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What is customer onboarding?

Definition: Customer onboarding is the process of introducing new customers to a product or service, ensuring that they understand how to use it effectively, and helping them achieve their desired results with it.

This process involves a series of steps designed to engage, educate, and support the customer as they become familiar with the product or service.

The goal is to increase the user's adoption of the product by making their first experience with it as easy and intuitive as possible.

Customer onboarding process

Onboarding process can vary depending on the product or service, but it usually consists of the following steps: 

  1. Welcome message: After a user has signed up for or purchased a product or service, they receive a personalized welcome message via email or in-app notification. This message thanks the customer for their purchase, subscription, or general engagement, and provides an overview of the product or service, and sets expectations for the onboarding process.

Example of a welcome message from Book Depository.

  1. Account setup: This guides the customer through any necessary account setup tasks, such as creating a username and password, entering payment information, and personalizing the service to fit their specific needs. For example, if you are a SaaS offering a time management app, you want to ask customers about their lifestyle, and how they plan to use the app, in order to tailor it to their needs.

Example of an account setup on Wattpad.

  1. Product or service education: Provide customers with educational materials and resources to help them understand the features and benefits of the product or service. This can include video tutorials, user guides, webinars, or interactive walkthroughs. 

Focus on highlighting key features and use cases that are most relevant to the customer's needs. You can also gamify this experience to make the whole process more enjoyable and engaging. 

The level and depth of this step depend on the complexity of your product or service.

For example, Notion sends 7 emails to the user throughout the first-week to ensure they have grasped the most important features. Webflow focuses on built-in walkthroughs to showcase the most important features. 

Example of educational content from Notion.

In-app onboarding on Webflow. 

  1. Hands-on learning: The goal is to encourage customers to explore the product or service on their own and complete tasks or actions that will help them achieve their desired outcomes. This can involve setting up goals, creating projects, or uploading data, depending on the product or service.

  1. Ongoing support: This can include providing access to support documentation, knowledge bases, FAQs, and customer service channels (such as live chat, email, or phone support). Regularly check in with customers to see if they have any questions or concerns and offer assistance as needed. 

Example of ongoing support for Kinsta hosting.

  1. Feedback and evaluation: Collect feedback from customers on their onboarding experience and overall satisfaction with the product or service. Use this information to identify areas for improvement and adjust the onboarding process accordingly. Check what frustrates new users the most, and try to improve it.

Feedback form example from Usersnap.

  1. Nurture and engage: After the initial onboarding process, continue to engage customers with relevant content, updates, and promotional offers. This can help maintain customer interest, encourage usage, and increase the likelihood of retention and referrals.

Webflow resources.

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Article FAQs

What is an example of customer onboarding process?
For example, in the finance industry, a bank could guide new account holders through setting up online banking, ordering checks, and setting up direct deposit. They can also provide information about additional services like credit cards, loans, or investment accounts.
Why is customer onboarding important?
Customer onboarding is important because it increases customer satisfaction, improves retention, reduces support costs, and drives customer referrals by ensuring users understand and derive value from a product or service.
What are the components of customer onboarding?
Components of customer onboarding are welcoming customers, guiding them through account setup, providing product education, offering support along the way, gathering feedback, and nurturing engagement for long-term customer success.
How to create a customer onboarding strategy?
To create a customer onboarding strategy, identify customer needs, set clear objectives, design a structured onboarding process with seamless user experience and intuitive UI, offer support, listen to feedback, and continuously optimize the process.

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