A recent study by Accenture found that over 90 percent of companies today have some kind of customer loyalty programs in place. Yet, over 71% of customers surveyed by the researchers said that these programs do not really engender loyalty.
One of the primary reasons for this wavering loyalty is that although investments in such programs have increased, businesses have not kept pace with understanding their customer’s responsiveness to these initiatives. In fact, in nearly a quarter of the cases, these loyalty programs were found to elicit a negative or non-existent reaction, thus hurting customer relationships.
Reward points and loyalty certificates are no longer adequate to sustain business relationships. From a customer’s perspective, the learning curve required to use a new product or service efficiently is often the biggest deterrent. Effective onboarding strategies can help with customer acquisition and improve customer experience. This, in turn, serves as a deterrent to them switching to another brand.
Signing up a new customer is not the end of a sales journey. For effective retention, these customers need to be trained to use your product or service efficiently. There are several ways this is done.
B2B organizations focus on classroom-style training sessions that often last days or weeks. Consumer product manufacturers include manuals and tech-specs handbooks for new users to read and get acquainted with their new purchase.
But according to Nikos Andriotis, an eLearning specialist at TalentLMS, the most effective way to onboard new customers is through bite-sized learning techniques. He points out that human beings can only concentrate on novel information for short spans of time. After this, their concentration wanes away significantly.
By breaking down the onboarding lessons into short and quick sessions, customers tend to retain a lot more of their onboarding sessions and are thus more adept at using your product or service.
To improve onboarding effectiveness, businesses may look at breaking down their sessions into small chunks. A B2B organization may invest in daily newsletters that train its customers to perform one activity each day. Alternately, businesses may also invest in activity-based learning. Letting customers actively engage helps with better retention and thus improved onboarding.
A one-on-one session with customers is not practical for businesses that sign up hundreds or thousands of customers each day. This is especially true in the case of mobile apps and website based businesses.
A popular way to onboard such customers is through coach marks. Coach marks are essentially graphical overlays that highlight the various buttons and sections of your website. A new visitor to your site is thus taken to their account with coach marks turned on by default. This helps a customer understand how to do the things they want to use the platform.
Onboarding a new customer can consume a lot of time and resources. Small business owners and consultant may find this challenging since this restricts them from scaling their business.
For instance, a wealth consultant may need to spend a considerable amount of time with each of their new clients explaining their investing methodology and about the various investment categories in general. This is important to building credibility and ensures that customers are more patient with your strategies.
Such consultants may look at onboarding with the help of online courses. These tools allow the consultant to deliver top-notch initial consultation to all of their customers. This can be followed by a focused one-on-one session where the clients’ unique needs can be addressed.
Also, depending on your industry, your onboarding may need you to train your customer on industry-related topics.
The above customer onboarding techniques serve one very specific purpose – to make the customer understand your product or service better. The end-goal here is to improve your customer’s experience with the process. Although the quality of your product or service eventually determines your success in business, it is worth pointing out that customers are more than willing to provide your business with the leeway to improve as long as the switching costs are high.
With onboarding, customers tend to get comfortable with your product and this is one of the most powerful ways to build long-term loyalty.
How have you implemented onboarding in your business? Let us know in the comments.