Onboarding and its Critical Timing

Onboarding and its Critical Timing

You've done the hard work of winning a new customer, but it's what you do in the onboarding process that will determine if the customer sticks around.

The Onboarding Window: The First 90 Days

In terms of onboarding, the first 90 days are critical.  Research has shown that customers who start using your product in the first 90 days have a lifetime value of up to 300 percent greater in some cases than those who are not effective users in this honeymoon period.

One company that learned this lesson in the trenches was Constant Contact, a marketing provider that sold software for email campaigns.  They were finding that their onboarding process was causing issues.

Once customers first signed up, they were asked to upload their email database. This required uploading a customer list–which is the trickiest part of the process. To upload, the customer was required to leave Constant Contact’s site and often struggled with how to export a contact list–often from a jury-rigged database kept in Excel or Outlook. The process was awkward, and many new customers stopped using Constant Contact because they hit a barrier and became annoyed before they had a chance to use and get hooked on the Constant Contact software.

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The New Onboarding Process

Wanting to stem new customer churn, Constant Contact changed its onboarding to focus first on the what. Immediately after signing up, new users were encouraged to create their first email campaign.

Suddenly customers saw their campaign come to life in front of their eyes. Constant Contact offered customers a library of stock images that looked more beautiful than anything a business owner had used in the past. Customers could see firsthand how professional their company was going to look.

After the customer had completed the What stage and earned the emotional reward of seeing its first campaign come to life, Constant Contact switched to the Who part of creating a campaign. The difference was, by this point, Constant Contact had enough relationship equity with the customer to get it over the hump of uploading its database.

This minor reordering of the onboarding flow led to a dramatic reduction in customer churn–which is the death knell of any subscription business.

Whether you’re in a subscription business or still using a transaction business model, how you onboard a customer in the first 90 days will go a long way in determining their overall satisfaction. To benchmark your customer satisfaction against world-class brands, get your Value Builder Score now at Sophiall.

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