LOS ANGELES, Calif. – (April 18th, 2023) – Customer onboarding is a key factor for driving satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. However, over 90% of customers feel that companies ‘could do better’ when it comes to onboarding new users, showing that optimizing this process still presents a challenge, especially in B2B.
"Many companies struggle with onboarding customers because processes are difficult to follow or require too much manual intervention,” said Marco Leo, VP of Product Delivery at Liferay. “A well-designed digital onboarding process can help customers understand and start using a product or service quickly so that they can get to value faster.” Liferay develops a cloud-powered digital experience platform (DXP) used by organizations worldwide to build customer portals, websites, and integration platforms.
The average onboarding process for a new corporate client can take up to 100 days, so companies have a long way to go to effectively streamline this part of the customer journey. Liferay experts, who have been supporting organizations using digital solutions to manage customer experience for over 15 years, recently shared five common traits of successful B2B customer onboarding experiences:
- 1. Customers Can Get Started Easily
- 2. The Onboarding Experience Is Personalized
- 3. Users Are Encouraged to Complete the Onboarding Process
- Sending automatic welcome and follow-up emails to keep communication flowing and to celebrate each completed step.
- Using auto-triggered notifications to remind users of the next steps they need to take.
- Including visual step-by-step guides to help users see onboarding as a map with a final destination.
- Adding game-like elements to celebrate achievements and encourage users to get to the end of the process.
- 4. Documentation Is Offered throughout the Whole Process
- 5. Support Is Available Right from the Start
The best digital onboarding solutions make it as easy as possible to set up an account and use a product or service for the first time, ideally without needing to contact an account manager. This means simplifying the sign-up process by removing unnecessary steps and automating things like approvals and user validation. It also means providing clear instructions so that users can complete registration steps on their own, including setting up their own profile and personal preferences.
In B2B, customers comprise multiple users with differing roles—each with unique needs, interests, and experience levels. Successful onboarding processes are the ones that provide a personalized journey designed to meet everyone’s specific needs and goals.
This could mean designing a fully automated self-service journey that steps a customer through a completely online process. Or it could mean incorporating both online and offline interactions (such as meeting with a customer success manager or scheduling a training session).
A common challenge in B2B is getting users to complete their onboarding journey. The first step for increasing completion rates is using monitoring features to get insight into user behavior. This can help identify and resolve possible hurdles to make it as seamless as possible for users to succeed. Complementary successful strategies include:
Successful onboarding experiences are the ones that recognize the importance of documentation, making it available in all steps of the process. Providing comprehensive installation guides, checklists, tutorials, and manuals can help users understand how to leverage a product or service and troubleshoot issues to avoid frustration.
In addition, content must be easy to find—so another common trait of the best onboarding experiences is personalizing the experience so that it only shows users the resources relevant to their purchase. If customers still need more information, a searchable knowledge base can also be provided, allowing users to find what they need quickly.
The best onboarding experiences are the ones that provide different ways for users to reach out for help, no matter where they are in their onboarding journey. Forums, chatbots, FAQs, and live chats with customer service are some of the features that help users get the support they need. And making all these tools available in one place through self-service empowers users to get help at any time.
Since onboarding remains a challenge in B2B, companies who get it right stand to gain a competitive advantage by getting their customers to value faster. "You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Customer onboarding is a critical process that enables newly-acquired customers to understand the value of a product or service quickly. This can help organizations improve their customer retention rates and positively influence customer lifetime value over time," commented Marco Leo.