No matter what type of business you’re in, the cost of finding a new customer is higher than the cost of keeping a current customer. It is somewhere between five to 25 times more costly to gain a new customer than just to keep the one you have. With statistics like that, it is easy to figure out that improving your retention rate will increase your profits.
Once you’ve gained the attention of a new customer, making their experience as positive as possible will help develop their loyalty. One way to make life easier for your new customer is to offer onboarding via your website. This allows you to collect the information needed so that the customer isn’t bogged down in paperwork, and you can both hit the ground running.
1. Introductory Video
Learning all the new features of a service you’re purchasing isn’t easy, but you can make it easier for your customers by offering a video or video series. This can be particularly useful for SaaS (Software as a Service) companies. An introductory video allows the new user to feel comfortable manoeuvring within your platform. It can also reduce the time the business itself has to spend educating new customers on how the software works. You make the video once and utilize it over and over again.
Asana offers a simple sign-up process to make things as easy as possible for new customers. The user starts by providing and confirming an email address. The opening screen offers a welcome message and a video to help familiarize the customer with their system. This type of intuitive process helps customers feel at ease with something new and unfamiliar.
2. Map out the Process
Show users what steps they need to take to complete the task at hand. When people know their destination, the process becomes easier. This is called the endowed progress effect, which simply states that if a user knows where they are in the process of finishing a task, they will be more motivated to finish each step along the way. The user needs to see that they are advancing toward a specific goal. The user should know the number of steps and which step they are on at any given time.
Take a look at how Etsy helps new shopkeepers walk through the steps needed to set up a new store. Across the top of the screen, Etsy shows five specific steps you’ll go through and highlights where you are in the process. This is a simple way to map, but it motivates the user to keep moving and accomplish each step.
3. Filling out Forms
If you work in an industry where new customers have to fill out a lot of forms, offering some of these forms ahead of time can reduce the stress of all that writing and the headache of having to arrive half an hour early for an appointment. While you might not be able to have every single form filled out digitally, the more you can offer, the more positive the customer’s experience will be during their first visit.
The Orthopaedic Institute of Pennsylvania does a good job of preparing patients for their first visit. They offer a list of items the patient needs to bring along to the appointment. There are also packets of forms the patient can download, print and fill out ahead of time, making the entire process easy and efficient.
One thing that can take up a lot of time both for the business and for the new customer is the constant back and forth of setting a time for the first meeting or appointment. It is frustrating for everyone — and inevitably, once a time is decided, something goes wrong, and the appointment needs to be changed. Offering the ability to look at what appointments are available and letting the client schedule an appointment online saves time and frustration for everyone.
Take It Off is a laser tattoo removal company. They offer the ability to schedule your appointment online for either a free consultation or a follow-up appointment. This allows the user to see what appointments are available and choose a day and time that works for both the customer and the business. This type of scheduling setup works well for any business that offers appointments, including hair and nail salons.
5. Confirm Everything
One important aspect of onboarding online is confirming that forms, appointments and other information has been received. Otherwise, the customer has no idea if you actually got the information, and they may get frustrated. On the website, a confirmation message should notify the user that the items have been received. However, you should also follow-up with an automated email confirming an appointment, a form’s completion, etc.
A confirmation offers a level of trust and certainty for the customer. Keep in mind that a new customer has not worked with you before and doesn’t know if they can trust you. Confirmations show that you are acknowledging you’ve received the information, and it gives the customer a level of trust.
6. Intro Packet
Once a customer chooses to work with you in some way, immediately offer a downloadable intro packet. This packet should include information such as the process the client will encounter as they with you, an overview of the project and what the steps are to complete it, a basic timeline, policies and what you need from the client.
A strong intro packet should have general policies and ideas, but it should also be customized to each customer. It can even include a questionnaire to ensure you are meeting the exact needs of each specific customer.
Onboarding Saves Time
Taking the time to screen and prepare your customers helps your business look more professional, and it saves you and your new customer time. You might need to create some basic forms and packets initially, but then you will simply adjust them for individual customers.
The onboarding process allows a potential customer to see the level of your organization and what you have to offer. This means the customers who do complete the process are highly targeted and extremely interested in your products or services.