Picture this: You’ve launched on Product Hunt and your product goes viral. You’re on the front page within the first few hours, and your sales pipeline is full. It’s everything you had hoped for.
Fast forward one week, and your customer churn metrics are through the roof. As you dig into customer feedback, you realize it’s not your product but your customer onboarding process that failed you.
Why? Because onboarding processes create a cohesive post-purchase experience that’s essential for improving adoption and reducing churn rates.
This guide to customer success onboarding shares everything you need to know about the onboarding process, including what it is and why it’s important, with actionable insights to help you win.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- The Customer Success Onboarding Process Explained
- The Benefits of Customer Success Onboarding
- Client Onboarding Checklist
- Final Thoughts: Customer Success Onboarding Checklist
The customer success onboarding process explained
Customer success onboarding is the process of introducing new users to a product and providing them with the tools they need to use it successfully. It generally consists of welcome emails, interactive walkthroughs, ongoing support and timely follow-ups.
Customer onboarding processes are crucial to guiding customers from sign-up to first use.
The goal of onboarding is to turn customers from habitual users to power users. You can achieve this goal by working your product into the customer’s routine through the onboarding process.
The benefits of customer success onboarding
Customer success onboarding sets the tone for the product-customer relationship and improves long-term customer retention.
Here are four undeniable benefits of the customer onboarding process:
1. Improves customer experience
The onboarding process helps customers understand how to use your product and get the best return on their investment. Happy customers are a valuable asset as they’re more likely to turn into brand advocates for your business.
2. Reduces customer churn
A survey by Wyzowl revealed that 55 percent of customers return a product when they don’t know how to use it. Demonstrating value through your customer onboarding process and showing customers how your product fits into their routine can boost customer retention.
3. Sets clear expectations
Effective onboarding processes let you set expectations upfront and teach customers to avoid potential setbacks when using your product. When your customers know what to expect, it eliminates the guesswork post-purchase and improves product adoption.
4. Enhances team efficiency
Another benefit of improving adoption through customer onboarding is that customers need less help. Thus, your customer success and sales teams can focus on productive tasks which help you achieve your business goals.
Client onboarding checklist
- Send a welcome email.
- Share your onboarding questionnaire.
- Set up an onboarding call.
- Share product walk-throughs.
- Schedule timely follow-ups.
- Track, measure, improve and celebrate.
Here’s a six-step customer success onboarding checklist template you can apply over time that sets your customers up for long-term success:
1. Send a welcome email
Send a welcome email and introduce yourself to first-time customers when they sign up for a trial or buy your product. Thank them for trusting your business and share an overview of the client onboarding process.
Email marketing automation tools like Mailchimp are perfect for this task. You can use them to automate onboarding emails with trigger-based sequences for different customer touchpoints and actions.
Need some inspiration?
Here’s an amazing welcome message from personal finance software YNAB that contains all the elements of the perfect welcome email, such as:
- Starts off with a short welcome message.
- Acknowledges its audience’s pain points.
- Presents a solution.
- Incorporates multiple CTAs to address different customer needs.
- Describes the next steps in the onboarding process.
- Concludes by letting readers know their customer support team is an email away.
2. Share your onboarding questionnaire
With introductions out of the way, it’s time to take the next step in the customer onboarding process — getting to know your customers. You can do this with a new customer onboarding questionnaire. Online survey tools like Google Forms, SurveyMonkey or Typeform are perfect for this task.
Keep it simple and ask questions that help you get up to speed with their pain points. That way, your customer success team can provide a personalized customer onboarding experience.
Here’s a high-touch SaaS onboarding survey template by Typeform.
3. Set up an onboarding call
Schedule a kick-off call with your customers to discuss their needs once they complete the onboarding questionnaire. You can also research customers on LinkedIn for insights to personalize the onboarding experience to suit them.
Once you’re on the call, explain how your product works and how it fits into their workflow. Set clear expectations so new clients know what successful user onboarding looks like and why it’s important. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Talk about the scope and process of onboarding.
- Share milestones and success metrics.
- Explain who their point of contact is and how they can reach them.
- Educate them on average response times and the escalation process.
Clarify assumptions to avoid miscommunication.
4. Share product walk-throughs
After the meeting, send a quick email to recap your conversation and share tips and interactive walk-throughs to get them started.
It’s essential to set your customers up with the tools they need to use your product independently. Gartner’s 2019 survey reveals that one out of three buyers wants a seller-free sales experience.
You can use Scribe to create onboarding materials such as product walk-throughs and tutorials in minutes. Scribe’s auto-generated step-by-step guides can familiarize your customer with your best features and tackle specific use cases. Knowledge bases, webinars and visual guides eliminate guesswork and get your customers up to speed quickly.
Here’s how easy it is to create your first Scribe.
5. Schedule timely follow-ups
Proactive follow-ups are crucial to making them feel welcome and keeping your customers engaged with your product. They can also help you identify hurdles and address them before they lead to abandonment.
Set up reminders and check in with customers to ensure they’re getting the best value from your product. A weekly call to remind them of customer support options and your commitment to helping them succeed works perfectly.
6. Track, measure, improve and celebrate
Track your customers’ progress and evaluate customer satisfaction periodically. Use surveys to gather feedback from existing customers and identify friction points so you know what works and where you can improve.
Lastly, celebrate your customer’s success and get them excited about successfully using your product. Social media shoutouts and personalized emails are a great way to celebrate milestones in the customer onboarding process.
Here’s an excellent email from Zapier celebrating a customer milestone for some inspiration:
Final thoughts: customer success onboarding checklist
Customer success onboarding is one of the best ways to improve customer lifetime value and inspire lasting brand loyalty. But it’s important to remember that designing a successful customer onboarding process isn’t a one-off task.
Use our customer success onboarding checklist to lay a solid foundation and modify the onboarding program to suit your product and use case.