This post is part of the B2B Retention Handbook series. To explore more challenges and solutions, check out the series here.
If your onboarding is more of a tour through your product than a hands-on tutorial, you may have an issue retaining customers who aren’t sure how to gain value and reach goals using your product.
As a result, onboarding is so often overlooked as a strategic opportunity to win over advocates and show your product’s short and long-term value. A poor onboarding experience can dampen a products use from the beginning and make it challenging to retain customers.
That’s why understanding what challenges your users are trying to solve and putting those as your customer’s introduction to daily use is your best approach to retain a customer. It’s the first step in building on the trust your team established during the early days of the customer's journey.
The following reasons and solutions can give you a start to making an exceptional onboarding experience and locking in the renewal early.
- Onboarding is where your users, and their managers, see the value of your product from the inside for the first time. It is essential to set proper expectations and focus on delivering value on Day 1 and every day thereafter.
- Your Sales and Marketing teams and messaging set the expectation of a personalized, interactive onboarding experience, with custom workflows and lessons for different kinds of users. Did you deliver on that promise?
- If you require your customers to take a one-size-fits-all product tour and watch self-help videos as your onboarding experience, they may not participate fully, thinking that they will learn later, or they don’t care enough to try. Focus on providing value to help them solve their own specific problems, not just learn how to use your product.
- A key problem is not having your people there during training to answer questions directly and help them learn how to overcome challenges. How can you be more available and interactive during onboarding?
- You may not know how customers are reacting to your onboarding, what they like and dislike, and how valuable they find it. You may be missing feedback that can help you improve onboarding and customer experience.
- Without having data and feedback on your customer onboarding, you don’t know what’s working and what isn’t. How can you improve, and where should you focus to prevent customer churn and build adoption, utilization, and loyalty?
- Prioritize onboarding, both for your customers and your onboarding team - Why You Must Make Customer Onboarding a Top Priority | ServiceBell
- Don’t wait for the kick-off meeting. Send welcome emails and videos from the people who will manage and deliver onboarding. Get your customers interested in exploring and participating in the process of onboarding - SaaS Customer Onboarding: 3 Steps to a Successful Welcome Email | Customer Centric Growth Blog
- Ask your customers what their expectations are for onboarding - what they hope to learn and how. Create and deliver content and live ask-me-anything sessions to answer their questions and set expectations. - 5 SaaS Onboarding Best Practices to Ensure Your Customers' Success | HubSpot
- Develop a customer onboarding strategy complete with goals, milestones, and rewards for accomplishing them. - The Ultimate Guide to Customer Onboarding | HubSpot
- Develop customized onboarding agendas and training materials for different user types and roles. Consider a product-led training experience to help your customers learn as they work. - The Case for Product-Led Onboarding | ProductCraft by Pendo
- Make sure your onboarding team is available to answer questions and provide guidance. If you can’t deliver live in-person or virtual onboarding and training, at least make it easy for your customers to reach you via live chat while they are learning and using your product. Equip your onboarding team with video apps, like Loom, to show users how to accomplish their goals with visual walk-throughs. - SaaS Onboarding – Definitive Guide: Examples, Checklist & Metrics | Froged Technologies
- Keep track of where your customer users are in their training and adoption and communicate with them through in-app messaging and relevant emails. - How to Leverage Video Messages in Customer Success | Loom
Bonus: Using Customer Engagement Data to Build Trust and Retain Customers
Your customers engage with you in a variety of ways—by phone, email, forms, customer support tickets, social media, product communities, and more. How well you respond to their questions and comments has a lot to do with their satisfaction, retention, and brand loyalty.
The problem for most companies is that customer engagement data is collected in different systems or channels and departments, and you can easily lose the context and timing of their inquiries. You might miss, for example, multiple requests across different channels in a short timeframe - a clear sign of frustration, or even desperation. You might not understand how a given request ties in with previous requests, current levels of training, or the stage of their onboarding. This can lead to responses that don’t address your customers’ circumstances and seem irrelevant.
Klearly provides a uniquely effective solution. By aggregating all of your customer data from diverse sources and building a timeline for each customer, your customer-facing teams can quickly assess customer needs and requests in context and respond with the right solution at the right time.