When done right, customer education equips your customers (or new admins) with the knowledge and resources they need to succeed with your product or service. A solid customer education strategy also has the power to impact business-critical metrics such as product adoption,retention and churn.
What's Customer Onboarding?
Customer onboarding is a process that guides new customers or administrators through the content information necessary for them to realize the value of a product or service. There's no "set-in-stone" way to onboard customers, but these processes typically include kickoff calls with CSMs, in-app product education, videos or other materials that can help a customer succeed. Many companies rely on learning management systems (LMS) to automate the onboarding process and provide personalized experiences that address customers' unique objectives and challenges.
Customer Onboarding Examples
Most companies combine some or all of these types of customer onboarding to provide a holistic experience that provides total value to customers — for example, a customer may start with a kickoff call with a CSM but then head over to an academy to go through a learning path and wrap up with a quiz.
Why's Customer Onboarding Important?
Have you ever purchased a product or started using a service and then run into a roadblock created by an inability to use it?
We've all been there.
It's important to remember that most of your customers will start the onboarding process with limited knowledge of how to truly benefit from your product — and that's ok.
While your educational content hopefully provided some pre-sales value (i.e., they read some of your materials or watched a video before your first touchpoint with them, the overwhelming majority of customers will need some guidance. Acting as this sherpa is the fundamental reason customer onboarding is so important.
What's a Customer Onboarding Template? Your Secret Weapon
Even a relatively simple client onboarding process flow will have a lot of moving pieces, especially if you're scaling and onboarding more customers (i.e., going from start-up to scale-up).
However, you still have to deliver an exceptional experience despite the potential complexity. At this early stage in the customer journey, you have a tremendous opportunity — actually, you have a duty — to put your best foot forward and start your customers down a successful path.
The secret to doing this is to use a customer onboarding template (or client onboarding template) customized to your customers' needs and objectives. Every customer onboarding playbook should include one.
Why? Because an onboarding template creates a consistent yet unique experience that ensures your team is covering all your bases and your customers are getting everything they need.
Online training programs grown out of these templates and strategies can help your customers have a better experience with you and your products or services, leading to them continuing to invest in your future offerings.
Virtual Onboarding Templates and Strategies
Customer onboarding looks a bit different than it has in the past, which means your onboarding process must evolve to meet the shifting sands.
Today, whatever your onboarding template and strategy looks like, it must account for the virtual world and that some or all of your customers will need to be able to go through everything remotely. So, when you're creating an onboarding template and strategy, do so with a remote-first mindset.
When creating your virtual onboarding template and strategy, think of it like a map (for both your team and customers).
Ask yourself: What will they need to get off on the right foot? Where do customers frequently get tripped up? For example, if you're getting feedback that your UI is too complex or they're not getting the expected value fast enough, make sure to include time in the onboarding process to address this. You want to know why customers leave and ensure that your customer onboarding program addresses those issues.
With CSMs and onboarding teams working remotely, a virtual onboarding template will also keep them all on the same page and working in unison.
Bonus Benefit of Customer Onboarding: Fewer Support Tickets
Did you know that you can use customer training to reduce the number of support calls related to your product?
By looking at notes and call data from previous customer support interactions, you can identify pain points that frequently prevent your customers from success with your product or service. Then, you can incorporate that insight into your customer education and onboarding framework and create training materials to help customers get over those hurdles.
For example, suppose you found that customers keep calling about difficulties regarding a key product feature. In that case, you could create a simple training video or module to help them know how to use that feature to its full potential. In this manner, you can increase customer satisfaction and make your product or service more effective in your industry.
As you take these insights and turn them into valuable content, you're instantly freeing up your customer success managers (CSMs) and support reps to have more valuable and strategic conversations with customers.
Think about it: Say your customers have historically struggled with adding new team members to their accounts. So, you create a quick video showing them how to do that. Instead of customers calling their CSM and asking about this, they can rather than spend time talking to them about turning those new team members into power users.
Said another way, CSMs and support reps have time to have conversations that drive more value for the customer and better retention and CLTV.
Using Your Customer Onboarding Template With Northpass
No two customers will have the exact same onboarding experiences, which means your customer onboarding template may vary.
No problem. Northpass is a flexible LMS (aka client onboarding software)that allows you to tailor your onboarding process to unique needs and objectives, no matter what your customer onboarding template looks like. As a result, you can give your customers the tools they need to take full advantage of your product and service.