Client onboarding is a process that involves welcoming new clients into your product, answering their questions, and ensuring they understand how to get value from your product.
It’s usually the responsibility of Customer Success Managers for high-touch ”white glove” client onboarding and may be automated for lower-ACV customers e.g. in SaaS. Either way, it’s the time when your company establishes the relationship with your new client/customer, so it’s critical to get things right.
New clients might feel stressed or overwhelmed, wondering about the amount of time it will take them to truly understand and get value from your product. On top of that, also get buyer’s remorse – thinking whether they made the right choice and that you’re worth their time and money.
On the flip side, your customer success team doesn’t know what the cooperation with the new client will be like, what are the client’s goals, and if it will be realistically possible to meet their expectations.
Let’s dive deeper into why client onboarding is important, and how to get it right!
Why is Client Onboarding important?
The client onboarding phase is like the first date you may have with a new “romantic interest” – it’s a make-or-break few hours that determine if the next date is going to happen.
Likewise, client onboarding may not last long, but it sets the stage for your whole relationship with that client:
Here’s why it’s so critical:
- The onboarding stage is a deciding factor for a lot of your clients whether to continue business with your company or not. According to Hubspot, 63% of customers consider the onboarding process when making a purchase.
- And no wonder – as the first interactions with your team, and whether there’s a lot of friction in the onboarding process or not – determine how your client perceives your company’s service level.
- Based on that, they would probably recommend your product/service to their friends or…not. So client onboarding also affects your Word of Mouth (WOM)
- This means that a bad client onboarding experience will likely leave you with poor reviews. And reviews on review sites like G2 or Capterra are an important deciding factor for most prospects considering your tool.
- Last but not least – the client onboarding phase affects the churn likelihood of your client. If the goals are not set right in the onboarding phase, the expectations are not managed, and your client does not feel like they are reaching success – they will be more likely to feel disappointed in your product and churn.
Do you need tools for Client Onboarding?
Wondering why you even need a client onboarding tool? There are several reasons why you may need one:
Let’s face it: you can’t provide a premium onboarding service to every client by hand, especially if you’re growing rapidly, and you’re selling to several client sectors.
And yet – considering what we discussed in the ‘importance of client onboarding’ – you really cannot afford to drop the ball on your ‘smaller’ users. So what can you do? To conduct new client onboarding well and reduce friction for your new clients, you need the right onboarding tools that allow you to personalize and automate the process.
Here’s what the right new client onboarding tool will allow you to do:
- Provide personalized onboarding flows that will be self-serve – will reduce the time your CSMs will need to spend with your clients explaining every feature of your product.
- Segment your users by company size, role, use case, and Job-to-be-done – to make sure you can deliver the right onboarding experiences to the right person, at the right time.
- Easily conduct surveys to understand your users’ goals, motivations, expectations, JTBDs, and desired outcomes.
- Track user journeys with simple user analytics and react to any problems as they arise.
- Provide self-serve support materials right inside your product, in a resource hub.
Your new client onboarding tools will allow you to do all the above asynchronously, without having to deploy an army of CSMs on every single client.
What are the best tools for Client Onboarding?
Hopefully, you now understand that you need a new client onboarding tool. Now – which one is the best?
- Userpilot: best client onboarding tool for self-serve user onboarding, segmentation, and simple analytics
- Appcues: best tool for new client onboarding with easy-to-use templates
- Userguiding: best client onboarding tool for product adoption for small startups on a budget
- Chameleon: best growth tool for customer feedback and sentiment analysis
- Pendo: the product growth tool with the best user analytics
Let’s dive deeper into how each stacks up for different company sizes, budgets, and jobs to be done!
What are the must have features of Client Onboarding tools?
Before picking your client onboarding tool, you should check if it has most of the must-have features of a good onboarding tool.
Here’s what to look for before picking your client onboarding solution:
- Great segmentation capabilities – so you can segment your new clients by size, job to be done, role, use case, etc. – but also by in-app behavior.
- Ability to create no-code microsurveys – so you can easily collect additional information about your new clients that will help you customize their onboarding flows and experience.
- Features for creating no-code in-app experiences for onboarding: onboarding flows, checklists, tooltips, and modals.
- The option to create in-app Resource Centers for your new clients with multimedia content hubs – including help docs, knowledge base articles, video tutorials, as well onboarding flows. The knowledge hub should be available in-app and searchable by KWs.
- User analytics to monitor new client behavior inside your product, and catch customers that are failing to achieve their goals early – to offer them more personalized “human” support.