While most companies put extensive effort into obtaining new customers, it’s just as important to put that same high-level effort into keeping them around, making successful customer onboarding must. This nurturing process helps new users become familiar with your product, typically including things like ongoing guidance, tutorials and celebrations of milestones. Your onboarding process gives customers support from the get-go while setting a positive tone for your relationship going forward.


Why is Onboarding Important?

Customer onboarding can increase customer lifetime value, decrease churn, and transform new users into ongoing, loyal supporters of your product and brand. A successful onboarding strategy can also help to combat some scary stats:

  • 75 percent: Amount of new users companies typically lose within the first week
  • 40 to 60 percent: Amount of free trial users that try a product once and never return
  • 5 percent or higher: Churn rates for the majority of SaaS companies

How to Onboard Your Customers

Creating an effective onboarding strategy starts by keeping the end in mind. Each step in your onboarding plan needs to contribute to your overall goal of transforming new users into lifelong promoters and fans.

Understand Your Customer

The better you understand each of your buyer personas, the better you can create an onboarding process that addresses each one’s exact needs. Become familiar with each pain point, obstacle and challenge they face, along with solutions that produce optimum outcomes.

Set Milestones

Determine what new users want out of your product, and then map out a plan to get them there. Set success milestones at key points along the way, ensuring each milestone you create is one you can help them achieve on time every time.

Onboard Internally

Take your company team members through the customer onboarding process to give them a better idea of each customer’s needs, pain points, background and story. Aligning your team in this way can improve the flow and implementation of new ideas while making the customer an integral part of everyday functioning.

Build the Relationship

You’re not just making a sale. You’re creating a partnership. Growing a relationship involves actions like assigning account managers, regularly checking in, interacting on social media and otherwise doing things that regularly strengthen trust and illustrate product value.

Gather Data, Measure Success

Data is crucial for measuring customer success with your onboarding process and beyond. It’s also a must for measuring customer satisfaction. Key metrics to track include churn rates, customer lifetime value (CLV) and Net Promoter Score (NPS).

Measuring retention metrics within specific time periods are also useful for finding out when customer churn is most likely. This lets you adjust processes within that time period that may decrease churn rates.

6 Useful Tips

A number of useful tips can enhance your onboarding experience even further.

1. Personalize the Experience

Some customers may want one-on-one guidance during onboarding, while others prefer to figure things out on their own. Tailor your onboarding process to meet their exact needs and desires, creating an individualized experience for customer success.

2. Provide a Step-by-Step Breakdown

Give new users a slow, steady and selective flow of information as they acclimate themselves to your product. Ask them to complete one task at a time, giving them clear instructions for each task.

3. Make Your Product Indispensable

The sooner you can get new customers into the groove of using your product on a regular basis to achieve their goals, the more quickly they can come to realize how essential it is for their success. Aim to get new customers using your product several times during the first week to establish a regular pattern of activity.

4. Stay in Constant Communication

Be at the ready for customers if they have any issues as they’re learning the ropes. Sticking with them every step of the way enhances their experience while letting you identify any gaps in your onboarding process.

5. Make Goals Customer-Centric

Different customers will have different goals, depending on their desired outcome. Help each customers set measurable goals unique to their specific situation, along with measurable benchmarks to achieve along the way.

6. Celebrate Small Wins

Whether you do it over the phone, with an email or through a celebratory notification that’s triggered when a milestone is hit, acknowledge the small successes.

While your official onboarding plan may go into action may kick off when someone buys your product, the onboarding process actually starts the first time someone interacts with your brand. Every interaction is a chance to make a favorable impression while gathering information you can use to continuously improve your onboarding experience. Customer service software like HubSpot Service Hub can help you make every interaction a memorable one.