If you haven’t implemented automation in your customer onboarding experience yet, you’re in luck – you have the opportunity to save your business money, improve customer retention, and more. In this article, you can learn about the structure of the client onboarding process, how to implement client onboarding automation in your company, and you can learn from a practical example with Vault ERP.
What is the client onboarding process?
The client onboarding process defines the sequences of actions necessary to introduce a product or service to a new client, and to help existing customers make the best value out of it. If the customers were left to work out by themselves how to use a service or product, they would likely churn. You need to have a clear written process to make sure the customers will know they made the right choice and get value for their money.
Customer onboarding is the first impression that can make the client stick. The client onboarding process gives you the opportunity to welcome customers into your business, gather their requirements, address any queries, and get them up to speed with your product and services. The client onboarding process also applies to existing customers to show them how to use new features, or to customers who move from free to paid accounts.
What is customer onboarding automation?
An automated onboarding process will save you and the customers a lot of time. Customer onboarding automation means implementing various automated steps throughout the customer journey. A well mapped client onboarding workflow that includes every interaction and touch point will help you identify which tasks can be automated.
Automated flows will guide users through various steps along their journey with the goal of better understanding how to use a product or service. By automating customer onboarding, you can achieve consistency in the user onboarding experience and can focus on the steps in a customer’s journey which require human intervention.
Read on: Why you should automate your business processes.
Which steps in the customer onboarding process can be automated?
Many transactional tasks can be automated. However, you should use bespoke onboarding automation for each user group to address their specific needs, and have a feature built-in which allows for skipping steps that the users don’t want to action, or allows coming back to them at a later point in time.
So, which tasks in the customer onboarding process can be automated? Let’s give you some ideas:
For example, each time a customer submits an inquiry form, an automated message will be sent, such as “Thank you for your inquiry, our team will be in touch soon”. This way the customer will know that their query will be answered.
Sending proposal and contracts
Once you have filled out fields in the right contract template, the system will process it, send it for signing and track the progress.
This should be as simple as possible. Signing up with a user’s existing account such Google, Apple or their email address is the fastest way.
The first very important impression. Use the data from sign-up to personalize the welcome page, and launch a micro-survey to gather the clients' main requirements to better understand their needs. At this stage, you can include key product/service information.
You can integrate a video walkthrough, automated guide, and checklists. Checklists will show you the progress of customers’ onboarding process. They also keep customers engaged.
Communication and education
Throughout the customer journey, include tips, automated prompts, and tooltips to demonstrate the value of your product or service. An automated interactive demo of the product/service can get the customer up to speed.
Self-service enables users to solve issues by themselves. Embed links to an FAQ, help center, knowledge base, or use a chatbot. It is important that customers have an option to contact human support if necessary.
You can streamline automated invoicing, track payments, and send reminders.
Don’t leave customers after they’ve signed up. Automate emails to be set after 30 days or so to check-in and ask the customers how they are doing. Using the information from sign-up, you can offer other products/services that match their requirements to optimize the value of the package they are using.
Some industries require a new customer’s ID verification. Automating this task accelerates the onboarding process significantly. Voice or biometric automation alongside remote document verification ensures accuracy and a fast response.
Each company is unique and will have a specific customer onboarding process, so you should identify different tasks in your own company which can be automated.
How do you automate the customer onboarding process?
Now we know more about what automating the customer onboarding process can do, it's time to learn how to do it. Here are 7 steps you should follow to automate your customer onboarding process.
- First, you need to examine your customer onboarding process and identify your goals. For example, do you want to simplify sign-in, help the clients with activation, or get them to upgrade as your product/service evolves? Break down the steps to reach your goal. Imagine the user moving through the steps in their journey in the next logical sequence.
- Map the current manual onboarding process in detail. Each interaction and touch point is important. This will allow you to identify which tasks can be automated.
- Map the happy path to get the user to complete each step in the fastest and most engaging way possible. For example, you could optimize the UX.
- Remove obsolete steps in the customer onboarding process. Simplicity is key, so examine whether you can remove some of the fields or gather information later in the process.
- Automate each customer interaction at each point of their journey. Think where you could implement a tooltip, checklist, or modal pop-up. Targeted automated messages placed at the right spot are very effective.
- Target specific user groups. The customer onboarding process will not be the same for all users, and not all users will need the same information. Use segmentation to tailor the onboarding process for specific user groups. For example, are you targeting individuals or companies? Tailor it accordingly.
- Collect feedback from users and improve your customer onboarding processes. You can send out surveys aimed at improving the customer onboarding experience, providing you with valuable data.
Why is client onboarding important?
Client onboarding is hugely important. It improves the customer experience and helps with their retention. The first impression will decide whether the customers stay active or churn to competitors. Customers love using self-portals, where they can find information about the product or service and how to use it. If you automate the onboarding workflow, the customers’ journey will speed up, and you will save time, resources and money.
A positive customer experience can get you more customers through referrals and word of mouth, helping you to grow your business. A successful client onboarding will kick off the relationship with your client on the right foot, giving you the opportunity to gather information about their needs at the same time.
The benefits and challenges of automating onboarding
Let's start with the benefits first.
Automating customer onboarding allows for better resource allocation. Automating repetitive admin tasks will free-up time for impactful tasks that require human skills. The customer support team will be able to respond to queries faster and spend time on strategic customer relationship tasks.
Growing your business
Happy customers bring more business. Time saved by automation can be used to improve your service. You gain access to crucial data required to complete the onboarding process that will be indispensable for future business planning and growth.
Improved customer experience
Customers can access support and the resources they need at their own time without having to wait for a call from the customer support team whenever they become available. In addition, a segmented, personalized customer journey can lead to customers using your product or service continuously.
Reducing client turnover
Successful onboarding can lead to less client churn and a reduced cost of hiring/acquisition.
However, it’s not all roses when you implement an automated onboarding process. You will face some challenges too as the process is not easy and involves deep thinking and analysis. Moreover, it does not end when you implement it, as you will need to evaluate customer feedback and keep improving the customer onboarding experience.
The onboarding process takes too long
For example, say that a customer purchases two different products and must go through the onboarding process twice. You will need to streamline and automate the onboarding process in a way that applicable information and documents will be collected only once. If you try to collect too much information about the customer or ask for paperwork to be completed back and forth, a customer could possibly abort the onboarding process or cancel the purchase.
Onboarding 9 to 5
Onboarding customers at office hours might be inconvenient. Customers expect 24/7 access to self-service or support. If you can’t provide that, you should consider introducing a chatbot or seamless onboarding automation outside the office hours.
No choice of communication channel
Customers prefer having a choice of communication channels. Not being able to sign-up through their mobile device or Google account could lead to a less personalized user experience and less happy customers.
The onboarding client automation cost can be high if you implement AI, chatbots and get an IT development team involved. Depending on your company size and goals, decide wisely what processes can be automated, and what solution meets your needs best. But rest assured that you should see a good ROI if you're smart about client onboarding automation, as happy customers bring more customers to your business.
What does an automated onboarding process look like?
To give you a practical example of what an automated onboarding process can look like, why not use Vault ERP as an example? Let’s assume you visited the Vault-ERP website and have browsed our product and services and are keen to learn more.
A click on “Request demo” will open a contact form with a few fields to fill in. In one go, you complete several pre-onboarding steps quickly: you input your details, your main requirements, you can read and agree to terms and conditions, give consent to use your details to contact you, and with one click you decide whether you want to be contacted about any Vault ERP upgrades. We send an automated welcome email followed by a personalized contact email from our business analyst team. This is a simple and short way to start your customer journey.
Schedule a first demo meeting
We use our convenient booking system which makes it very easy for people to find a date and time and add it automatically to their calendar. As our meeting planner checks attendees for availability, nobody will be overbooked. At the meeting, we make sure to understand your goals, needs, expectations, and what you aim to achieve. Our business analyst examines your business processes and maps your teams’ workflows. Our specialists advise you on how to avoid bottlenecks and how to optimize your productivity and efficiency by using Vault ERP.
Our business analyst team creates a 15 day free trial in Vault ERP’s testing environment. You will be able to get familiar with all the features Vault ERP has to offer. At this stage, you get a better understanding of your customization requirements. Our team guides you through and provide continuous support by answering any questions you might have. It is a great opportunity to learn and try all different features and modules. Our knowledge base is also an excellent source of information.
After the trial period, we gather more information, agree on customization and other details in a follow-up call.
We send you a final price for selected modules. The full cost will include all your personalized features and customizations. The final price will depend on the size of your company, integrations needed, number of users and the complexity of implementation.
If you decide to sign-up, we will send you personalized manuals and you will be able to access 24/7 product and analyst support. We will assign you a Vault ERP specialist who will provide you with unique personalized assistance and help you set up your configurations of templates and modules well as help you with data migration, admin and user training, and catch any issues early on to ensure smooth sailing with the system.
A kick-off call will give you as a client and the project team the opportunity to get to know each other before the work starts. The kick-off agenda will address crucial items such as your goals, the scope of the project, timeline, roles and responsibilities and project management methods and tools. The aim of a kick-off-call is to eliminate any bias, to minimize risk, and to bring everyone involved on the same page.
Post kick-off meeting
A post-kick-off meeting recaps what has been discussed during the kick-off-call. The conclusions and next steps are communicated to all parties involved.
All stages of our customer onboarding process contain automated onboarding tasks, like walkthroughs and tips combined with human support. This way, we can focus on gathering valuable data and constantly improving our customer relationships.
If you want to make it easier for your clients, automate your customer onboarding process. Vault ERP can help. Request a demo with our team and we will show you how.