As sales experts, we spend a lot of time thinking about the hassle and cost of acquiring new customers. But one of the easiest ways to build a sustainable business is to improve your customer retention rates. So today, we’re going to share some thoughts on why your customer onboarding process is an easy but impactful way to help boost your retention.
We believe in reframing the concept of a customer onboarding process. Just because a deal is “closed” doesn’t mean that you can stop selling. They may be at the bottom of your sales funnel, but a funnel is just an abstract concept. Remember that these are paying customers, and keeping their business is your top priority.
Yes, you can sell like a champ, you serve your customers well, and they move on to delivery while you rinse and repeat the cycle. This is myopic. Our approach is to see the sale through the onboarding process and delivery to maintain a customer-first focus.
Why spend money finding new clients when your old clients never want to stop working with you? This opens up your business to high growth avenues like net negative churn and expansion revenue. But those are topics for another day.
Defining the customer onboarding process
We have seen onboarding that’s nonexistent to customer onboarding process documents that are dozens of pages long. A favorite tool of the trade is the old, reliable spreadsheet. They accomplish the task in a painstakingly frustrating way for the sake of familiarity.
But you know what they say? Familiarity breeds contempt. And phew do we have issues with spreadsheets here. It’s hard to stay on top of who needs what, when it needs to be completed and how many more things are needed for completion.
When you think about it, how could you not ditch the spreadsheet for a checklist to make your onboarding process flow seamlessly? It makes a better impression and our customers love it. We’ve even started using it to onboard employees.
Daniel Zarick and Benedict Fritz at Arrows believe your high-touch customers deserve a clearer, cleaner onboarding experience than a spreadsheet can provide, and we just so happen to agree. Arrows is an automated onboarding process to help your clients stay aligned with custom onboarding plans to ensure success and satisfaction for each and every one.
Use cases for Arrows
Even if you provide an identical service to all your customers, they don’t all come to the table with the same tools or resources. Chances are, you’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of brainpower setting them up for success with the correct tools. Enter… Arrows.
Once you add your customer onboarding processes as a template, you can customize each plan to reflect your customers’ individual needs. With a few clicks, you can assign due dates and select who is responsible.
And it gets better! Not only can you assign responsibilities to your own team like you could in a task management software like Asana or Basecamp, you can also monitor and assign onboarding tasks to the members of their team. Not only does this keep everyone aligned, but it prevents stalling out in the onboarding process. There’s nothing like a dashboard to help you stay on track and the same page.
When you simplify onboarding, it makes it easier to deliver value early on. We practice completing our first deliverable for customers during the onboarding process. That’s why we believe in making the process quick, reliable, and clear so we can get to work finding ways to help our customers increase their sales and better understand their customers.
Want to see how Arrows works? Check out the demo that Harris recorded, walking through the tool and how we’re using it in our new customer onboarding process.
So, why did we pick Arrows?
Well, we’re both a SaaS and productized service. On the productized service side, it is important to us to effectively onboard customers to start getting access to our team and services as quickly as possible.
The best part? Customers like it! They’re emailing us things like “I like it… It was nice to have visibility into what steps needed to be completed.”
We also work with customers to do anything and everything from perfecting their onboarding processes to running their outbound sales to copywriting to 1:1 coaching calls and mentorship. Our clients’ needs are broad and varying. We love Arrows because, with a few clicks, the process ready no matter what kind of customer we’re onboarding.
Arrows isn’t just for customers
Speaking of onboarding, we don’t just use Arrows to simplify the customer onboarding process. We’ve found it incredibly helpful to use for our new hire onboarding. No more “checking in” emails to follow up on deliverables, contracts, headshots, missing bios, etc.
We include discrete standalone tasks, with helpful links to documentation so employees know where to go for help setting things up. This is helpful for us as an all-remote, asynchronous company. Gone are the days of sitting next to a new hire and dragging them through a binder.
And by the way, doing it the old fashioned way but through Zoom isn’t any better. We don’t want to just digitize the old way of doing things. We think this new way is better—it is for us, at least!
A few thoughts on customer onboarding as whole
Investing in your customer onboarding is an investment in your future business. When you do it well, customers notice. It helps improve your retention rates. And it accelerates your customers’ time-to-value, or how soon you are showing them that you’re worth working with.
First impressions matter, but we believe that your first impressions counter resets once they become a client. Who you are in the sales funnel is different from who you are as a product provider, don’t give up on the process.
If you are interested in a deeper dive on this topic, have a listen to Pipeline Meeting, the official podcast of Intro CRM. In the episode below, Harris talks through who needs a customer onboarding process and three specific things we like about Arrows.