5 Ways to Make Your Customer Onboarding Experience Memorable

  • 5 Ways to Make Your Customer Onboarding Experience Memorable

Focus on This One Thing for Competitive Advantage

There’s mounting evidence that marketing leadership is key to driving the entire customer experience (CX).

  • 68% of marketing leaders say their company is increasingly competing on the basis of customer experience. [Salesforce]
  • 67% percent of marketing leaders say creating a connected customer journey across all touchpoints and channels is critical to the success of their overall marketing strategy. [Salesforce]
  • Loyal customers are 5 times as likely to repurchase, 5 times as likely to forgive, 7 times as likely to try a new offering, and 4 times as likely to refer. [Temkin Group via Carla Johnson]
  • 78% believe engagement occurs in the middle or end stages of the marketing funnel. [Marketo]
  • Providing customers with short tutorials on product features before hanging up can reduce churn by 6%. [Harvard Business Review]
  • 62% of B2B customers purchased more after a good customer service encounter. [Zendesk]


Uh Huh…Sure. But Really, Where Should We Focus?

Yes, I know. There are hundreds of blogs that implore you to focus on CX. But where do I start, why, and how? 

Full Funnel B2B Marketing

For starters, you’ll want a full funnel approach to your marketing. What’s that mean? Here’s a framework and some guidance on it: The Easy Way to Plan Full Funnel B2B Marketing. Pick the part of the funnel that’s best for your business to improve. 

What’s Most In Need of a Good, Solid Marketing Makeover?

Yes, the headline of this blog is a big hint. Let’s face it, the customer onboarding experience is a big opportunity for most companies.

Why? Because it’s a major relationship-building opportunity with your customers. Whether it’s a new customer or an existing one—it’s a moment of truth than can build or erode trust. Yet, marketing teams are typically focused at the top and middle of the funnel.

Why change? For starters, your customers care. They’re taking a professional risk by buying your product and getting their colleagues to use it. They gamble political capital and reputation when they back a vendor. Yes, this is even true of your existing customers. When you do this well, customers are more satisfied. Satisfied customers spend more and churn less. Also, it’s easier to cross-sell and upsell to happy customers at a lower cost.


How Good Is Your Onboarding Experience?

Come on…be honest. Do you even know?

The Likely Story. If you’re like many, your product management, professional services, and support teams create the onboarding process and content. As subject matter experts, they know the mechanics and details. They’re driving this as they bring products to market. For many busy companies, this works just fine—especially with scarce resources. These dedicated pros deserve our support and deep respect for what they do. So, take care to be appreciative if you decide to dig into this topic with them.

The Likely Outcome. Yet, this can result in long, technical, and static documents. Content may be heavy on speeds and feeds and innocent use of internal jargon—all of which might confuse business users. Basic marketing know-how such as creating simple, consumable, and digital content may be missing. 

For example, is your notice about expensive customer fees buried in 8-point font, in the middle of paragraph 7, on page 9 of a 20-page document that hasn’t been updated since 2015? You’re better off flagging it during customer orientation, and visually alerting customers in your materials. It’ll help customers avoid the cost and hassle. In the process you’ll build trust and eliminate avoidable service issues.

Furthermore, steps in the process may be informal and inconsistent. This is especially true if you’re relying on manual effort and many handoffs to onboard a customer.

Aim Higher. It’s time to use modern content marketing techniques and digital tools to create an intentionally memorable onboarding experience.

Focus on your key customer champion and all intended users of the solution. Your champion will feel like rock star for having bought your solution because (1) you ramp them to value quickly, and (2) help them drive user adoption. You’ll further turbocharge the experience if you bake onboarding into the product. 


5 Elements of a Great Onboarding Experience

Here are the key elements of a memorable onboarding experience. Yep – it’s a blend of integrated marketing and content marketing. That makes it easy to use your current marketing team to support this key area of CX. I find that product marketers are best suited to leading the effort. Marketing communications and content marketers are the right pros to use in creating the assets.

  • Welcome onboarding email
    • Keep it simple and short
    • Send it from your marketing automation system so you can track engagement
    • Make sure it gets through SPAM filters and can pass cybersecurity best practices
  • Orientation call
    • Introduce the team and key contacts
    • Establish what to expect in the first 90 days of the purchase
    • Provide information on delivery and installation details
    • Cover key product information
    • Explain how to ask for support and log tickets
  • Digital onboarding kit
    • Welcome video
    • Digital demo or overview video of the product they’ve just bought
    • Video walk-through of your customer portal
    • Information on customer self-service tools
    • Links and information on how to log a service request
    • Customer checklist on actions they need to take and what they should expect from you
  • Key milestones
    • What to expect in the first 90 days
    • What to expect in the first year: key customer milestones, customer events, and training opportunities
  • Physical welcome kit (optional)
    • Branded “sticker” with toll-free service number and website
    • Creative welcome gift—e.g. a coffee mug, laptop camera blocker, or other item likely to be used and visible in your customer’s office
    • [Optional] Professionally produced onboarding guide (a printed version of key digital onboarding kit items)

As you can see, this is just good marketing and account management craft. It’s got a few digital and content marketing upgrades compared to the norm. It makes use of personalized, technology-aided coordination. And, it’s easily doable in 2018.


High energy, inspired B2B Marketer. Lessons learned largely in high tech and communications industries where I've worked with very smart folks, on very cool things, in very dynamic environments. I like helping others navigate people, tech, programs, and problems with vision, courage, and impact. All opinions are solely my own.

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