Whether or not you have a formal program in place, customer onboarding is already happening at your organization. With this in mind, ask yourself these questions:
- Can you guarantee your customers are getting the information that’s most relevant to them?
- Are your customers getting information in an effective, engaging manner?
- Are you able to quickly help your customers find value in your product?
- Are your new customers equipped to use your product when they get started?
- Do you know how to measure whether your customer onboarding is working?
A successful customer onboarding program answers all these questions. We’ve outlined a few core elements to include in your program structure. For a deeper dive, visit our Complete Guide to Customer Onboarding.
What to Include in Your Customer Onboarding Program
Your Customers’ Path to Success
When planning an onboarding program, you want to provide your customers with a “yellow brick road” to success. This can be as simple as a checklist or illustration of the commitment you need from them.
Our recommendation: Map out your customers’ goals first. From there, you can teach the features needed to achieve each of these goals. Once your plan is ready, present it to your customer and get buy-in from their key stakeholders.
The Technologies Needed to Support Onboarding
Before investing in a new tool, consider whether it provides the best fit for your onboarding style, how much it will cost, and whether you have the internal resources to operate the tool.
Types of tools include:
Customer training platforms: A customer training platform (CTP) like Skilljar is specifically optimized for customer and partner training, rather than employee learning. Since customer training is not always required, the user experience is crucial as your customers guide themselves through their onboarding. For this reason, a CTP has an increased emphasis on features that make training your customers as intuitive as possible. These features could include:
- Flexible content creation to make creation more manageable for your teams
- E-commerce functionalities for simple customer payments
- Integrations with marketing and CRM systems so everything is in one place
Webinar providers: Exclusively using webinars to onboard your customers isn’t always the right solution. Webinars are great when providing a walk-through of a product’s interface or when it would be helpful to have a human explain a complex topic. Otherwise, webinars are most successfully employed when they’re combined with on-demand options.
Content, Content, Content
An onboarding program can’t exist without content to support it. But it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. Here are a few ideas:
- Try building content using existing resources. If you have a recorded video training session, for example, try translating the script into a Help Center article.
- Analyze the questions your support team receives most frequently. Create content that answers these questions.
- Identify which existing help center articles are viewed most frequently. Create a wider variety of content around these same topics, or expand on these topics with deeper-dive help center content.
A Marketing Plan of Action
If you don’t actively promote your program, how will you attract users to it? Some marketing tactics you can use during onboarding include:
Email campaigns: If your CTP is connected to a marketing automation tool like Marketo or Hubspot, you can set up workflows to ensure your new customers receive a welcome email on day one. You can also remind your customers to complete lessons after a certain time period, or recommend similar courses upon completion.
Work of mouth: Customer onboarding is a valuable resource and one that internal teams are likely excited about. Use this to your advantage by asking those in customer-facing roles to spread the word. For example, Sales and Customer Success Teams can include links to your training center in their email signatures and mention it on relevant calls.
A Way to Measure Success
There are a number of ways to measure the impact of your onboarding program — many of which only need a light lift to collect. Examples include:
- Audience reactions, such as using “smile sheets” or surveying for Net Promoter Score (NPS).
- Registration and completion data, to learn what topics interest your customers most and where you’re losing people.
Impact on your business’s ROI, such as through renewals, expansions, reduction in churn, increased product adoption, and support cost reductions.