What is customer onboarding?

Customer onboarding relates to all activities involved in introducing a new customer to your company/product/service.

Other than randomly throwing information at your newly acquired customers, customer onboarding refers to the process of gradually and effectively showing the customer everything you have to offer. 

It’s about teaching him/her how to make the best out of your product/service. Onboarding new customers involves listening to your customer’s questions and concerns and answering them. It’s about making their experience as smooth as possible.

If you fail to do so you’ll be leaving your customers with a negative impression.

That’s one of the main reasons why customers will leave and never come back.

Some of our internal studies here at Pipefy have shown that user that were properly onboarded have a much higher activation rate. Over the past weeks, we’ve made a few changes to our in-app onboarding process. Those changes made our activation rate nearly double. Doubled. In a few weeks. That’s how important customer onboarding is.

Our goal in our onboarding process is to show our users the value the platform has to offer them. We introduce them to Pipefy and then show them all the available features. Our focus is to make the user’s experience as simple and seamless as possible.

When does customer onboarding begin?

At the moment the sale is complete would be the best answer. Many people think that the sales process ends when the customer signs on the dotted line. That’s not true, though. Your job is only halfway done.

Some companies have separate teams for dealing with the selling part (the sales team) and the onboarding/support part (normally, customer success teams). Either way, having money on the bank doesn’t mean the sale is done.

Whether the sales team handles the onboarding themselves or pass them on to the customer success team, the moment the sale is completed is the end to a part of the process (sale) and the beginning of the next one (customer onboarding).

Selling your product/service is only half of the job because the sale would be meaningless if you failed to deliver what you offered and/or didn’t provide instructions and support.

The whole concept of onboarding revolves around bringing the customer “on board”. It’s more than just providing all the information he/she needs to properly experience your product/service, it’s about understanding them and their needs.

Why is customer onboarding so important?

Let me ask you a question: how important it is to you to keep your customers happy (and coming back for more)? That’s just how important a successful customer onboarding is.

The customer onboarding process is all about delivering the customer what he/she purchased within the agreed upon conditions. Basically, it means following through with what you offered and the customer agreed to.

It seems rather obvious, not many companies seem to think so. That’s why so many customers are willing to pay more to a company that serves them well.

That shouldn’t be the exception, it should be the rule.

Properly handling your customer onboarding will result in happy customers, we’ve established that. That’s not all you get from properly onboarding your customers, though. There are a few other benefits, such as:

  • Your customers will come back for more: Happy customers are a lot more prone to buying from you again and becoming repeat customers than unhappy ones. Repeat customers are a very valuable asset to your business. It costs (a lot) more to acquire a new customer than to maintain one you already have, that’s why repeat customers are so important. They drive up your retention rates and, consequently, bring more revenue in;
  • Your customers will tell their friends about you: Have you ever heard of word-of-mouth marketing? That happens when your satisfied customers recommend yourself to their network. I can’t even begin to express how valuable this is. For once, it’s free marketing. Also, people are a lot more likely to believe what they hear about your company from other customers than if you are doing the talking yourself;
  • Your company will make more money: This is actually a consequence of the aforementioned benefits. By keeping your customers coming back, you’ll be making more money without all the effort involved in making a sale.

What you should get from it is that the sale isn’t over at the moment the customer pays for your product/service. That’s more to it and, worrying about properly onboarding customers is the key to happier customers that keep coming back and referring you to their network.

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Written by Isabelle Salemme, Product content manager at Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to write informative pieces teaching users to make the best of Pipefy. Besides being responsible for all product-related content, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover and a professional photographer.