To make your customers happy, you need to create a great product. Right? Well, if only it were that easy. There are so many things that define and shape customer satisfaction. And don’t get me wrong, a killer product is a huge part of it. But it’s never enough.
First of all, no matter how good your solution is, you need to make sure your customers know exactly how to apply it. Otherwise, they might get frustrated and eventually churn.
Another important aspect is the value of your product. Is it on the surface and crystal clear? Or is it something people need to spend time figuring out? You see, it’s all about how quickly and efficiently customers can use what you offer.
And if it ever felt lost using, say, the software you bought, you most likely had a poor customer onboarding experience. On the other hand, top-notch customer onboarding should solve the two problems above.
Want to know how?
We have prepared a list of things you can use to onboard your customers the right way. Let’s get started!
What is the customer onboarding process?
There are quite a few things that define customer onboarding. And it’s far more complex than most people might assume.
Generally speaking, there are 5 stages of customer onboarding to consider.
First contact. That’s usually a welcome email after a person is signed up for your service. This stage helps them understand what kind of training to expect and how to proceed. At the same time, you gather information from the customer to personalize and streamline the process for them. If it’s language learning, you would choose your proficient level and motivation. Be it work, traveling or hobby.
Kick-off. At this stage, you need to set goals and expectations. What is it that your customer wants? This step is important because it will help you find out if the onboarding was success or failure.
Setting goals will also help avoid disappointments in case something goes wrong or not as expected.
Training. Here, you need to provide the most value in the least time possible. Make sure that your suggested features are what your customers seek at this very moment. Show what this or that feature can complete. You might want to provide quick examples for better understanding.
Adoption. Adopting your customers, you clue them in on your advanced features and functionality. This is the moment when they feel more or less confident using your product. It can be indicated by a specific time period or a number of completed milestones.
Even if customer onboarding is a curated process, always leave an option for your customers to advance at their own pace. Every person is different, and rushing can be a detrimental thing.
You can take advantage of this opportunity and ask your users for feedback.
Retention. Great relationships are fought for every day. You can’t abandon your users after the last milestone is reached. Instead, make sure they are kept up-to-date about upcoming releases and features. This way, they will always be excited to open your tool and try out new things.
Heads-up messages are a good way of expressing your care towards your customer base. Onboarding journey doesn’t really end. Otherwise, it would mean that you don’t offer anything new with time. And non progredi est regredi as we all know.
These 5 steps are pivotal for an effective onboarding campaign. If one of them is missing, the results are less impressive.
Note that personalization should be one of your main priorities when building a campaign. If you don’t at least add a personal touch to your conversation with a customer, they might feel unappreciated.
Although interfaces become more and more intuitive, a little help never hurts. Because, a lot of times, it’s not even about how comprehensive your UI is, but if your users can start using it on the spot. So real-time alerts can be a game-changing factor in your project’s success.
By prompting specific steps or explaining the functionality, you allow people to act on the spot. Hardly anyone enjoys reading long manuals or instructions without being able to actually do something.
Real-time alerts can be leveraged to create onboarding sequences, provide additional information or context, give tips. etc.
Personally, I like to see real-time alerts in the onboarding process. Whenever I install a new app, it’s just easier for me to follow specific arrows with tooltips. The latter ones are awesome because you will always know what that button does and will never have to guess.
Another great weapon for your onboarding campaign is without a doubt push notification. The beauty of it is that it can reach your user when they are not using the app. Having that in mind, you can come up with ways to draw attention to the app. But the same goes for PC software, websites, etc.
Here are some quick ideas you could implement:
1. Welcome notification
It’s kind of obvious but still overlooked in a way. You can use this notification type to craft a personalized greeting and stand out among your competition. Another way to go is to offer some gifts, like a 5% promo code.
In doing so, you give your users a reason, not to turn-off notifications. Otherwise, they might miss out on some discount or simply important information. The world is your oyster here.
2. Point out your product’s value
A lot of people churn because they don’t understand how to get value from products. So even if your app is top-notch, you might still lose customers. Getting your message across with a quick but concise notification can help get an idea of what to expect.
Obviously, it’s not going to do the trick completely, you do need to think about the main onboarding process. But it’s a nice touch either way.
3. Engage inactive users
Onboarding doesn’t necessarily stop after your users completed the most important steps. Even if they went through the tutorial, they might not have a complete picture of your app. So reminding them about you and nudging them to give it another try can move the needle.
Plus, sometimes people just get distracted and ultimately forget about what they did. You don’t want to lose a potential customer like that. Set up push notifications that would attract attention and maybe be rewarding in some way. Again, a small coupon or a freebie should do just fine.
4. Celebrate success
Whenever your users hit an important milestone, make sure to inform them about it. The sense of progress can be an effective incentive to carry on. Whether it’s a completed tutorial or first match in a dating app, success always feels nice.
Also, don’t miss out on the opportunity to provide further instructions or nudge them to take things to the next level. Let them explore your product to the fullest.
Sidenote. Don’t overdo with messages. Too many notifications can get you to the blacklist very quickly. Make sure that your messages provide value and don’t spam your users’ screens. The way you ‘talk’ to your customer base defines your product’s quality too.
Communication is the key. A lot of times, it’s just easier to ask a real person and get an answer on the fly. Of course, figuring out stuff on your own can be challenging and fun but it’s rarely the case with onboarding.
So online chats remain a solid way to onboard your customers, decrease churn rate and make users happy.
Nowadays, chat systems can boast a considerable set of tools that you can use for your onboarding campaign. Manual and auto-messages, filters, attributes, just to name a few. By acting on the data obtained from chat, you can tailor a highly personalized multiple-step process. And I’m not only talking about names and sign-up dates. You can leverage such data points like covered steps, unused functions, time spent in a specific section.
Mass message blasts are long gone. So in order to keep up with the competition, you have to think more broadly. But even as a simple but precious factor of human communication is what can set you apart from the others. A lot of time, there isn’t enough resources to engage a customer care team. Which can become a solid competitive edge if executed correctly.
If you think about getting a live chat, here are a few tips we recommend the following:
1. Train your team first
Customer services shouldn’t be treated lightly. Get your team to learn your app and understand its weak points. To be able to act proactively, your customer care members have to be users as well. Until then, they won’t be able to understand the needs of your users and react to it properly.
2. Don’t haste to send tutorials
Yes, learning materials are there for a reason and they do their job. But when a person reaches out via chat, they usually expect a conversation. Not a dull reference to a resource. So instead of firing tutorial links, explain things on your own, provide examples, etc. You can always attach a tutorial at the end. However, it should never be your whole answer.
3. Stay casual
We all struggle with something from time to time. And there’s no better help than a person that totally gets your pain. This is why setting a lite conversation tone allows you to become a partner rather than an ‘uninvested’ person from the other end. Don’t shy away from jokes and being more casual.
Remember that great customer service can generate an insane amount of word-of-mouth.
A real conversation is nice but what if you can’t cover the need? Sometimes, the numbers are too big and you can’t satisfy each request manually. If it sounds familiar to you, you should probably consider chatbots.
The chat window can look the same as the one of a human being but the responses are canned and triggered based on users’ behavior.
And the benefits of it are hard to overlook:
- you lower the load on your actual customer team;
- you can answer the most common questions with saved responses;
- you can set up a message sequence and resolve issues on the spot;
- you can gather the data from these chats and use it to enhance your onboarding campaign.
All in all, it’s a powerful tool that saves time and resources and creates a foundation for your growth.
Customer onboarding deserves your undivided attention. Regardless of the application type you are going or have already developed, you need to teach people how to use it.
One of the popular misconceptions is that showing basic functionality is enough. However, the main idea of great onboarding is to help customers extract value from the product. If I know what your application does, but I don’t see any visible progress, I will most likely opt-out.
So instead of covering the basics, you should focus on understanding what your users need and act on this information. To create an effective onboarding campaign, make sure you analyzed what your competitors are doing, what people are interested in on forums and so on.
Luckily, you can resort to a wide variety of techniques businesses have been implementing for years now. They include real-time alerts, push notifications, online chat, chatbots, etc. Think of those as a combination of approaches you can use to come up with a perfect solution for you.
What’s also important is that onboarding has to stay flexible. Listen to your customer base, fix what doesn’t work and improve what does.
I hope this article cleared things up a little bit for you. Do you have any favorite onboarding tricks? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below or ask a question if you have any!