Onboarding a new customer can be as nerve-wracking as a first date. The amount of planning, second-guessing, and working hard to impress are surprisingly similar. In both cases, making the right first impression is key, but continuing with the right strategy is what will take you from a single meeting to a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.
When it comes to onboarding, the preparation you put into it can change the course of your customer relationship. Your goal should be for every customer to know exactly what they’re signing up for, outlining what they can expect, and what your service agreement does (or doesn’t) cover.
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Because your customers’ unique needs make it tough to define a single onboarding process, I’ll start by sharing onboarding DON’TS to keep you on the right track.
1. Don’t Fall Short
Your service level agreements (SLAs) are your promise, and they shape your professional reputation. If you’re overpromising your work, word travels fast that you’re the company to avoid. Taking on more than you can handle, or not meeting your agreements, will cost you new and current customers. Make it a priority to keep your SLAs at the heart of everything you do.
2. Don’t Forget to Check In
When you’re bringing on a new customer, they’ll need a heavy time investment. Establishing yourself as a trusted partner in their business means having answers to all of their questions. By returning phone calls and emails as fast as possible—especially in this early period of the relationship—you will keep your customers happy and let them know that you’re dedicated to their ultimate success.
3. Don’t Ignore Goal Setting
Continuing to grow your business depends on having specific, measurable goals. By setting distinct milestones to measure progress toward your business performance, you’ll be able to give your customers and your leadership team a clear picture of just how well you’re doing. Track metrics like customer satisfaction and response time to help keep every onboarding process as successful as the first one.
4. Don’t Treat Customers Like Numbers
The personal touch is still what makes or breaks a business. Make sure your customers know that you care about more than the checks they sign. Treat them like individuals, and remember to address their specific business concerns. Through the data you’re collecting, you can create personalized messaging and individualized interactions that keep your customers feeling connected and cared for.
5. Don’t Make Assumptions About Your Customers
Don’t forget to keep customer connections going throughout the onboarding process, and include individual user experiences beyond the leadership level. Engage with your customers on a regular basis to collect invaluable insights into customer satisfaction and where you might have room for growth.
6. Don’t Downplay Your Value
During onboarding, your customers are still getting to know you. Establish trust by continuously reinforcing the value you bring to their business. Keep your pricing clear and simple, and regularly communicate the services you’re providing. When customers are crystal clear about what they’re paying for and how it’s helping them thrive, contract renewal will be a breeze.
While no two onboarding strategy are the same, the common thread that brings successful onboarding processes together is a commitment to creating customer delight. The onboarding process and experience of a customer will set the stage for how that customer will perceive the future of your business partnership.
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