Customer Onboarding Playbooks: A Blueprint for Success

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Customer onboarding playbooks are guides that companies follow when onboarding new customers. They outline a repeatable process that ensures every new client has an excellent onboarding experience. Creating an onboarding playbook can help your company avoid getting off on the wrong foot with new clients and set a great tone for the relationship.

This guide will take an in-depth look at how to create these playbooks, so read on to get started.

What are Customer Onboarding Playbooks?

Customer onboarding playbooks should guide new users from having no knowledge of your product to being able to use it confidently. To do that, you need a proven step-by-step process that you can repeat.

This begins with an initial engagement period. When a new customer buys your product, you can welcome them and provide a high-level introduction to the product’s features.

It’s also important to set a good foundation of personalization in the onboarding process. That means understanding how customers’ needs can vary and tailoring parts of your onboarding process to account for them. Otherwise, you use the same approach for everyone despite the many differences clients can have, which could lead to an onboarding approach that only works for some while alienating others.

Creating Your Structured Onboarding Journey

Now that you’ve made first contact with your new customer, it’s time to guide them through the details of their structured onboarding journey. This should include a step-by-step guide covering:

  • Registration and account setup
  • Key features and how to use them
  • Advanced tactics
  • Product and service demonstrations
  • Interactive tutorials

The specific steps you include in your playbook will vary based on your product, but you’ll always want to let new customers know how they’re progressing through the onboarding journey so they understand what to expect.

The best way to do that is with milestones and progress tracking. Simply telling clients how close they are to the end can help them persevere through the full onboarding process. You can also set distinct goals for each onboarding stage to help customers push themselves toward mastery.

Emphasize Multi-Channel Communication Strategies

It’s also important to recognize that everyone has their own favorite communication method. The best onboarding playbooks account for this with content delivered through email campaigns, social media, in-app messaging, and other channels that your clients use frequently.

Multi-channel communication strategies allow everyone to embrace their natural preferences, which typically means happier clients. Be sure to post your onboarding content everywhere a customer may want to access it.

Provide Personalized Support and Assistance

Even if you put together the best possible customer onboarding playbook, some clients will always have questions for you. How you answer those questions can have a big impact on their impression of your company and its products.

A good support strategy starts with the right people. That means dedicated onboarding and customer success managers who take ownership of customer support. You’ll also want to make that support available across all commonly-used channels, from phone to email and social media.

To reduce the workload for your customer success managers, consider anticipating common issues and creating solutions for them in advance with an FAQ section. This will help clients answer their own questions so your employees have more time to add value elsewhere.

Create Feedback Loops to Drive Continuous Improvement

The first edition is rarely perfect. That’s why it’s important to embrace an approach of continuous improvement when it comes to onboarding playbooks. In practice, this means collecting data on how customers are using your onboarding platform at key touchpoints. You can also ask clients to fill out surveys to help you analyze average satisfaction levels across your onboarding experience.

Once you have this data, use it to refine problem areas and make your playbook as close to perfect as possible. As long as you keep doing this, you’ll always be working to provide a better experience to new customers.

Upgrade with Automation and Scalability

Automation and scalability are two additional topics to keep in mind as you build your playbook. First, focus on making sure that your customer onboarding experience can easily scale as your company continues to grow. You don’t want to have to rework it from scratch once the business reaches a critical mass.

You can also continue looking for opportunities to replace manual tasks with automation. For example, automated workflows can save your employees time and help clients get through onboarding faster. Onboarding platforms like OnRamp also integrate with CRM systems to deliver you more comprehensive customer satisfaction data. This can help you make more informed decisions as you work to improve your onboarding experience.

Customer Onboarding Playbook Success Stories

It can be helpful to research customer onboarding success stories to get a better sense of what makes great onboarding playbooks stand out. We’ll highlight a few examples here, but consider looking some up for your specific industry if you need inspiration.

One great example of onboarding success comes from Canva, a graphic design platform. The first question the app asks a new user is what they’re using Canva for. The person’s answer automatically initiates the onboarding experience that’s best for them. This is a great example of how to use automation and personalization to give customers more of an individualized learning experience.

Trello, a project management platform, is another company that does onboarding well. It starts new users with a quick video tutorial showing them how to use the app to grow a real-world business. It’s a great overview of the platform’s capabilities in an easily digestible video format. You may want to add a similar explainer to the beginning of your own onboarding journey.

The Final Word on Customer Onboarding Playbooks

Onboarding is the first point of contact many users will have with your brand. That’s why it’s so important to take onboarding seriously. OnRamp is here to help you do it.

Our industry-leading customer onboarding platform comes with all the tools you need to design, execute, and continuously optimize a world-class customer onboarding playbook. But don’t take our word for it. Sign up for a demo and we’ll show you more about how we can help.

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