whether it is already contributing to customer issues and dissatisfaction.
Client onboarding is a necessary tool to retain customers, keep customer satisfaction high, and attract new clients. Having a client onboarding process in place helps customers in various ways, which ultimately leads to enjoying the benefits of the product or service they paid for.
The tips provided in this article will be of great help in establishing a new client onboarding process or improving an existing one.