“On-boarding” might sound like a made-up term spouted by marketers, but it’s not a new idea. In reality for many businesses, it’s business as usual, what you might call common sense marketing – the process of building customer relationships early on during the customer journey, from your customers’ very first interaction with you. Attract customers, create a good first impression, deliver the experience they expect every time and you’re more likely to get loyal customers. So what’s new?

The difference now is the ever increasing range of channels available and the speed of the process that has made the whole procedure vastly more complex in one way but much more freeing in others. In the past marketers were held back and frustrated by costly channels, an absence of data and lengthy lead times that served to impede the ‘creative’ process. Now the abundance of digital platforms and channels available to everyone means that we have the ability to deliver a step change in customer experience from the moment customers climb aboard.

If you don’t have a process laid out for on-boarding you face the very real risk of losing those customers you have been working hard to attract and engage. Effective onboarding is your opportunity to generate strong user habits from the beginning, define the right customer journey and reward those customers who perform desired actions.

In his book ‘Hooked’ writer and speaker Nir Eyal talks about the need for companies to understand the how people form habits in order to increase engagement. He discusses ways to tap into the psychology of customers’ browsing and shopping activities using digital platforms, to create the experiences that keep us coming back for more.

You too have the motive to ensure that your on-boarding process attracts and retains customers. Beware though, your customers are clever! Putting the customer first with genuine, sincere engagement will win every time.