Mastering customer onboarding: Strategy and automation

Streamline your onboarding with our strategies and automated processes.

Rory Sadler
March 13, 2024
March 14, 2024
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Streamline your onboarding with our strategies and automated processes.

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Your customer onboarding process can make or break your future buyer-seller relationship. Poor communication, lack of resources, and no regular check-ins leave customers feeling isolated and abandoned. As if, once you'd closed the deal, you were no longer interested.

Little wonder that 74% of potential customers jump ship to competing companies if the onboarding process is too complicated.

Customer onboarding refers to the post-purchase process customers undergo as they begin to learn or use your product or service. Because customers can get easily frustrated when learning the ropes, developing comprehensive customer boarding strategies is key – starting with the basics before moving onto more advanced topics. 

Learn the best practices for client onboarding, which tools can help, and why building a solid client onboarding strategy makes the difference.

Developing a robust onboarding strategy

The customer onboarding process begins the moment the customer signs on the dotted line. Doing so should trigger a welcome email containing key information pointing your new client toward relevant educational materials. Think of how-to guides, instructional videos, and other tutorials.

Client onboarding is part of a concept called customer success. It was developed by software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies that struggled with customer churn (aka the percentage of customers who leave in a month or year). The goal was simple. Evolving the customer service model, where companies waited for users to contact them, customer success guaranteed every user experienced value from day 1. 

But customer success and onboarding are no longer just for SaaS companies. Any subscription service or product company experiences cancellations or returns. In fact, 55% of people say they've returned a product because they didn't know how to use it. 

The answer? Providing a comprehensive, educational customer onboarding process. It should guide the customer through your platform's basics, describing all the available features and options. Then, as the customers master the product or service, you can move on to more advanced topics. That has the added benefit of upselling to existing customers, increasing a customer's lifetime value (CLV).

Here's a quick overview of a potential client onboarding process flow chart:

Automating the onboarding process

An initial onboarding session works wonders for orienting new customers and getting them started. However, much of the customer onboarding process is perfect for automation. 

Take the welcome email, for example. Most modern email marketing platforms allow you to set certain triggers, sending the email automatically to a new customer. You can also adjust the email's content based on key information collected throughout the pre-onboarding process. 

Similarly, automated workflows can deliver personalised content and resources at predetermined intervals. For instance, after the welcome email, the next step could be a series of automated emails and messages guiding the customer through different stages of product or service usage.

Of course, email isn't the best option for automating customer onboarding. Digital sales rooms, for example, work far better as conversion tools or onboarding platforms. Simply change the content available, introducing video tutorials, FAQs, and interactive guides based on buyer insights, and update the mutual action plan to reflect the client's goals for the onboarding period.

Additionally, automation can extend to scheduling onboarding sessions. Using online scheduling tools, customers can choose a convenient time for their session, automatically triggering a calendar invite and reminder emails.

Customer feedback collection can also be automated. After certain milestones, such as completing an onboarding session or a few weeks of product usage, automated surveys can be sent to gather insights about the customer's experience and areas for improvement.

Best practices in customer onboarding

Developing your customer onboarding strategy secures customer satisfaction and loyalty – 63% of customers say the support they receive post-sale is critical to making the decision in the first place. 

Customise the journey

Tailor every onboarding experience to fit individual customer profiles. Utilise CRM systems to gather insights into customer preferences and history, ensuring a more relevant and engaging experience. This personal touch not only demonstrates value to the customer but also ensures they receive the most pertinent information and support, enhancing their understanding and satisfaction with the product or service.

Clear, concise communication

Discover a live onboarding Pod here

Prioritise clarity and simplicity in all communications. Develop easy-to-understand guides, tutorials, and FAQs that are free from jargon. Establish straightforward communication channels, letting customers know how and whom to contact for assistance. This approach reduces confusion, fosters better understanding, and enhances customer confidence in using the product or service.

Prompt follow-up

Act swiftly post-purchase or sign up with a welcome message or call. Immediate follow-ups demonstrate commitment to customer satisfaction and provide an early opportunity to address questions or concerns.

Such timely interactions not only establish a positive initial relationship but also set the stage for ongoing engagement, showing customers that their experience and success with the product or service are of utmost importance.

Smart automation

Implement automation thoughtfully to enhance efficiency without losing the personal touch. Automated welcome emails, instructional content delivery, and scheduled reminders can streamline the process. However, ensure these automated systems are complemented with opportunities for personal interaction, providing a balanced onboarding experience that is both efficient and customer-centric.

Resource accessibility

Offer a variety of accessible and comprehensive learning materials. This includes in-depth tutorials, FAQs, and product guides that cater to different learning styles and preferences. Ensuring easy access to these resources empowers customers to learn at their own pace and reduces dependency on direct support, fostering independence and confidence in using the product or service.

Feedback and improvement

Regularly solicit and act on customer feedback. This can be done through surveys, feedback forms, or direct communication. Use this input to refine and improve the onboarding process continuously. Acting on feedback enhances the customer experience for future users and demonstrates to current customers that their opinions are valued and instrumental in shaping the service or product.

Tools for efficient onboarding

Your customer onboarding strategies are only as successful as the tools you use. Spreading your client onboarding process over several platforms creates confusion. Optimise your tech stack by choosing tools that integrate together and simplify the process for new clients.

Consider these tools when building your onboarding stack:

Digital sales rooms

or DSRs like trumpet, are specialised platforms covering everything from outreach to close. However, after a client has signed on the dotted line, DSRs can transition into a customer success platform. Containing presentations, product demonstrations, personalised content, and mutual action plans, digital sales rooms facilitate real-time collaboration and a streamlined onboarding experience. 

>See a live onboarding Pod in action<

Customer relationship management

(CRM) software goes hand in hand with DSRs. Tracking all customer interactions and managing customer data, your CRM serves as a repository for key insights. Using this data, you can segment customers, tailoring the onboarding process to their needs. 

Learning Management Systems

(LMS) are a digital platform used to deliver educational content and training programs. In most cases, DSRs serve a similar role. However, for more in-depth content, you could consider an LMS. Add video tutorials, interactive courses, quizzes, and instructional materials to help customers master your product or service.

Online scheduling tools

A brilliant way for customers to book appointments, onboarding sessions, or support calls through a dynamic online calendar. Sometimes, customers need added help – these scheduling tools reduce the administrative burden and make scheduling more convenient for everyone. (Add a Calendly calendar to trumpet's digital sales rooms with our seamless integration.)

Measuring success and feedback

Once you've implemented the client onboarding best practices, you'll want to monitor your progress, establish robust metrics, and actively seek customer feedback. 

  • Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). What's your objective? Set clear KPIs such as customer satisfaction scores, onboarding time, retention rates, customer lifetime value, and more. You can determine if your customer onboarding strategy is working using these indicators.
  • Regular Customer Surveys. Conduct surveys throughout onboarding to see what works and what doesn't. This could include initial impression surveys, mid-onboarding check-ins, and post-onboarding satisfaction surveys. Based on these results, refine and evolve your strategy to optimise for client retention and brand loyalty.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS). Use NPS surveys to gauge customer loyalty and the likelihood of a recommendation. In our personal experience, we know that trumpet's DSRs result in an average NPS score of 86, according to buyers and prospects. 
  • Utilise Analytics Tools. Tools like digital sales rooms track client actions. You can see which content they've read, how often they've watched a video or clicked on a link, and what topics they're focused on. Add more advanced content as they progress, and see which materials work best. 

Remember, by continuously refining your approach based on concrete metrics and direct customer feedback, you're not just onboarding clients; you're building lasting relationships.

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