Customer Onboarding: what it is and how to use it to deliver initial value to new customers

Customer Onboarding: what it is and how to use it to deliver initial value to new customers

See how to guide a new customer in the use of your product, removing possible barriers and how we do it here at Resultados Digitais to achieve results

The first impression is what remains, isn’t it?

The customer’s first experiences will determine their impression of the product and/or service your company offers. If this initial period makes it difficult for him to see value or even reach the goal, you may have problems.

Offering a great customer experience is expected in any business, be it a hotel, a restaurant or a course. In a subscription-based business, such as SaaS (Software as a Service) companies, it is important to maintain customer satisfaction. That way, he continues to generate revenue for his company month after month.

The customer needs to understand, experience and be satisfied with their investment. A poorly traveled path can be the beginning of risk of cancellation, not welcome in recurring revenue businesses.

One way to organize the steps and guide the client to achieve their success is to offer guided training, the Onboarding .

In this post I’ll explain what Onboarding is, its advantages, how we do it at Resultados Digitais and how you can start doing it.

ll aboard! But after all, what is Onboarding?

In general, we can say that it is an Implementation Oriented to guide a new customer in the use of your product, in a way that removes possible barriers such as technical configurations from their path and can achieve some result, also known as first value , or First Value .

Customer Onboarding: what it is and how to use it to deliver initial value to new customers

See how to guide a new customer in the use of your product, removing possible barriers and how we do it here at Resultados Digitais to achieve results

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Laryssa D’Alama

October 4, 2020

13min. of reading

Customer Onboarding is a targeted implementation that guides a new customer in using a company’s product or service. It removes possible barriers, such as technical configurations, out of the way. The purpose of Onboarding is to make the client achieve some result, also known as first value.

The first impression is what remains, isn’t it?

The customer’s first experiences will determine their impression of the product and/or service your company offers. If this initial period makes it difficult for him to see value or even reach the goal, you may have problems.

Offering a great customer experience is expected in any business, be it a hotel, a restaurant or a course. In a subscription-based business, such as SaaS (Software as a Service) companies, it is important to maintain customer satisfaction. That way, he continues to generate revenue for his company month after month.

The customer needs to understand, experience and be satisfied with their investment. A poorly traveled path can be the beginning of risk of cancellation, not welcome in recurring revenue businesses.

One way to organize the steps and guide the client to achieve their success is to offer guided training, the Onboarding .

In this post I’ll explain what Onboarding is, its advantages, how we do it at Resultados Digitais and how you can start doing it.

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All aboard! But after all, what is Onboarding?

In general, we can say that it is an Implementation Oriented to guide a new customer in the use of your product, in a way that removes possible barriers such as technical configurations from their path and can achieve some result, also known as first value , or First Value .

customer onboarding

There is no specific definition, as this implementation can be different for each company. A very positive thing about Onboarding is taking advantage of the customer’s initial purchase energy to get them engaged.

I’ll give you a simple example: Imagine you bought a food processor for your kitchen. At first you get excited, wanting to mess with it as much as possible to understand it, isn’t it? But if you have difficulties in understanding how it works and the different uses it can have, barriers are created that may even discourage you from using it and then you abandon it.

On the other hand, if there is information to know how to use it and make the most of it, you will be pleased to see a return on your investment.

Initial implementation can be done in a number of ways: face-to-face meetings, online guidance, or even based on educational materials such as articles, manuals and instructional videos.

5 main advantages of customer onboarding

There are a few reasons to structure a customer-oriented implementation. The main ones are:

1. Provide proper guidance

If you want your customer to succeed, lead the way . This applies to different situations, such as complex software or products, where the lack of guidance makes it difficult for the customer to understand, who may even take a wrong turn and become dissatisfied. Understanding what steps he must take and educating him to follow the path is the best way to ensure his success.

2. Perform technical setup

In many cases, Onboarding can be used to perform technical configurations, which often need to be monitored by a professional. It is a way to remove barriers to use and ensure complete and easy configuration.

3. Achieve a First Value

Only a satisfied customer goes ahead. Onboarding must be planned so that the client finds a quick result, even if small. This will generate that “glow in the eye” and the desire to continue.

This initial result and that will give the “gas” for your client to move forward is called First Value. It must be thought of in a way that it is the deliverable of your Onboarding, that is, the way that you guarantee that the right steps were taken and that the client reached the objective of this training.

Returning to the food processor example, the First Value could be to be able to make a pizza dough with the appliance.

4. Proximity to the company

By following up with your customer, you are also strengthening your customer’s relationship with the company. If the Onboarding is accompanied by a professional, either in person or online, even better, as you will have a point of contact you know you can turn to in case of doubts or problems.

5. Drive the customer to success

In addition to delivering the First Value, Onboarding must also be structured so that the client’s next steps are clear. Thus, we prevent engagement from dropping after the initial follow-up, and continue on the path to achieving your goals (Ongoing).

It is important that not only the implementation has defined steps, but that the next steps are also clear. Thus, the success to be achieved can be visualized.

Onboarding in Digital Results

Time to make the explanation easier by showing an example – and nothing better than using Digital Results itself! One of the products that RD offers is RD Station Marketing , a platform that aggregates several Digital Marketing features in one place.

As it is a software with several features related to Digital Marketing, it is important that each new user can receive follow-up to understand RD Station and know how to match their Marketing needs with our product.

We have clients with different needs: learning how to do Email Marketing , creating a Landing Page or automating the Shopping Journey . We identify that our customers have different goals and need shorter paths to reach their goals.

Who does RD Onboarding

RD Onboarding is done through online conversations between the customer and the account manager. They are scheduled to happen weekly for a certain period and with a certain scope.

At this point, the customer receives the information necessary to understand the RD Station. He also explains to the manager his reality and needs, in order to make the best use of the tool.

Even with different focuses, all initial RD trainings have a common meeting: the technical setup of the tool. This is the first step and serves to ensure that the customer will remove barriers in using the tool from the start, thus enabling full use of the software.

Each Onboarding has its First Value, which is how we consider a successful implementation project. This First Value is aligned with the customer when choosing training. It will guide the conversations and activities to be performed.

But after all, how to structure a good onboarding project? Below Blue World City indicate 8 practical steps for you to implement this process from scratch within your company.

8 steps to guide your client to success with an onboarding project

1 – Assess your current scenario

Do you already implement guided training in your company? If you are reading this post, it is probably because you are not satisfied with the results obtained in its implementation, and want to improve the process. Skip to step 5 and start fixing the flaws in your structure.

Want to structure your onboarding project from scratch? Great, go to the next step to choose your ideal team. Do not forget to record all ideas and outputs in a document when reading the steps we have indicated.

2 – Choose the team with the right characteristics

Does your product need more complex integrations, very advanced technical configurations or the like? The only solution is to allocate someone with enough knowledge to do this.

In addition, the implementation professional (we call it Implementation Success here at RD) must have charisma, be proactive and also a true consultant in the market that your company operates. This serves to convey confidence not only in the product and technical knowledge, but tactical and strategic as well.

The tip is not to save money with your onboarding team, make the appropriate investment and you will reap the rewards ($$$) in the medium and long term.

3 – Know your persona

Knowing the characteristics of your target audience and, consequently, of your customer base, is the first step to structure your onboarding project.

The level of maturity, available time, activities performed, hierarchy within the company, its limitations and decision-making power are some of the items you need to know who you are talking to and how far you can go.

In addition, it is also important to map the main challenges of this persona , that is, how your solution, whether a product or a service, can meet these pains.

4 – Define the service model

The implementation can be carried out in several ways: face-to-face meetings, online orientation (via Zoom , Google Meets, etc.), or even self-service, with oriented educational materials, both text and videos.

This step depends exactly on the behavior and profile of your customers, the average ticket and complexity of your product and your Life Time Value, that is, the average time value between the first day the customer purchases your product until the day on that he stops using it.

For example, if you work with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with enough digital maturity for a conference via Zoom, this is the best solution if your average ticket is low, as the service cost will be much lower. Consequently, the return on that investment becomes greater.

If your customers are large companies, mainly B2B market, most likely you will have larger tickets, more complex software and, consequently, longer and more intense onboarding.

This is a scenario that requires training through face-to-face meetings, and certainly a greater number of hours spent on the project, which, in turn, should have a risk map and other elements expected by this type of client.

5 – Know what success is for your customers

Understanding your client’s context and knowing what success is for them will define the entire scope of your onboarding, from the theoretical knowledge that must be passed on to them, to the features of your software that they must successfully use to understand the entire tool operation.

Group these expectations and success criteria and divide them if necessary, so that each onboarding meets the customer’s expectations, that is, what he expects to reach the first value, which will serve as ammunition to remain engaged and excited about your product.

6 – Initial setup: passing the baton

This is literally the first great moment of customer contact. The basic premise is: Impress, show that you are an expert on the subject and the client will trust your work from start to finish.

Gather all the information/notes raised by the sales consultant , and don’t rule out that it might be interesting to have a quick chat with him before the setup.

You must know the profile of the company, its industry, products and scope of work. In addition, it is an important step to make the entire methodology of onboarding clear to the customer, showing the exclusive materials that your company has for them, technical documentation, frequently asked questions, help center, support, and so on.

Add it to LinkedIn if it makes sense for your business. Keeping a closer relationship and being a friend of the customer is the main strategy for the relationship, after all, the best deals are not made between companies, but between people.

At the end of the contact, leave all the pending issues and tasks, technical or not, triggered to be resolved until the next meeting.

7 – Build a plan and set goals

Knowing where the customer wants to go and what their expectations are in the short, medium and long term is the key to success for an implementation project. Record these goals and set up a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule of activities and responsibilities, with their respective due dates.

It is only important that these indicators are measurable, so that, at the end of the onboarding, you together carry out a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the results, and show the client how he can do better going forward, with tips and best practices for that he can walk alone.

8 – Activation: key point of onboarding

Client activation is the main indicator of its implementation, and consequently one of the most important steps in the project. Basically, they are actions in your software, or other interactions with your product, that demonstrate that the customer is prepared to remain engaged and can “walk on his own legs”.

Another important reason when defining activation is to reduce the number of contract cancellations during Ongoing (the process after onboarding), especially if your company works with recurring revenue, where the after-sales sector, or Customer Success , is focused in keeping the customer base as long as possible, in other words, increasing your Life Time Value, generating more revenue for your business.

Onboarding is over, now what?

Well, at this point you must be sure that the client has achieved the first success and is ready to go it alone. It’s important to ensure that he doesn’t leave your product behind and that he doesn’t get discouraged when he learns that his focused guidance is over.

The best solution for this is to provide guidance, that is, monthly, quarterly, semiannual, or even annual planning, with practical actions, equal or similar to those carried out during onboarding, so that it remains engaged.

Once this is done, make the transfer to the success manager of that client (if your company has one), so that he can follow the Ongoing process.

Conclusion

Onboarding is a critical process that the customer goes through. So, take that key moment to conquer it. In other words, don’t do the onboarding in any way and invest in this phase of the process, as it is extremely important for the customer’s life within your company.

To continue to provide excellent service to your customers, read the eBook The 10 Laws of Customer Success . Just fill in the details below to receive the material for free!

 

See how to guide a new customer in the use of your product, removing possible barriers and how we do it here at Resultados Digitais to achieve results The first impression is what remains, isn’t it? The customer’s first experiences will determine their impression of the product and/or service your company offers. If this initial period…