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Customer Onboarding: Honeymoon or Not?

Customer Experience

The start of any relationship is special.

Customers deserve a honeymoon. And yet most never get it.

Sales people woo and discounts entice, and yet too often we sign on the dotted line and are left with a feeling of…emptiness. If we’re lucky, we might receive a legalese-filled tome which outlines the many ways we won’t get service or the various lawsuits we won’t be able to win.

Oh, goody.

Customer Onboarding: Honeymoon or Not? image 4297852910 7aa898f941 zThe first 90 days after becoming a customer are critical to establishing trust and appreciating the value of the relationship. Some ideas to create a magical honeymoon period for your customers:

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1. Create a personal relationship.

Too often, the sales person sells by agreeing with what the prospect wants. “Oh, sure, our software can do that. Whatever you need.” Yet when the relationship is handed off to an account manager, those specific requests are ignored. The new customer is given the same-old “introduction” as every other customer. The relationship is chipped away immediately.

2. Don’t bill first.

The very first touchpoint with a company after agreeing to be a customer should not be an invoice or a “PAY THIS IMMEDIATELY” type of communication. Customers are the only true profit center in your organization. Be grateful. Say thank you and welcome.

3. Offer technology solutions that work for the customer – not just what you think is cool.

I adore all the ways companies are offering technology options so customers can interact they way they want. But don’t push me to the Apple App Store when I own an Android. Companies are so proud of their latest and greatest tech solutions they are promoting them without context or any customer focus.

4. Cross-sell only when appropriate.

The first transaction should not include a cross-sell promotion when I’ve already told you I didn’t need that product. Respect what customers say. Listen to what they need. Offer solutions appropriately.

5. Do nice things unexpectedly.

Remember, companies need to earn the trust of their new customers. Sending unexpected surprises or offering moments of delight will do more to earn that trust. Be proactive and surprise them with good will. The good will they return will go a long way towards a long-term relationship.

As excited as customer experience pros and marketing folks get about the ideal customer journey, it is never quite realized. That’s because the customers who sign up or buy your product are doing it because they believe it will help them achieve something within their own lives. The new relationship is not a priority to them. They may even sign up and then forget about it until the next billing cycle. If they’ve never heard from you during that time, there is no reason to continue.

It’s the company’s job to step in and provide the reason to stay. Woo your customers early and often. Don’t let the romance die.

Photo credit: Angelina Cupcake via Creative Commons license

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