Spending a little extra time onboarding new customers shows them they made the right decision choosing your company and that you care about their experience with your brand, even after you’ve taken their money.
Most of the studies about onboarding relate to welcoming new employees into your company. Although specific research about onboarding customers is available, customer retention statistics tell us a lot about why consumers stick with a brand. In the United States, about 40 percent of revenue for most brands comes from repeat purchases. Spending a bit of extra time on a new customer ensures they understand your brand mission and make a connection with you that may last for years to come.
Just how can you onboard new customers without spending all your time on follow-up, though? Fortunately, there are some clear marketing techniques and tips that naturally lead to better customer retention. Here are eight of them.
A big equation in customer experience (CX) is how well you communicate with your customers. Customers should feel that they aren’t just another face in the crowd, but a person your company cares about. Communication should be easy and available, such as adding live chat and engaging on social media. Notice how many of the top brands today spend time answering concerns on social media or giving a shout out to their top customers.
Long John Silver’s has a strong presence on Instagram, where they promote different foods they serve in their restaurants. In the post above, they offer a photo of their food and then add a comment about liking thick cuts, which references a popular song. People chime into the conversation, and LJS engages them by responding with a heart emoji or short replies. Responding to comments on social media shows new followers they want to start a discussion.
Part of your inbound marketing strategy should focus on creating specific content for different audience segments based on where they come to you from and the likely buyer persona. If you gain a lead from your Facebook page, you may know you’ve targeted a particular type of buyer on that social media platform and that they want a solution to one of two problems. You can then gear the content on your landing page to solving those exact problems for the user.
Be generous with your new leads by offering them something free. The more generous you can be, the better, and some studies show that those who receive something free then want to reciprocate by ordering from you or sharing your business with others. One example might be offering a free guide if they sign up for your newsletter, then following up a week later with a free bonus guide the customer wasn’t expecting. Offering more than expected shows you care about their success and want them to have all the information needed to move forward. You could also offer a free estimate or consultation to new clients.
New City Moving offers a free quote so potential clients can see exactly what services are included and get a ballpark price range for help with their moving needs. Once you submit your information about the number of rooms, where you’re moving and the date, the company responds by either phone, text or email within a day and gives you a detailed estimate providing everything included and info on any add-ons you might want.
Have you ever bought a product and experienced such excellent customer service that you vow to do business with that company going forward? Good customer experience (CX) isn’t easy to define — many elements play into the overall impression a person has of your brand. However, there are some clear things you can do when onboarding new customers to ensure they have a good experience.
First, ask them if they are satisfied with their purchase and if they need anything else. This simple question helps solve many problems before they become serious concerns. Second, reach out and thank them for their business and let them know you appreciate it. The fine art of a simple thank you has been lost in modern times, so letting your customers know you are grateful goes a long way toward goodwill. Finally, have a customer service rep follow up with new customers via phone call, email or text message. The contact should be personal and refer to the specific purchase made by the customer.
A progress bar encourages your new customer to continue the process of ordering or to sign up for an account. The user sees progress as they move along and an end to the information they need to input. A progress bar also helps them track where they are if they must leave and return at a later time.
Etsy’s process to help new sellers get a shop up and running uses a progress bar to show people where they are in the process. Note how the circles turn solid and gain a check mark as you finish that step in the process. You also know exactly how many steps are left to finish setting up your new online store.
People today are extremely busy. If you save them time and effort, they’re much more likely to stay with you for the long haul. Add features that save them time such as allowing them to hook their account into an already exciting platform, such as Facebook or Google. Linking up to popular platforms prevents the user from having to input basic info they already have saved and allows them to log in with a single click of the button.
For businesses offering a service, onboarding may be particularly important. The user needs to understand best practices and how to get the most out of their new registration. Draw attention to some of the most important details with pop-up messages, videos or a series of steps the user should take to become more familiar with the service. For products, onboarding may relate more to the use of the product and include videos and user manuals.
Wistia onboards new clients by offering a Getting Started With Video series that explains how to use their system and best practices. Even if you’ve never used a promotional video before, you’ll understand the basics of what you need to do once you complete the series.
If a customer reaches out to you via email, phone or social media and shares a positive story about their experience with your brand, celebrate that success. If you offer a service for other businesses, give their brand a shout out on your social media pages and invite people to check out what they’re doing and why they’re winning.
On the other hand, if you run a business to consumer (B2C) model and a customer lets you know your gadget saved them 15 minutes a day, take the time to send them a note and tell them how happy you are to hear that. It’s the little efforts that show customers you care about them and keep their business long-term.
Even though most of your new customers may need a walkthrough of the product or service features, some will be past customers who’ve come back or people who are particularly tech savvy and don’t need in-depth explanations. Let them skip steps that they already understand and avoid frustration.
Onboarding is a journey, and laying out the process of a customer’s journey from the minute they land on your page to after they make a purchase allows you to connect with your customers and develop lifelong relationships.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner