Customer Onboarding: 12 Underrated Ways to Outshine Your Competition

By Eva
September 23, 2022
Customer Onboarding: 12 Underrated Ways to Outshine Your Competition

It is natural to have an "aha!" moment when a customer signs up for your product or service. But does that mean you've won them? I'm afraid not.

In a world where people are quick to abandon an app after using it just once, that's not true. In fact, users may sign up simply to enjoy a free trial. Once the trial period is over, and they're asked to sign up for the paid plan, you won't see them again.

Unfortunately, you have as few as 7 seconds to create your best first impression. But fortunately, setting a strategic customer onboarding process lets you nail one.

So, don't let your customers turn to your competitors. Use these killer tactics today to minimize churn and boost revenue.

Customer Onboarding and What It Entails

Studies reveal that 64% of customers consider onboarding a decisive factor in buying a product or subscribing to a service.

Customer onboarding is a process that allows new customers to get acquainted with your products and services. Effective customer onboarding includes step-by-step tutorials and helpful guidance to nurture new users and make them comfortable.

It also involves celebrations when customers meet their goals using your services or products. Therefore, the customer onboarding process significantly affects whether the customer will use your products and services long-term or turn away. Here's what it entails.

  • Welcome email. Customers love to feel appreciated, and sending a welcome email is the best way to make them feel valued. You can thank them, share resources to let them get started, or direct them to the product.

  • A greeting msg is a message within the app that greets the customers as they sign up. It encourages them to set up their account. Ideally, you must ask them to do one thing at a time. Plus, including a video helps them guide through the process.

  • Product walkthrough. A product setup takes customers through steps to set up and complete crucial tasks regarding the product. The key is not to show the users but let them do what they're meant to.

  • The knowledge base is a resource section that addresses frequently asked questions and helps customers solve their pain points without navigating your site and looking for an answer.

  • Celebrations. Celebrating customer-centric milestones is a must to make them excited about reaching closer to their objectives. This can be achieved by sending them an email, an in-app notification, or making a quick call.

  • Follow-up emails. Keeping customers engaged is the key, and follow-up emails offer a solution. You can share helpful resources and tips about your product and services to remind them of your company.

12 Underrated Ways to Outpace Your Competitors

Photo by TE LUN OU YANG on Unsplash

Did you know finding a new customer is 5-25 times more costly than retaining an existing one? So, it makes sense why any brand wants to keep its customers returning.

By conducting an appropriate onboarding process, we boost the likelihood of customers staying with our brand because they have an in-depth understanding of our products and services.

This explains why organizations that implement a strong onboarding process enhance their hire retention by 82% and productivity by 70%.

1. Create a Top-Notch Customer Onboarding Program

You cannot expect your customers to know the ropes of your products and services immediately. So, it isn't common for them to become frustrated when left to their devices. As a result, many confused customers abandon your site, causing a high churn rate.

Put simply, they stop using your products and services. Hence, you must create a best-in-class customer onboarding program to keep the churn rate low.

It allows you to nurture and guide the customers toward learning to use your products. Building this relationship helps boost the customer's lifetime value.

The more value you offer to guide your new customers, the higher the chance of gaining repeat and loyal customers for your brand.

Another perk of quality customer onboarding includes boosted revenue, more engagement, and positive word of mouth. The onboarding program lets you set the tone for customers' relationships with your services and products.

2. Know Your Customers

Kevin Stirtz, a web marketing expert, quotes,

“Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.”

You cannot deliver the best unless you know your customers, their pain points, and their goals. The key is to know your ideal buyer persona; it will help you understand your customer needs.

Make an effort to understand their obstacles and unique challenges. This will help you tailor a proper onboarding experience and present ideal solutions.

Nothing turns off the customers more than an emotional disconnection during the onboarding. It shows you aren't listening to them, so why would they invest in your brand?

Make it a point to provide them with support and step-by-step guidance to address their problems.

3. Set the Expectations

Everybody has different expectations and milestones; your customers aren't any different. One of the best ways to learn about their expectations is to ask them questions during the first few weeks of engaging with them.

You must know their definition of success. Today, the word success is associated with a goal. For instance, success for you might be selling 50 products daily. But your competitors may define success as selling their best single product in a day.

You must learn what success is for your customers to set the stage for their unique expectations.

Once you define them, it's time to make and execute a plan. This refers to setting success milestones. Plus, you must also show how success milestones will appear during the sales process, regardless of your industry.

We can draw inspiration from Etsy, an online marketplace. The platform displays a progress meter showing customers' expectations during the onboarding process. The marketplace connects the following dots:

  • Shop preferences

  • Name your shop

  • Stock your shop

  • How you'll get paid

  • Set up billing

4. Invest In a Customer Onboarding Software

Gone are the days of manual processes. We're in a whole new era of automation.

Once you plan your onboarding process, it's time to find appropriate onboarding software. It lets you create onboarding videos and measure customer engagement on the go.

Plus, you can set up product tutorials, welcome email series, and videos to engage with your customers.

Whatfix, WalkMe, and Chameleon are some popular onboarding software. You can, however, always explore your options to find the right fit for your brand.

5. Do Not Underestimate the Value of Customization

Imagine sending the same email to 50 customers. While it sounds enticing, given the ease, it's a terrible way to engage with your customers. Personalization significantly determines your success.

A report highlights that 49% of customers will likely become repeat customers after a personalized experience. What's more, customers spend 34% more on a brand offering a customized experience.

Customers today want businesses to listen to them, understand their pain points, and address their specific queries. Your customers must feel at home when engaging with you. This requires you to treat them like you'll treat a new employee.

Make sure you segmentize the onboarding experience per unique customer preferences. For instance, you can create personal profiles, specific content, or specialized portals. Besides, you must remain available to address your customers' questions.

On a side note, random follow-ups are always a pleasant surprise for your customers. It gives quality assurance and allows you to ask them how the onboarding process is going. This will also help you improve your existing strategies and stay at the top of the game.

6. Engage With Your Customers

You have to find ways to stir excitement in your customers. How do you plan to engage them? What strategies do you have to keep them hooked?

Webinars, video tutorials, check-ins, and one-on-one sessions are some excellent ways to implement onboarding activities. This helps customers become acquainted with your services and products.

7. Do Not Reveal Everything Just Now

Because you've worked your fingers to the bone to create your product and offer top-notch services, you'll naturally want to show customers the ins and outs of your product. However, the key is to resist that urge.

Onboarding doesn't require you to share everything. Instead, you must only take the customers through the first few steps that'll eventually drive them to success.

Slack, a messaging app for businesses, is a living example of leaving the best for the last. The company has numerous valuable features. However, it doesn't reveal every integration during the initial onboarding.

For instance, do not disturb, starred items, and voice calls are kept hidden. Wondering why? Because a first-time user doesn't need to know them for a fantastic experience.

The user must have something impeccable to discover about your business - like a hidden treasure.

Nothing piques their interest like finding some incredible features later. So, you must initially focus on keeping them engaged. This will naturally encourage them to learn about the extra features - you didn't show at the beginning.

8. Strengthen Your Relationship

Customer onboarding isn't a one-time thing. You're not making a sale but creating a partnership. It doesn't matter if a sale happens within split seconds or a few years. You have the opportunity to build the relationship and nurture it.

How do you plan to strengthen your relationship with customers?

There are several ways to go about it. However, some best practices include calling for progress checkups and assigning account managers to like, share, and follow their content on social media.

Besides, the more authentic and transparent you are in your communication, the higher you have the chance to reduce churn and build long-lasting relationships.

9. Communicate Actively

Communication is the key, and there are no two ways about it. You must constantly communicate with your customers to understand them and address their questions.

It wouldn't be wrong to say that communication can make or break your onboarding process and customer relationship.

You do not have to leave them after their sign-up. Instead, the key is to be with your customers and ensure you're available at every stage to help them.

10. Follow Up

The story doesn't end after the onboarding. It is embarrassing to be supportive initially to build a reputation and cut ties afterward.

Keep the communication gateway open even after the onboarding is complete. Give customers a way to communicate with the account manager. This direct channel will allow them to ask product-related questions or other queries to eliminate confusion.

Therefore, you must follow up with customers to see if they have additional questions about your services and items. Once they learn the fundamentals, they'll be encouraged to dig into other features and tips.

11. Access Their Needs

This isn't something you should do only at the beginning. Of course, customers tell you about their goals initially. However, their needs may change once they start using your services and products.

Again, you must communicate with them to discover if the onboarding is still effective and whether it resonates with their objectives.

You didn't invest all the time in onboarding to encounter a customer churn later only because they do not see your product offering value.

You must have a strong relationship with them and allow them to communicate their needs. It will enable you to create an individualized experience based on their feedback.

12. Onboarding Isn't Just About the Product

While brands primarily focus on their services and products during onboarding, the process isn't all about that. Instead, it is about the experience of doing business with you. For instance, nobody would know you offer the best customer service unless someone experiences it.

Therefore, you must focus on offering excellent support to customers from day one. How you plan to do that depends entirely on your preferences. However, it does require creativity and skill.

You can use various tactics to upgrade customer experience, from hand-written notes to personalized emails. Other ways include:

  • Send them a warm greeting in an in-app message.

  • Give them a quick phone call (Because companies rarely talk to customers on call, it's a great way to gain an edge over your competitors)

Customer Onboarding Advantages

Photo by Joseph Sun on Unsplash

Wondering how the best onboarding strategies will bear fruit? A look into some benefits of customer onboarding will explain.

Increased Customer Loyalty

While companies focus on bringing delight to customers during the onboarding, for the most part, it's more than that. You're up to no good unless you reduce their effort by resolving their problems.

Studies reveal that 86% of customers stay loyal to businesses providing adequate onboarding content. This guides them to use the product after the initial purchase.

So, instead of investing to go the extra mile and neglecting the basic customer needs, you must focus on offering them onboarding content that resolves their pain points.

Positive Word of Mouth

An excellent customer onboarding process allows you to create your best first impression. Data reveals that 82% of customers trust recommendations. As such, they may purchase a product based on referrals.

This will keep you from investing more in getting new customers. Make sure you follow the best onboarding strategies to make the most of word-of-mouth benefits.

More Revenue

As mentioned earlier, acquiring new customers costs more than retaining the current ones. Therefore, you take a big chunk off your budget by not targeting new customers but engaging the existing ones through an effective onboarding process.


It isn't uncommon for brands to experience churn. However, whip-smart brand owners seek ways to reduce it, and the customer onboarding experience offers a fantastic way to gain repeat customers. Make sure you implement various onboarding strategies and see what works for you.

Also, don't be afraid to try out new tactics you may stumble upon online. Learning never stops, and the internet offers endless opportunities to gain new and valuable insights.

Go forth and engage with your new customers enthusiastically and focus on building long-term relationships with them.

Good luck!

Cover Photo by Mateusz Klein on Unsplash