What are the core components of a customer onboarding process?
As many product developers know, onboarding is an essential process that can have an enormous impact on the product’s performance.
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Effective onboarding can positively impact engagement, longevity, and satisfaction … and ultimately improve a product’s growth and revenue.
But structuring an onboarding process takes time and effort.
Time that many business professionals don’t have.
So we’ve broken down the customer onboarding process into some of its most important, must-have components.
In this article, we’ll explore these components in detail.
Key Components of the Customer Onboarding Process
Customer onboarding refers to the initial contact a customer has with a product, such as an SaaS platform or a software application.
Good user onboarding experiences can leave positive impressions, improve user proficiency, and ensure a long-lasting relationship with customers.
Negative onboarding experiences, however, can drive customers away and decrease satisfaction.
Therefore, businesses should commit to developing an effective customer onboarding process.
Naturally, each business is different and each product is different. Therefore, their onboarding procedures will vary depending on their unique circumstances.
These variations can stem from differences in:
- The complexity of the product
- The audience
- The industry and type of product
Among other things.
That’s why it pays to look at the different components of onboarding to determine which ones best fit your circumstances.
That being said, let’s look at some of the key components involved in any onboarding process:
Opt In / Sign Up
This is the point when customers actually convert, usually through a landing page or website.
That is, users make the transition from being a prospect to being an actual customer.
It is important to note that several factors are affecting customers during this touchpoint:
- Marketing communications that they have experienced up to this point, such as ads or marketing emails
- Sales conversations and correspondence with account representatives
- The signup process itself
To optimize the signup stage – and every other stage covered here – there are several principles that specialists should follow:
- Maintain a consistent brand experience for each stage in the onboarding process, as well as pre- and post-onboarding
- Follow the principles of usability, by making onboarding as simple and streamlined as possible
- Help customers realize the value of the product as quickly as possible
Ideally, sign-up should lead immediately into the product itself, beginning with the next stage…
The Initial Login
After conversion, the first interaction a customer has with a product is the initial login.
The login touchpoint should also follow the same principles as other stages here.
Namely, it should be:
- Consistent with other points along the customer journey
Complications and delays at this point will only delay gratification.
The aim is, instead, to help users achieve their goals as quickly as possible, which will demonstrate the value of the product.
Welcome emails are another link in the onboarding chain.
These welcome emails should also be simple, offering information such as:
- Login details
- Instructions for contacting support
- A useful hyperlink or two
The goal with these initial emails is again to “grease the funnel” and get customers using the product quickly.
In some cases, these emails should be followed by a series of educational emails
Product Training and Initial Tutorials
Once users have logged in and started using a product, it is a good idea to provide initial product training directly inside the app.
Just dropping users into a new app sight unseen will leave most customers wondering what to do next.
Therefore, consider using products such as digital adoption platforms (DAPs) to streamline this process.
DAPs can help in a few ways:
- Providing pop-up bubbles that introduce users to new features
- Promote new features
- Offer interactive technical support
And much more, all without the need for human interaction.
In-app, contextualized guidance is the best way to introduce users to a product quickly and efficiently.
However, there are times when customers will need to interact with humans.
For that reason, it is important to provide effective customer support and technical support.
Technical Support and Customer Support
If a business follows the usability principles covered so far, then they will give customers immediate, easy access to support.
Both technical support and customer support should help customers achieve their aims quickly and efficiently.
Some advocate “delighting” your customers.
But others say that delighting your customers is a bad idea.
According to an article in Harvard Business Review, “Loyalty has a lot more to do with how well companies deliver on their basic, even plain-vanilla promises than on how dazzling the service experience might be.”
Businesses should instead focus on helping users complete their goals efficiently, rather than providing over-the-top, exciting customer support.
After all, most customers just want to be able to adopt products efficiently and seamlessly … not be dazzled by their conversations with customer service representatives.