Have you ever thought, why a customer bailed out on you after 7 days of signing up for your product? It cannot be because of product-need misfit. It is because of the initial experience that he/she had was not satisfactory or was significantly bad.
We all know, when a customer purchases a product, onboarding and FTUE plays a crucial role in building a long-term relationship. However, most businesses fail to deliver the first AHA! moment and value from the product. This is when businesses start seeing customer churn.
Customer onboarding is used as an umbrella term. It’s the process that customers go through when they start their journey with your business till the time they start to see value in your product. It defines what kind of an experience your customer has with your product.
Onboarding new customers marks a new beginning and is the time when they are most enthusiastic to begin their journey with your product. A positive experience at the outset ensures a long-lasting relationship between you and your customer.
Among many challenges that customers face when they migrate to a new platform, these are the 3 major challenges that they encounter during onboarding:
- No dedicated single point of contact
- Slow product adoption rate
- High time to value
That is why businesses today realise the need to have a specialised onboarding function. This team provides a seamless experience which helps the customers realise the value of the product in the initial stages of their project journey, and eventually prevents them from churning.
When a customer receives a good onboarding experience, they tend to stick to one business or brand. Hence, the onboarding function becomes crucial in the business’ value chain not only for PMO/coordination but also for customer retention and growth.
We can compare this with the concept of Post Purchase Consumer Behavior, where customers purchase a product or a service and later on react to the product or service based on its performance and the experience they get. Based on their experience, they decide whether to stick to the current product or switch to another. In the above mentioned scenario, it becomes crucial to provide satisfaction and give them the WOW experience that turns them into long-term loyalists and product evangelists.
An onboarding expert helps the customers during the initial phase by ensuring that the customers get acquainted with the product by transferring knowledge about the product through product tutorials, necessary documentation and enhancing the user experience. This helps in faster product adoption.
Stages of On Boarding – The Summit
We have envisaged onboarding stages as a climb to reach the top of summit: In this climb we go through various base camps to reach the summit. We have identified there are 6 base camps that we have to go through to achieve a successful customer onboarding.
Camp 1: Pre Kick – Off Analysis:
Whenever a new customer is on-boarded, we at Netcore conduct a pre kick-off meeting with the internal stakeholders to understand the customers’ business and their initial requirements. After the pre kick-off meeting, the onboarding team ensures that all the initial checks are taken care of. An in-depth research about the brand is performed, the historic performance and health of their domain is analysed, and we also check if the brand has done any successful campaigns in the past.
Camp 2: Kick – Off & Requirement Gathering:
Post all these checks, we get on a call with the customer to understand their key business objectives and gather all the requirements from them. This is where the discovery stage begins wherein we analyse and understand the need of the customer. It helps in creating a project plan to track the complete onboarding progress.
Camp 3: Welcome Mailer & Detailed Demo as per requirement:
Once we collate all the information and gather the requirements, we send a welcome mailer to the customer along with the onboarding kit. Also, as per customer request we give a detailed and personalised product demo to help him/her understand the product in depth. This helps in accelerating the product adoption.
Camp 4: Scoping:
During the discovery phase, we do a detailed technical feasibility check to see if the requirements are feasible and can be implemented. Based on the scope, we then set the expectation and define timelines for each task.
Once the expectation setting is done, we then prepare a Datasheet & Finalise the SOW. We also take a sign-off on the SOW from the customer to consider it in the Onboarding Phase.
Camp 5: Implementation: Quick wins Model
Once the scope is finalised, we work towards the implementation of the tasks. During the implementation phase, we take feedback from customer at each phase of the implementation.
Each Milestone achieved is a step towards success and hence we believe in celebrating the Quick Wins. Quick win is basically a low hanging fruit in the product integration which can be started ASAP. For e.g. email warm ups, web messages, web push notifications etc. This also helps in reducing time to value to customer from product perspective and act as a catalyst to faster product adoption.
- Broadcast customer onboarding Onboarding stages differ for customers who are being on boarded for Email Broadcast as compared to the customers being on boarded for Automations. For all Broadcast accounts, we have various phases of implementations like DNS integration, warm-ups, etc. We continuously monitor the performance in terms of domain reputation & inboxing and send out weekly updates to the customers about the progress of the warm-up activity.
We also take timely feedback from the customer regarding their experience while the tasks are on-going. And at the end of each task we ask for the overall feedback during the onboarding stage.
- Automation customer onboarding
For those customers who are being on-boarded for Automation, we follow different stages of implementation. We do integration reviews and we initiate UAT testing of each tasks. Post this step, we take the automations live on production. During this phase we also check if all the data is flowing properly and whether all activities & events are being captured correctly.
We also help the customers with the JS integration (for Web integration & Browser Push Notifications integration) and app integration.
Camp 6: Handover:
After successful completion of the onboarding phase, our job does not end there – we create a defined customer handover methodology wherein we make sure that the customer does not face any challenges during the transition period from onboarding to an ongoing phase.
We handhold the internal stakeholders (Customer Success Manager / SPOC) during the handover stage to make sure they can help customers during the on-going stage. We prepare a handover kit which includes SOW, project tracker and hand over sheet. To ensure a seamless handover, we seek timely feedback at this stage also, and incorporate the customer’s suggestions.
Last step of On-boarding: Customer Feedback:
We take timely feedback from customers at each stage of on-boarding and a final feedback when the onboarding process comes to an end, to understand their overall experience during the onboarding phases. We implement the feedback to improve the experience we deliver.
We understand that customers’ first experience is absolutely critical and it is extremely important to make it count. Successful and pleasant customer onboarding results in happy customers and that is our core philosophy. For any assistance, please feel free to connect with us at email@example.com.