In the world of subscription business, ' Customer Onboarding' is an important touchpoint of the customer journey. However, many people in the industry have different perceptions about the onboarding process.
1) Some people think that Customer onboarding starts when the customer pays subscription money and comes onboard. ' Customer Onboarding' may be from free trial or freemium to a paid subscription.
2) Some others in SaaS world think that 'onboarding' is when sales complete and the customer starts using the product.
3) Some people think that onboarding is a continuous process. Customers start using the platform and start learning about various features of the platform at various points of time. Hence, onboarding will be in different phases at different points of time.
However, in the majority of the cases, the definition of onboarding true as per the below definition.
Onborading is a process of helping a new customer to get setup, to get trained and using your product to deliver value'.- SuccessCOACHING
Hence, onboarding deemed completed when the customer achieves his first business value. When the customer feels good about the business value he got, we can assume that the customer is successfully onboarded. During the journey of sales and marketing, the customer might have been assured with certain business values through conversations or brochures and demos, etc.
Why Onboarding is important?
Since 'Onboarding' is the first touchpoint of the Customer journey ( True for free trials or freemium models), the business value and customer happiness are of utmost importance. The onboarding process is the first experience of your offerings for the customer. The first experience has to deliver great value to the customer so that the customer will be excited to use the platform more and more. If you do not do it right during onboarding, then there is every chance that you lose your customers in a matter of days or months.
Having said that, it is not very easy to ensure a successful onboarding process. The process is a complex process because of the following reasons.
1) Change of baton - During the sale calls, the customer gets daily calls and tons of assurance about business value. Once the product is sold, the baton inside the company also changes hands. Now, suddenly a different person from the onboarding department may start calling the customer. Moreover, now the baton is going to be in the hands of the customer as well. The customer has to start using the platform and derive value for himself.
Think of the B2B2C scenario wherein the buyer is different and the user is different. In this scenario, all of a sudden user has to use the platform and derive the value. Always there is risk involved in this process when ownership changes to the customer.
2) Change in the style communication - During sales calls, the salesperson would chase the customer on a daily basis and ensures that the customer is given with every support and every information needed. Once the sale is closed and when the responsibilities of the customer change to other departments ( Maybe onboarding department or customer success department) the style, and rhythm of communication may change. Many a time, the customer is accustomed to the working style of the salesperson and sudden change in the style of communication may make the customer uncomfortable. However, these issues have to be handled carefully and smoothly to ensure the value to the customer.
There are many more challenges to ensure successful onboarding process and SaaS companies need to focus on those points and ensure successful onboarding for a better Customer Life Time Value ( CLV).
Are you ready to onboard your customers?