First impressions are lasting. That’s one reason why customer onboarding is such a critical part of online customer education. Even when the onboarding process seems straightforward, many customer education teams make plenty of missteps. But with the future of customer relationships at stake, it’s important to minimize unforced errors.
By getting it right, you can kickstart customer engagement, accelerate time-to-value, elevate satisfaction, and reduce the pain of churn. It all starts by relying on education to help customers achieve early success.
HINT: There is no “right” way to do this. But it’s easy to fall into common avoidable traps. What customer onboarding mistakes should you keep in mind? And how can you avoid these pitfalls? Find out in this 6th episode of the Customer Ed Nuggets podcast!
Today’s Guest Expert
There’s a good reason why I’ve invited Eurekos CTO and Founder, Nick Eriksen, to discuss this topic with me. Eurekos is a tier 1 global customer education platform, so Nick has deep first-hand knowledge of what it takes to design and deliver successful customer learning programs. And when it comes to customer onboarding “dos” and “don’ts,” he has seen it all.
The Business Benefits of Effective Customer Onboarding
Implementing customer onboarding at the core of your customer education program can lead to multiple business benefits, including:
- Enhanced Customer Success and Satisfaction — When customers understand how your offering helps fulfill their needs, they’re likely to be happier, less frustrated and more effective at using this product or service.
- Faster Time-to-Value — Onboarding reduces the time it takes for customers to achieve the results they expect from your product or service. This means you’ll more quickly demonstrate ROI.
- Increased Product Adoption — By encouraging customers to explore and use product features they might not have discovered on their own, you can boost engagement and stickiness.
- Stronger Customer Advocacy — Well-educated, successful customers are more likely to promote your brand publicly. This, in turn, attracts new customers.
- Reduced Support Costs — Effective onboarding means customers are less likely to need direct support. This improves overall satisfaction while simultaneously decreasing support costs.
Top 10 Customer Onboarding Mistakes to Avoid
Throughout our careers, Nick and I have seen many organizations fall short of the mark in planning and implementing customer onboarding programs. So it was easy for us to agree on the 10 most common pitfalls. These are the biggest issues we see, starting with the most critical pitfalls:
1. Assuming Prior Knowledge — It’s dangerous to presume new customers already know how to use your product or service for their particular needs. This is a surefire way to frustrate many people.
2. Lack of Customization — Failing to tailor the onboarding process to a customer’s specific needs, goals and level of expertise can result in a generic, boring, ineffective training experience. (And that experience will directly reflect on your product or service.)
3. Poor Communication — Inadequate or generic communication about the onboarding process, expectations, and available resources can unnecessarily expand the onboarding time frame. This typically delays customer time-to-value.
4. Ignoring Customer Feedback — Not seeking continuous customer feedback (or discounting the input you receive) prohibits your ability to improve your offering. Over time, this can put you at a competitive disadvantage.
5. Inadequate Training Materials — No matter what medium you choose, providing poorly designed or outdated instructional content hinders the learning experience and ultimately diminishes customer success.
6. Lack of Interactivity — Want to underwhelm customers from the start? Build onboarding around lecture-style Zoom sessions or videos without opportunities to engage through discussion, practice, use case scenarios or games.
7. Ignoring Learning Preferences — Some people like to read. Others prefer to watch or do. Don’t leave segments of your customers in the cold by designing content that appeals only to one type of learning preference.
8. Unrealistic Timelines — Imposing unrealistic onboarding timelines on customers can add unnecessary pressure. What’s more, it can cause some people to rush through the process, limiting their familiarity and confidence in using your product or service.
9. Neglecting Ongoing Reinforcement — Onboarding doesn’t end when customers complete initial training sessions. Plan to incorporate follow-on spaced repetition to solidify understanding, encourage engagement and drive long-term adoption.
10. Not Partnering with Other Teams — Delivering timely, accurate, effective onboarding requires continuous coordination with product, marketing and support teams throughout product planning, development and release cycles.
These are only a few of the most important customer onboarding issues to address. But by avoiding these common mistakes, you can enhance the customer experience right from the start. It’s worth the investment, so you can drive stronger adoption, improve customer satisfaction and ultimately retain those satisfied customers over time.
Watch This Episode of Customer Ed Nuggets
Want to learn more about resolving key customer onboarding issues? To find out about the 3 mistakes Nick and I believe are most crucial, tune in to the brief video below, where we explain why these issues are so important, and how to navigate them successfully…
If you’d prefer to listen to our conversation, tune in to this Customer Ed Nuggets audio podcast right here at TalentedLearning.com.
The Bottom Line on Customer Onboarding
Implementing a well-structured onboarding program can provide numerous business advantages. It helps drive customer success, satisfaction and loyalty by helping new customers understand how to make the most of your product or service at the start of your relationship.
Better onboarding helps promote faster customer time-to-value, broader product adoption, and stronger brand advocacy. So, investing in onboarding not only ensures early outcomes. It also lays a foundation that can help you build deeper, more profitable customer relationships over time. This starts when you pay attention to common onboarding mistakes and address these issues with thoughtfully chosen customer education systems, processes and resources.
About Talented Learning Customer Ed Nuggets
Hosted by Talented Learning CEO John Leh, the Customer Ed Nuggets podcast is a trusted source of advice, guidance and best practices for customer education professionals of all types. In this series of brief video and audio “nuggets” (each 10 minutes or less), I explore key topics with numerous guest experts.
We explore all facets of customer education, from how to build a persuasive business case, to effective strategies, technologies and content that help professionals create, deploy and grow successful customer-centered programs.
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