If you read my initial post on customer onboarding, you got a sense of the top five potential pitfalls companies often encounter in creating an onboarding strategy and campaign. There are some true best practices out there as well. They are helping companies improve their onboarding process and turn more of first-time purchasers into loyal customers.
Here are five standouts:
1 – Start with a focus – and a plan.
First and foremost, effective customer onboarding does not happen by accident. What’s needed is the declaration that defining a formal onboarding best practice is in the best interest of the organization and its customers and making it a formal priority. Ultimately, having declared stategy, almost any strategy, will in most cases be better than having none at all. Your automated onboarding process should strike the right balance between over- and under-selling. Companies that do this well will typically build in a “thank you” at the very start of the process – before any major cross-sell effort occurs. These companies also keep in mind that automating is not the same as “setting and forgetting” – they monitor, analyse and adjust their plans and processes as necessary to ensure they satisfy the needs of both customers and the business. Get management buy-in that a formalized strategy is essential to ensuring uniform treatment in accordance with your desired best practice.
2 – Reinforce value before you start selling something new.
Effective onboarders will re-emphasize the features and benefits of the solution that brought the customers to them in the first place. One way to do this well is by helping the customer get the most out of whatever they just acquired. For example, if a customer signed up for a direct-deposit account, the onboarding communications should emphasize how easy it is to transfer in funds or use mobile & online banking channels to access their new account. The key lies in helping the customer feel good about choosing the solution – and the business.
3 – Listen and learn.
Many companies are using Automated Preference Management to gather insights on how customers like to communicate with them. They capture customers’ preferences for communication channels, frequency of communications, and the types of solutions and values that are most important to them. This capturing of channel, frequency and “focus” preference information will importantly allow your new customer to “opt down” rather than “opt out” – Letting them choose to hear from the business on topics that they care about, in the right volume, or only through certain channels has the dual benefit of demonstrating sensitivity to customers’ preferences and improving your customer wallet share (i.e. lifetime value).
4- Predict and act.
Insightful planning coupled with a true understanding of customer preferences sets the stage for a truly customer-centric onboarding process. Successful onboarders take what they have learned from preference data, transactional data and customer profile and predict what each customer is most likely to respond positively to in practice. The latest generation of predictive modelling technologies are very for marketers easy to use and the pay-back is immense. It is also important to note that successful onboarders also avoid the types and frequency of communications that are most likely to elicit a negative response. After all, building strong relationship requires both knowing what – and what not – to say.
5 – Unify and enable.
The new customer is a multi-channel customer, and furthermore, is a “cross-channel” customer. They will move from one channel to the next and expect you to remember the context of the “dialogue” as this happens. Businesses that are able to unify the insights they gain and messages they send across all different channels are more effective in a) presenting a single face to the customer and b) meeting customers’ communication needs. They enable deployment of strategies consistently across all channels and connect the experience across all customer touch points. This means not only the traditional “marketing” channels but also the service and sales channels such as the branch, kiosk, ATM, call centers and more. Using automated governance rules, they ensure appropriate frequency and relevancy of messaging and using event triggers, they cross-sell when customers are likely to be most receptive.
Taken together, companies that engage in these five best practices find that they can reduce “opt-out” selections and boost customer engagement. To learn more about how to put these practices to use for your business, visit the Portrait Software website or download a white paper on this topic.