An effective customer onboarding program goes hand-in-hand with long-term customer success. By communicating all the information customers need to know about your product or service up front, you can help them get to your product or service’s value faster. Not to mention, you’ll help the customer support team cut down on the time and money they need to spend assisting customers with questions later.
Your business’s customer onboarding process sets the tone for the rest of the customer journey. However, creating the perfect onboarding process isn’t easy. An ineffective onboarding process can result in many of the same problems as having no onboarding process at all, such as customers who churn because they don’t understand the product. Decreasing time-to-value for customers is one of the most beneficial outcomes of offering great customer training right off the bat.
Even though customer onboarding can be challenging, there are plenty of tools and tricks you can use to make the task easier on yourself. For example, you can use customer onboarding software to stay organized and speed up content creation.
To help you build the best customer onboarding program possible, let’s look closer at some of the steps and best practices involved.
When you think about creating a customer onboarding strategy, what comes to mind? There’s a lot of work that stands between you and a thriving onboarding program, and it might seem overwhelming from your current vantage point. However, the process is very manageable if you follow some simple steps.
Put Together a TeamOnce you’ve decided on your objectives, the next step is to assemble a team. There are three critical roles that should receive the most consideration:
Map the customer journey
Next, it’s helpful to create a blueprint that lays out the steps customers will take throughout the entire onboarding process. This will help you establish a customer onboarding process flow that aligns with your goals. For example, your blueprint might start with sign-up, then continue with a welcome email and account set up before moving on to a product demonstration and the first transaction. Create a clear plan for how each of these steps will go and how they will contribute toward the program’s goals.
Create Onboarding Content
Now, you can actually create the content. Your subject matter expert and instructional designer should work together to create lessons that will help the customer get started with your product or service. You’ll probably need to create some new content, but consider whether you have old content that could be updated and re-used as well.
Implement an Onboarding Platform
Next, you can use onboarding software like Northpass to make it simple for your instructional designer to convert the lessons into visually appealing learning media. Otherwise, the lessons would just be text on a page. With an onboarding platform, you can create engaging courses and take advantage of other useful capabilities like learning paths and analytics.
Test and Edit
After your onboarding courses are finished, the whole program should be carefully tested to make sure it looks and functions as intended. Take your time with the testing process and make sure you address any errors, whether technical or content-related.
Finally, it’s time to launch your program so customers can start taking advantage of your new onboarding materials. Remember to collect feedback from your learners and use it to keep improving your program wherever possible. Onboarding software makes this step easy with built-in tools for tracking user behavior.
Customer onboarding doesn’t have to be a challenge. Using customer onboarding software like Northpass can greatly simplify the process with tools like learning paths, certifications, and a fully customizable look and feel. If you combine the power of an onboarding platform with the customer onboarding process steps we outlined above, you have a recipe for a successful customer onboarding program.
If you want to make onboarding even easier, try using a customer onboarding template. Northpass has templates available that can provide a great jumping-off point and act as a failsafe to make sure you remembered to include every item on your customer onboarding checklist.
In addition to following the tried and true steps to building a customer onboarding program, it’s a good idea to follow some customer onboarding best practices. This will give your onboarding program the best chance of succeeding with minimal early hiccups.
There are many different best practices that could aid your customer onboarding process, but there are a few of the most important examples:
Customizing the customer’s onboarding experience is a great way to improve their interaction with your brand. Providing personalized learning paths or content suggestions can make each customer feel valued. In addition, personalizing your onboarding materials with your company’s design aesthetic can help reinforce brand recognition. It can also help customers avoid the jarring feeling of switching between your website and learning materials that are branded completely differently.
While you’re building and maintaining your onboarding program, your whole team needs to stay on the same page at all times. If your team isn’t aligned toward the same goals, it can derail the whole strategy. Everyone involved with your onboarding program should be fully briefed on the methods and objectives so the process flows smoothly.
During the onboarding process, you aren’t only teaching customers how to use a product — you’re also developing a relationship with them. This can be just as important as providing the technical information they need to start using your product or service. By fostering positive relationships with customers, you can contribute to better retention and word-of-mouth marketing. Building partnerships with customers is an especially important aspect of B2B customer onboarding best practices.
Once your onboarding program is up and running, there’s still more work left to do. You should continuously collect feedback from your learners and analyze their behavior in your learning software to help you make iterative improvements to your strategy. If you use a learning management system as a customer onboarding platform, you can take advantage of built-in analytical tools to help with this.
Your educational content needs to be readily available to your customer base. There’s no sense in spending all that time and effort crafting onboarding materials if you aren’t going to make them easy for your customers to find and access. Using a customer onboarding platform to keep all your content organized in one place is the best way to ensure your customers have an easy method of navigating the onboarding process.
Whether you’re creating a B2B customer onboarding program or a B2C onboarding program, customer onboarding software can make a huge difference. With the right platform, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls of planning an onboarding strategy and set yourself up for success.
If you’re operating a SaaS business, you probably already know how essential onboarding is. Software has a steep learning curve for most people — you can help your customers out by using a SaaS customer onboarding framework to help them get to the value of the product quickly.
If you decide to implement any kind of SaaS customer onboarding software, there are quite a few different systems to choose between. Northpass is the best choice for companies that want to streamline their customer onboarding process. With features like certifications, support for multiple content formats, and a high degree of customizability, Northpass is everything you need to elevate your onboarding strategy rolled into one platform.