How to create a great customer onboarding experience

Your customer onboarding process can establish the groundwork for a long, consistent, profitable relationship with each new client who feels thoroughly educated and well trained. A confident customer is more likely to use your product more often and effectively, more willing to rely on you as a provider for additional products, to speak positively about your company both internally and to the industry, and most importantly, to remain a customer.

Client onboarding should therefore be carefully planned and invested in to avoid typical roadblocks – both from the perspective of personnel and the tools and content they deploy:

Target the content: Onboarding for new customers is usually an overview to get a user started, while deep dives into specific features often come as a next step, so as not to overwhelm the audience with too much detail all at once. That said, the salesperson who brought in the customer has already learned about specific business priorities and departmental goals – and can thus provide a trainer with insights into which areas are more and less important in a specific session of customer onboarding.

Focusing on these areas allows you to customize the onboarding process rather than presenting a pre-scripted, generic presentation that may not address specific needs. That said all trainers must be sure to cover the “core curriculum” for a consistent level of knowledge for all graduates of the onboarding process.

Don’t make it a monologue: A passive, one-directional sales onboarding or client onboarding presentation – whether live or pre-recorded – will yield much weaker engagement than one in which participation is encouraged through ongoing questions and answers, quizzes, and hands-on training, where each customer can experiment and explore a fully-functional version of your product in a virtual environment. Describing a feature should only be the initial step; especially in a SaaS-based platform, you can then demonstrate the feature, let each client try it themselves, and even take control or share their screen with others to demonstrate a point. A trainee asked a question about functionality in another area of your software? No problem – you can provide immediate answers by jumping right to it, rather than waiting to address it “in context” according to a pre-set plan.

Keep it short: Long sessions can contain too much material to digest and remember, can exhaust participants, and lead to a sharp drop-off in attention. Keep sessions short, with breaks between topics. Unlike a physical training session where people wander off for a snack and become distracted between sessions, a virtual lab environment makes this easy, as trainees are just a click away and can instantly return as many times as needed.

Leave them the environment: When the session is over, let them experiment with what they have learned in a virtual environment, at their own pace, at their own schedule. It’s tough to allocate exactly the right instruction time at each stage, so a SaaS-based training environment gives them time to invest in what matters most.