COVID-19 has altered how buyers and sellers interact. The changes in customer behavior, in the wake of the pandemic, show accelerating digital adoption, and increased vendor expectations. 

Mckinsey recently published the results of a survey of 3,600 B2B decision-makers worldwide. The survey explored how buying behaviors have changed in 2020. Highlights from their findings are that customers are twice as likely to prefer a digital interaction than an in-person one and they want digital self-service tools.

In the 2020 LinkedIn Sales Report, 55% of respondents anticipate a decrease in the pipeline, and 44% of respondents expect a decrease in responsiveness to outreach.

These two big shifts—consumers’ adoption of digital and slower sales for some companies—have made customer onboarding a vital part of a successful business. 

Customer Onboarding Is a Strategic Initiative

In a world where selling is becoming increasingly difficult, once a new client is acquired, companies must do everything they can to keep that client. We all know that customer retention is important, but today it is more important than ever before. 

What’s more, customer experience is directly tied to customer retention. A client who rates as having the poorest experience has a 43% chance of being a client a year later. A client who gives one of the top two experience scores has a 74% chance of remaining a client for at least another year.

In the wake of the ongoing pandemic, customer onboarding has become a key revenue strategy for many businesses. But, it takes planning and diligence to adopt and enable an effective onboarding process that will support customer retention, satisfaction, and business growth. 

What makes a great onboarding experience?

A successful onboarding operation has very specific characteristics and stages. Consider these characteristics and determine how our recommended stages fit into your customer’s lifecycle to ensure that you have or will build an effective onboarding strategy.

The Three Characteristics of a Great Onboarding Experience

The first three months are critical
According to the Marketing Sciences Institute, the first 90 to 120 days of a client relationship is the most tenuous period of a new client experience. If the onboarding process is performed properly, a strong relationship will be established to serve as the foundation for future business growth.

Frequent, personalized, and multichannel communication are key
Simply put, the more you communicate with your new clients in the early stages of your relationship, the better. And, it seems that clients prefer a variety of methods of communication. Just sending a series of emails isn’t going to cut it. You must leverage virtual meetings, phone calls, emails, onboarding tools, etc. to truly connect. As the McKinsey survey emphasizes, personalized, omnichannel communication is key. 

Great work done upfront, will pay dividends later
First impressions will make or break a customer relationship. Preparation and professionalism are a must for the initial stages of customer onboarding.

The Five Stages of Onboarding

In one of our recent articles, we discuss the five stages of onboarding. Here are the five stages to consider.

If your company can effectively incorporate the key characteristics and required stages into your customer’s onboarding experience, you will be in a great position to increase customer retention, satisfaction, and contribute directly to business growth. 

Curious about what not to do when onboarding a new customer? Download The Three Biggest Mistakes in Customer Onboarding and How to Avoid Them.

 

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