A study by Accenture found 71 percent of companies today claim “loyalty programs do not actually engender customer loyalty.” Reward points and loyalty programs are no longer sufficient enough to sustain customer relationships. To build and grow your business, you need a loyal customer base that will stick with you for the long run. But how do you boost customer loyalty?
Enter: the onboarding process.
After investing thousands of dollars in marketing efforts, your business is finally converting leads into sales. But an underwhelming onboarding experience can send your new clients running, leaving you to recoup the customer acquisition costs and struggling to meet sales goals.
Why Onboarding is Great for Customer Loyalty
Congratulations! A customer found your company, made it down the sales funnel and clicked to purchase. You’re probably thinking that your hard work finally paid off. However, the path to customer success has just begun. Will your new customers stick around for a few years, or fall off after a few days? The second your prospect becomes a customer, the onboarding process begins, and now it’s up to you to determine how you want to make the first impression.
Customer onboarding provides you the opportunity to put your best foot forward and make a lasting impression. A positive onboarding experience helps your customer feel special, supported, and confident that they made the right choice. However, a not-so-great onboarding experience can cause your customers to pack their bags and head for a competitor. Ultimately, user onboarding is imperative to customer loyalty and retention. When you earn their trust, your customers are more likely to become loyal, repeat customers.
5 Onboarding Best Practices to Boost Loyalty
The following best practices will help you solidify your customer onboarding process, and in turn, boost customer loyalty and retention.
After your initial welcome message, you must maintain communication throughout the onboarding process. Consistent communication during customer onboarding will make or break the relationship and trust you have with your patrons. Consider using email and mobile messages throughout the process and make sure customers know that you’re always available to answer their questions or concerns.
Customize the Experience
To design a successful onboarding process, you must understand the user and their problem. As you develop this process, consider your customer as a partner and ensure that their onboarding experience is specifically tailored to the individual and their needs.
Part of the onboarding experience should focus on personalizing each account. The main takeaway is that the customer’s experience with you should always be valuable, insightful, accessible, and helpful. That could range from exclusive content and offers to simply communicating, being readily available, and understanding your customers well enough to know and answer the questions they are about to ask.
Onboard the Team
Not only should you focus on onboarding your customer, but also anyone from your team who will be involved in facilitating the process. Your whole team must understand the needs, challenges, background, and onboarding requirements of your customer.
By onboarding the internal team, the customer now becomes an integral part of the daily functioning of your company. Additionally, training your team ensures that everyone is on the same page, which allows for a seamless flow and functioning of new ideas, less time spent briefing team members, and in turn, a more efficient onboarding process.
Follow-Up After Onboarding is Complete
Your relationship with your customer should not end once you’ve welcomed and onboarded them. It’s important to remind customers that they can always communicate with your brand through a sales associate, customer service representative, or any other customer-facing team member at any point in their journey. Provide your customers with a direct channel to reach your team if they need to. This will help make them feel supported and valued along the way.
Always follow up with your customers regularly to see if they have any additional questions about your product or service. There is a chance that your customers will be interested in learning more about advanced features or new complementary products, allowing you to upsell and cross-sell customers with add-ons, upgrades, or exciting new items.
Continuously Assess Customer Needs
Onboarding should provide customers with everything they need to accomplish their goals. However, your customers’ needs can change as they start to use your products or services. Therefore, it’s important to periodically survey customers to see if their journey has been helpful and relevant to their needs and goals. In doing so, you will earn your customers’ trust and loyalty, making them more likely to be transparent and communicate their future needs. Ultimately, this provides an opportunity for your team to further personalize based on the given feedback.
Even though the onboarding process is only at the beginning of the journey, it lays the foundation of a fruitful relationship with your customers. A great customer onboarding process helps with customer loyalty and retention. Although a churn might happen, by following these customer onboarding best practices, you can rest assured that your customers will see the full value of your product or service. Ultimately, all of this plays a role in helping you turn your prospects into strong brand advocates, and drive customer loyalty.