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The best customer onboarding template – free template
This article is all about the creating the best customer onboarding process for your business. If you want to cut to the chase, skip to the “Our new customer onboarding template” section, where we will outline the key steps any successful client onboarding should cover and link you to our free template.
But we don’t actually want you to do that. We believe that your customer onboarding process should reflect your individual business strengths and goals. You know your customers better than anyone, so it’s unlikely that a generic checklist template would give your clients the best experience.
We consider our onboarding process as a starting point – a framework for you to adapt and build upon. As such, this article will help you develop a process that fulfills both the needs of your customers and those of your business. We’ll cover what customer onboarding is, why it’s arguably the most important procedure in your business, and tips on how to write the most effective process for your company.
Let’s get into it.
What is customer onboarding
The customer onboarding process (or client onboarding process) describes how someone moves from the start of their relationship with your company to “business as usual” and beyond. It’s how they interact with you and form a connection with your business.
Most businesses have a customer onboarding process, even if you have no contact with your customers. When someone buys something online, the customer’s purchasing experience is part of their onboarding. They have started to form a relationship with your company.
43% of UK SMEs say their company has lost customers as a result of failed process
In practical terms, a customer’s onboarding is likely to cover the early stages of delivering your product or services. It usually starts towards the end of your sales process and so may be initiated by your sales team or it might start when the customer has been handed over to your customer success function.
For example, if you run a consultancy business, your customer onboarding process may include briefing the relevant teams on the new customer, a kick-off meeting, setting expectations and setting up your customer on your systems.
Client onboarding is intrinsically linked with customer experience. Creating a great customer experience from the outset is essential to retaining that client longer term – and we all know that customer retention is better than new customer acquisition.
Why the customer onboarding process is so important
How you manage your customer onboarding process is reflective of the way your whole company does business. For your customers, it sets the tone for what is to come. If the first interactions with your company are slow, difficult or confusing – especially when the customer generally has already agreed to part with their money – you can see how this wouldn’t give a positive impression of your business.
Consumers have matured. It’s no longer necessarily about the best product or lowest price, in today’s modern world, it’s all about the EXPERIENCE. Customer experience can make the difference between a happy client, and one you risk losing.
Giving your business an edge is essential for reducing client churn and maximising profitability. Acquiring new customers costs 5 times more than selling to an existing customer — and the likelihood of selling to current customers is 60-70% (compared with 5-20% for new customers).
It’s no coincidence that most of your revenue most likely comes from existing customers. A client isn’t ‘won’ the moment they’ve signed on the dotted line. A customer is ‘won’ when you satisfy their expectations, gain their loyalty and retain that relationship.
Achieving this is reliant on an engaging, robust customer onboarding process.
Creating a successful customer onboarding process
Your onboarding process should be designed to ensure your client achieves THEIR desired outcome, not yours. Keeping them happy and fulfilling their needs is what drives retention.
The following checklist should be included as part of your customer onboarding process to give it the greatest chance of success:
You obviously want to do a great job for your clients, but your idea of ‘great’ isn’t necessarily their idea of great. The easiest way to know what your client wants is to ask them. Sounds stupid, but it’s so often overlooked.
Make your process precise
The last thing you want your onboarding process to be is complicated. If your client feels overwhelmed they’ll start ignoring your emails/calls, and then you’re on the road to dumpsville. When creating your process, make every step as small and simple as possible, and then tick them off your checklist as you go.
Keep it simple (stupid!)
Once a client has signed you need to focus your efforts on driving towards that first ‘win’. So forget 20 questions, just start delivering what the client wants.
Hold something back
Onboarding isn’t about sharing everything. It’s about taking the user through the first critical steps to success. Tell them about your other offerings (or product features) further down the line. If they want them, they’ll discover them in their own time.
Our new customer onboarding template
Using a template as your ‘blueprint’ means your process for onboarding customers is consistent every time. Here are the key steps that we would use as a starting point for a customer onboarding template:
Step 1: Capture and document key information
Such as who the key contact is, their contact details, information about their business, why they chose us and what they hope to achieve by using us.
Step 2: Send personal welcome message to client
Step 3: Send communication to the team about the client win
Step 4: Send follow-up client email containing key info
Introduce key members of your team, point them to useful information they may need (e.g. support site), explain next steps, book date/time for kick-off.
Step 5: Assign team roles and issue internal communication
Step 6: Kick-off call/meeting
Set expectations, set relationship parameters, agree scope/deliverables, timescales.
Step 7: Remind them why they chose us
Give them a check up call or email, or even better, send them a gift to show your appreciation at them becoming your latest customer.
Step 8: Product/service set-up – consider the training that may be required
Step 9: After one week…catch-up call/email
How are they getting on? Questions? Problems? How can we help with deeper engagement?
Step 10: ‘Business as usual mode’: keep them engaged
E.g. Product updates and invitations to events/webinars.
How Process Bliss can improve your customer onboarding
It’s all very well having a process written down, but if it’s not embedded in your operations, it’s never going to help your business provide a consistent experience and help your staff know what to do.
Process Bliss allows you to set up custom templates for the recurring processes in your business, such as customer onboarding. You then ‘run’ the process for each new client you take onboard.
Steps within the process can be assigned to different people and given a due date, so everyone knows exactly what they have to do, and by when.
Process Bliss has detailed process reports where you can see exactly what stage in the onboarding process you are with each new customer.
It’s also the only system we know of where you can say that you can’t do a step in the process. This means blockers are instantly spotted. This can also help feed into process improvement – if there’s a step that repeatedly can’t be done, this could suggest that the process needs to be changed.
Request a bespoke customer onboarding template
As we said at the start, the process above is unlikely to do everything you and your customers need it to. You probably already have your own ways of doing things, and specific requirements according to what you need to deliver.
We completely get this. That’s why when you sign up for a trial of Process Bliss, we will work with your business to document the best customer onboarding template for you, for free. No extra charge, no commitment.