So, you have a new startup ready and daring to go. Of course, you will face various challenges such as competition, money, getting new talent and growth, but the biggest challenge that is not given due importance by many start-ups is customer Onboarding. Yes, making Onboarding process smooth for your customers needs a lot of attention and efforts from your end to succeed in your start up.
“You ‘the business owner’ are not the hero. Your product or service did not make the customer successful. Your customer makes their own success. By accepting that, you put the customer first.” – Brian Gladstein, CEO, and Co-founder at Explorics
Onboarding basically means getting an online user sign up and get involved with what you are doing. Similarly, customer Onboarding is making customers sign-up and use your services. Getting a customer onboard can be as easy as a free trial, but keeping one onboard is a different kettle of fish altogether. In fact, it can easily pull down your fledgling startup if not handled properly. Fortunately, customer Onboarding for a new startup isn’t as difficult as it may sound. By following a few uncomplicated techniques, you can ensure that your customers does not only want to sign up but stay onboard as well. Here’s how:
- Simple Sign-up
Make the sign-up process as simple as possible. There will, of course, be customer information that needs to be captured keeping in mind the services offered by you, but then also the process shouldn’t be made complicated. Ensure that your customers have to go through as few steps as possible while signing up. Remember that most people don’t have the patience to fill out page after page of information. Determine exactly what you need from your customers and ask them for only that information. Avoid cluttering up the sign-up process with extraneous information. The best option to make the process smoother is to add a single sign-up wherein the customers can sign-up using Twitter, Facebook or any other social media account. A great example of this is Quora, which allows potential users to complete sign-up using Twitter, Facebook or Google+.
- Continue the Simple
A simple sign-up loses its appeal if the rest of the website makes the user pull his/her hair. Links that don’t work, pages that load slowly, a broken URL or simply a website that’s just too difficult to navigate will lead to churn or non-renewals or customers going away after signing up. All tips and tricks are useless if the customer experience is less than stellar. Many new startups lose sight of this and end up losing customers immediately after sign-up.
“You can focus on adoption, retention, expansion, or advocacy; or you can focus on the customers’ Desired Outcome and get all of those things.”- Lincoln Murphy of sixteenventures.com..
- How to…
Many new companies leave their customers alone to explore for themselves without providing any guidance. Doing that can be a death knell as far as retaining your customer is concerned. It can also work against you when it comes to word-of-mouth and will discourage new customers from signing up. Some of the most successful companies offer video tutorials on their sites to ensure that a customer clearly understands how to use the product. WordPress offers short videos or screenshots for most Plugins to meet the expectations of the customers and make the process a cake walk for them. If yours is a website that needs the customer to navigate through to experience the service, do what Tumblr does. Take them on a tutorial with instructions for each step. Pinterest goes a step further and has the entire tutorial saved in the help section.
- Make It About Them
You’ve probably heard this about a million times now, but personalizing the experience for the customer before, during and after contributes not only in customer Onboarding but also helps in customer retention. If your customers sign-up using a social network, you can utilize the information available on the site to present them with options customized to them including their pursuits and interests.
Customers who create a unique ID to access the site can also have a wonderful experience if you take the time to design content that takes into account their preferences. Not only this, an act as simple as sending an email to your customers using their names can reap benefits for you. Rob Rawson of Time Doctor mentions in his emails that he is a real person and the founder of Time Doctor – a tip that definitely makes his emails easier to relate to.
- Change Your Tactics
Depending upon who you’re interacting with, change your method of interaction. Some might prefer to be contacted via Twitter, while others may like interacting with you on Facebook. There may be many who would love to follow you on Instagram, while others might want the benefits of a live interaction on Snapchat. Don’t try one fit for all, but use tactics to personalize the experience of your customers. One marketing platform to rule over all may become the primary reason for your downfall.
Customer Onboarding is an ongoing process and it isn’t only about bringing a customer onboard, but also keeping them onboard. A single technique can’t work for everyone so, you need to focus on the preferences of your customers and figure out what suits them the best to ensure your own success as a new start up.