Five Steps to Create the Onboarding Strategy Of Your Customers’ Dreams
Knowing the steps to craft a compelling onboarding strategy is key to seeing actionable results from your onboarding.

Part of our mini-series on onboarding success. Look out for our previous article: "The Onboarding Advantage: How To Create Customer Loyalty From Day Zero".

It's clear from our previous article that efficient onboarding can literally create value for your company and your clients and save money long-term. However, knowing the steps to craft a compelling onboarding strategy is key to translating this understanding into actionable results.

An effective onboarding strategy not only aligns with your business goals but also resonates with the diverse needs of your customer base, setting the stage for a fruitful relationship. In this follow-up, we examine 5 practical steps you can take to create an onboarding strategy that captivates and retains customers from their very first interaction.

But let's first define the difference between creating an onboarding process and creating an onboarding strategy. An onboarding strategy is a comprehensive plan outlining the goals, methods, and desired outcomes for introducing new customers to your product or service, focusing on long-term engagement and retention. In contrast, an onboarding process refers to the specific, actionable steps and activities taken to implement that strategy, such as welcome emails, tutorials, and follow-up communications.

Essentially, the onboarding strategy sets the vision and objectives of onboarding, while the onboarding process details the execution. Check out the graphic below for a useful comparison:

As you can see, an onboarding strategy sets the vision and framework of onboarding, while the onboarding process focuses on executing the detailed, day-to-day activities involved in onboarding a client.

The Breakdown: 5 Easy Steps to a Winning Onboarding Strategy

So how exactly do we set this vision and framework for the onboarding process? Now that we've clarified what an onboarding strategy is, here are 5 easy steps that will help create a winning onboarding strategy.

Step 1: Define Clear Objectives

    Start by defining what you want to achieve with your onboarding process. This could be enhancing product understanding, accelerating time to first value, or improving customer satisfaction. Clear objectives are the foundation of your onboarding strategy; guiding the structure and content of your onboarding program.

    Step 2: Respect the Journey, Segment Your Customers

      Not All Customers Are The Same.

      We'll say it again for the folks in the back: not all customers are the same. They are unique people. If they are companies, they are companies comprised of unique people with unique experiences. Even if your clients are identical franchisees of a single business, they are all individually experiencing their own unique moment in time.

      Your customers are unique and deserve to be treated as such. If your business is not the type of business where each client's onboarding experience can be custom-tailored, then segment your clients based on their needs, behaviors, and characteristics, just as you have (hopefully) done within your marketing plan. This allows you to create an onboarding experience that will not only cater to, but respect different types of users, such as novices vs. advanced users.

      The needs and use cases of every segment of your customers are likely totally different. Let's say you've developed an Ai tool that assists with creating interactive presentations. The needs of your 3 likely user segments: educators, businespeople, and churches, are likely totally different and should be respected as such. Create an onboarding process that acknowledges these differences; if you don't, your competitors definitely will.

      Step 3: Develop Engaging Content and Resources

        Even if you choose not to tailor your content to your unique customer segments, you should absolutely create educational and engaging content that can help customers get the most out of your product or service. This might include basic resources that are often overlooked, such as tutorial videos, step-by-step guides, chatbots and FAQs.

        Your customer's experience should feel like a breeze and an elevation of their previous situation rather than a tough and strenuous mountain climb. While there will likely always be obstacles to adoption of your product or service, ensuring your content is accessible and easy to understand will help reduce early customer frustrations and barriers to usage, therefore reducing churn (customer loss) in the process.

        "You want your customer experience to feel like a breeze and an elevation of their previous situation rather than a tough and strenuous mountain climb."

        Step 4: Implement Feedback Loops

          Incorporate mechanisms to gather feedback throughout the onboarding process. This can be through direct surveys, user activity monitoring, or informal check-ins. Feedback is crucial for understanding how well your onboarding process is working and where it can be improved. Training your representatives to ask a simple question such as "how do you feel about our product and your experience with us so far?" can create mountains of value for your company.

          Step 5: Iterate and Improve Your Strategy Continuously

            Onboarding is not a set-it-and-forget-it process. Regularly review the effectiveness of your onboarding strategy and make adjustments based on customer feedback and changing business goals. Even if you only have the resources to review your strategy annually, continuous improvement will help keep your onboarding process relevant and effective as your product and customer base evolve.

            Each of these steps contributes to a holistic onboarding strategy that not only educates new customers but also builds a foundation for long-term engagement and satisfaction. If you've never given thought to yoru onboarding (or haven't done it recently), then get in the zone and invest into your business' future and do so.

            Want help with onboarding strategy or any other business strategy? Do you want to see your business transform beyond its current limits? MBC is not only your partner in helping you create pathways to success, but we proudly help businesses implement and adapt strategy as well. Get in touch with us to learn more.

            by George, MBC Staff

            Photo Credits:

            Title Photo: Dall-E. Prompt: "You're a professional illustrator. using the modern "business" style of illustration, please create an illustration of businesspeople happily skipping in landscape orientation. Make sure that the skips look like authentic skips."

            Mountain Climber Photo: Stock Image, Courtesy Canva Premium.