Ironclad rules for building a successful onboarding process

A man walks into a sports bar in a mall. A young man in a branded training suit greets him with a pleasant smile. He gives the first man some time to absorb the energy of the store and to check out the inventory. He offers him a glass of cold water, and checks to see if the man is up to date on the hot deals that have just gone live. The man asks for running shoes. The courteous clerk inquires as to the man’s requirements, personal taste and budget for this purchase. The man cooperates and answers all the questions, because he feels that someone is listening to him.

This one-off sale is not the point here, he tells himself, they want me as a repeat client. The young clerk offers him to join the consumer club, telling him about the advantages. After that, the sales process starts. The clerk demonstrates in-depth knowledge, personal experience and familiarity with the range of models that exist in the market. The man is impressed (again), and leaves with his chosen shoes, and a matching running shirt.

This scenario is familiar to almost everyone, and the good news is that it’s not just happening in stores. In the world of digital marketing, this is called “onboarding”, a term taken from HR lingo. Its goal: to make new employees’ joining process as pleasant as possible, and to create a good experience for them with all the interfaces of their day-to-day work. Just like the scenario above, digital onboarding process is extremely important for any sales website, seeking to create a good purchasing experience for its new clients.

An optimal onboarding process is fully automated, cross-organizational and touches all departments and interfaces related to the sale. Strengthening relationship with new clients must be attentive, inclusive and service-oriented, in order to accompany the clients through their first purchase, rendering sales and service personnel unnecessary, as clients convert from new clients to returning clients. What else should you know in order to produce a successful digital onboarding process? Here are some of our ideas.

1. Set a timeline

The process of building the onboarding must adhere to a realistic, predetermined timeline. The moment a new client makes a purchase or registers for a service –the signal is given to start the automatic process that includes a complete set of texts, emails and messages, through all possible channels, in order to accompany the new client. Good onboarding processes are carried out for a period of at least a month, and by the end of it it’s possible to identify clients who made another purchase or showed some involvement in the brand’s content worlds.

2. Don’t be aggressive

Just as the young clerk anticipated the needs of the man in the sports store, so the onboarding process must take into account every aspect and dilemma in the life cycle of the new clients. Therefore, if you think about intending this process for the purpose of aggressive sale – you are gravely wrong. The goal is to share knowledge, prove responsibility, demonstrate leadership and present your positive reputation before you even attempt to ask the clients’ to get their credit card a second or third time.

The goal is to share knowledge, prove responsibility (PEXEL)

3. Work to increase involvement

The biggest purpose of the onboarding process is to generate an active involvement and reactivity from clients, inside the brand’s content worlds. Even if there was no sale at the initial stage, it’s important to create involvement, since it represents the intent to get to know the client, learn about them and get closer to a sale. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to allow the client a direct and quick access to the organization’s service and support channels, at any point, to build the process based on the client’s behavior; and to add triggers and conditions, so that a client who showed high involvement will be exposed to other messages – more converting – than dormant clients.

4. Speak personally

Clients are well aware that online stores collect information about their purchasing habits, and yes, they expect to receive a personalized experience. Deals, coupons and guides will work better if they are personalize and not categorized – and no, we don’t mean adding a name on the newsletter – but a real personal segmentation. If you already collected data about your clients, it’s recommended to use it wisely.

5. Speak in all channels, but in one language

Multi-channel marketing has many advantages, one of which is maintaining continuous communication with clients. After all, clients receive dozens of messages every day, so in order to stand out it’s necessary to use one, consistent language. That way, it’s possible to establish a regular, long-term dialogue, and provide a personal experience, at the right pace, for each client.

6. Teach, guide, explain

New clients need teaching and guiding. This assumption must lead the logic behind the order of messages in the onboarding process. A client who opened an account in a certain system and did not use it in the first 90 days – will never use it. Therefore, just after an account is open, it’s recommended to send a reminder, to accompany them and to strive to activate the account, as often as possible. Send tips about the system, practical tools and regular trainings, which will put the client in the loop, with determination and sensitivity.