Common Customer Onboarding Issues & How to Fix Them

/ 21 December 2021

Onboarding is a vital step in every customer journey. Going beyond a one-off transaction, it’s a way to get customers ‘on board’ and keep them coming back for more. Coming at the start of their journey with your brand, customer onboarding is truly pivotal – and can determine how the business-customer relationship pans out.

Unfortunately, there are a number of things that can – and often do – go wrong. In this post, we’ll outline six of the most common customer onboarding issues and how you can fix them. But first…

What is customer onboarding?

For the uninitiated, customer onboarding is the process of introducing a new customer to your company along with your services or products. It can be as simple as setting up their account after an ecommerce order. However, it can also be highly complex, as with software as a service (SaaS). In this case, customers need orientation, training and ongoing support.

Why does it matter? For one, keeping existing customers is 5-25 times less expensive than acquiring new ones. Increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25-95%. But, as with the SaaS example, onboarding can also be a crucial part of the service you provide.

For many businesses, a transaction isn’t complete until customers are onboarded. While a sale or subscription may be agreed, customers can still back out of the process during onboarding. That means a poor onboarding process can prevent you finalising sales altogether.

Here are some common issues that cause that…

6 customer onboarding issues

1.    Lack of personalization

No two customers are the same. That’s especially true during onboarding, where they could be completely new, requiring orientation, or further down the line, in need of technical support. It’s even more relevant for businesses that offer more than one service or product type.

If your onboarding platform isn’t personalized, it can take customers far too long to find what they need. They’ll feel frustrated by the time it takes, but also distanced by how impersonal the onboarding process comes across. On top of that, the onboarding experience will feel cluttered and hectic.

2.    Silos and bottlenecks

Having everything in one place may feel cluttered. But having it in several, isolated places is equally problematic. With the various steps in onboarding, customers may need to interact with different departments within your business. Over time, that can lead to silos and bottlenecks which make the process less cohesive.

Silos are parts of your business that have become isolated, and simply complete their own work without communicating to other departments or teams. Bottlenecks are teams that are overloaded with a backlog of work, and slow down the entire process as a result.

Both can have a negative impact on the onboarding process, with customers passed from department to department with long delays between different steps.

3.    Too long for customers

Whether it’s because of the issues mentioned above or just unnecessary steps along the way, the problem with many onboarding processes is simply that they take too long.

Customers are going through onboarding for a reason – to get the value of your products or services. And it’s only complete once they can use your products or services independently.

But they’re only human. They want that value in a reasonable timeframe. The longer it takes, the more likely they are to abandon onboarding – and abandon your business.

4.    Too long for your business

On the flipside, customer onboarding can also be hugely time-consuming on your end. Manually communicating with customers to gather basic details, delivering personal training or orientations, and providing ad-hoc technical support all takes time.

This can create one of two issues. Either you’re spending excessive amounts on staffing to deal with the onboarding demands. Or you’re leaving customers waiting, delaying the process and increasing the chances of them leaving.

5.    Lack of feedback

There’s always room for improvement. Especially so if you’re seeing countless customers fall at the onboarding hurdle. Customer feedback is vital to help you improve the onboarding experience. But all too often, it’s hard to come by.

That could be down to confusion, with customers unclear on how or where feedback is provided. Or it might simply be that they don’t feel engaged enough to provide it. Why should they, if they’re already feeling disconnected with your brand?

6.    Poor visibility

Another way to continually optimize customer onboarding is through visibility. This means the ability to track how customers move through the process and manage their progress. It can provide invaluable insights, such as highlighting specific areas that are taking too long or causing abandonment. Without it, you’re left guessing and your customers are left dissatisfied.

Overcoming onboarding issues

Whether it’s confusing customers or taking too long, the end result of poor onboarding is usually the same – customers don’t stick around. The best way to overcome all of the issues above is with a dedicated, responsive onboarding platform.

3radical Onboarding puts everything in one place to chaperone customers through onboarding. The innovative platform makes it easier for customers to:

  • Navigate complex content to familiarise themselves with your products and services.
  • Find relevant customer services, location information or order processing options.
  • Provide information to your company, from basic details to invaluable feedback.
  • Discover complementary products and services to maximize business value.

Everything that can be digitalized, standardized and automated will be, which will minimize the time required on your end for each new customer without compromising on the service they receive. Most importantly, it makes the entire onboarding journey seamless, streamlined and enjoyable.

Optimize onboarding for your customers

If you’re tired of losing business or wasting time because of onboarding difficulties, 3radical is here to help. We create bespoke onboarding solutions to help customers navigate products, services and brand benefits with ease.

With us on your side, your customers will be happier, more engaged and more loyal in the long run. To find out how we can help your organization, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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