The Onboarding Process: New Customers
A new customer is always something to celebrate.
It indicates new revenue is coming into your company. You and your employees have more projects to look forward to. It might lead to a deeper partnership in the future.
We’ve had this happen to us here at Skore with our clients: start with a customer and service provider relationship, and then realise we can accomplish so much more together.
The reason everything goes so smoothly for us is that we have a crystal clear onboarding process for new customers, and we’d like to share it with you.
What Is an Onboarding Process
Generally, when people think of onboarding, they think about onboarding a new employee.
In general, onboarding refers to the process of adding a new part to the overall machine that is your business. A new employee, a new customer, a new process – all of these need to be onboarded correctly.
They must slot in like a puzzle piece.
Anything less, and your business will suffer for it. New employees will be dissatisfied and look to leave, and new customers will not last very long.
You need to make sure in all cases that the process flows neatly, is not overwhelming, and feels personal to the user. It has to be a core part of your business processes and cannot be something you tack on or improvise each time. That way only failure lies.
A great onboarding process will help you convert, activate, retain and expand the services or products that your client uses.
To convert, you want to make sure your customers positively interact with your company. Send them a personalised welcome email with further information and clear instructions about how to proceed. Guide them through using your product or service, in-person or online, so they feel comfortable and confident.
Once they realise how key your business is to their needs, it will activate them. They will find aspects of your product or service that are key for their daily tasks and that cannot be done without your business. Make sure that the value you provide is seen very clearly in the first month.
You want to retain your customers. Ensure that they are satisfied with your offer and are making the most of it. If one of your key value points is not being used within that first month, find out why – they are your best sellers and good indicators of the customer hanging around.
Finally, once that first month is up, it’s time to try expanding. Offer additional services or products your customers can use or try that will be appealing to them on top of the regular services you give them. Plus you want to make sure that customer knows what to do next, a great onboarding process means you’ve developed a great relationship and they are ready to take the next planned steps.
But always personalise it so it applies to their particular needs. Any step out of line could leave you with one less customer in your portfolio.
To further help you we’ve compiled some common mistakes the onboarding process for new clients runs into, and how to fix them.
And of course, by the end of this article, we’ll show you how to map this entire process.
Common Client Onboarding Process Challenges
A lot has been said about mistakes and problems you may run into when developing your onboarding process. Here are some of the most common, and how to avoid them.
- Lack of support
It might seem crazy, but in a world where automation is becoming more and more commonplace, some businesses have removed the human element of support entirely.
This is a mistake.
Especially during their onboarding process.
You want your customers to look forward to learning how to use your product or service. You do not want them to feel frustrated because they cannot reach anyone to provide clarification.
It is a surefire way to lose their business.
Make sure you have a dedicated support team available and ready to help your new customers, always.
- Lack of communication
Tied to the above, if your customer receives little to no communication from your company, chances are they won’t last long.
Poor communication can be anything from an automated welcome email that does not make it to them, to not being introduced to the correct point of contact at your company going forward.
Once your salesperson has successfully made the sale and they have signed the contract, the customer should smoothly and swiftly be transferred over to the correct department in your company. And they should know who they are interacting with and why. It helps them feel seen and accompanied as they learn how to navigate your product or service.
This is why having these processes mapped out is so important: it provides a visual representation of how this would work.
- Lack of personalization
No customer is the same as the other. Think of restaurant orders – everyone will get something different and some people will want to change aspects of the dish. It is the same situation here.
Your welcome message should be personalised to each customer. Ideally, so should the different parts of the process. Your team will also learn valuable information from your new customer as the onboarding process continues.
By the time the possibility of expansion comes up, you will be able to tailor your offer specifically to their needs. It makes a huge difference to offer something that makes sense to them.
A plumber might not find additional spreadsheet features that interesting, mostly using them for budgeting. On the other hand, an office worker who needs to create presentations for shareholders might find it a lot more appealing.
The more personal you can make the experience, the better your chances at retention and expansion are.
- Overwhelming your new customer
Finally, we know it is exciting to welcome a new customer into the fold. It is a new project, new revenue, and potentially a new avenue to explore.
But your new customer is not necessarily going to be as familiar as you with your product or service, so you have to introduce all the parts gradually. Overwhelming your new customer with information is not the way to go.
It makes the entire onboarding process tedious, long, and complicated for your customers. Simplify by only introducing new concepts and elements as they begin to feel confident and comfortable with the ones introduced previously. Slowly build up to the more important and useful features of your product or service.
This way you keep their attention and demonstrate the value of your business to them, making it far more likely to retain your customers in the long run.
Mapping Out Your Onboarding Process for a New Customer
Mapping is what we do here at Skore.
It helps our clients understand how things are working. Mapping locates if there are mistakes, where they are and how to fix them, and how to optimise and improve the business. It gets everyone on the same page and leads to success.
Because we believe in mapping as a tool so much, we’ve provided a library full of templates for the common processes businesses need to have in place to survive. They serve as a taste of what Skore can do for you, and they can be previewed easily and freely – but you can also always get in touch to learn more!
Our Onboard New Customer template is one such freely previewed sample.
Starting with a trigger of a customer signing off, the process takes you through the first month of your new customer’s experience. You will notice that we’ve included the initial action which then leads to a box with the next step and the responsible parties outlined below. There is then a handover with another arrow to the following step.
The steps outlined in this onboarding process map correlate to the convert, activate, and retain factors of a successful client onboarding process. Expansion can then take place at any point going forward and the client would go through a similar onboarding process then.
You convert by getting in touch and ensuring all the paperwork has gone through correctly and testing your product or service. Your employees begin training your new customer’s employees on your product or service, personalising the process and creating ample opportunities for the activate moment where they realize how key you are to their success. Your employees go on to provide support for the first month, ensuring that the new customer feels heard and taken care of to make retention more likely.
While this may all seem obvious, without having it mapped out and accessible in this way, there are several moments where things can go wrong. And it also helps you find moments where certain tasks can be automated or removed if they are no longer needed. Plus it ensures that you know exactly who is responsible for each step and what should happen next.
As always with Skore, you can also create a process within a process. This is an option you won’t come across in other mapping alternatives.
Take a look at the second box on the template…
Once the agreement is signed and has taken place, it is time to perform the initial setup. There is a sub-process to get this done, and by clicking on the arrow it is possible to see the more detailed sub-process as well. In that sub-process, there is even a different role responsible for one of the actions.
It would be confusing to map it in the larger process, so the possibility of visualizing it in this manner is a lot clearer and more pleasing to the eye. In a larger setting with shareholders that have to be able to follow along, displaying the processes in this way makes it easy for everyone to follow along. It means you can keep your process simply to one page whilst including all the detail you need to make it a success.
This unique feature we provide makes the map all the more useful for any business out there struggling to onboard their new clients successfully.
New customers are always great, but you need to take care of them accordingly.
One wrong move during onboarding can absolutely ruin your chances at retention and expansion – this is the last thing you want.
You can avoid this anxiety by having your onboarding process for new customers clearly mapped out. Ensure everyone is doing what they are supposed to do at the right time, and your clients will feel looked after and heard.
Skore is happy to provide you with the tools you need to ensure you’re successful.
Get in touch with us to discover Skore for yourself.