Customer onboarding: high-touch contact points deliver the most value

1-on-1 calls, webinars, live chat, and support are great for conversion and retention. Doing it right is tough, so here are some case studies.

Startups are built to scale. But talking to customers 1-on-1 doesn't scale well.

That's why many businesses are sacrificing this part of the relationship with their customers.

It's a big mistake!

High-touch contact points will deliver the best value out of any other contact points when it comes to customer onboarding.

Concierge Onboarding
Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

1:1 onboarding to figure out the path to your "Aha! moment"

If you are starting your product and you are not sure how to do onboarding correctly, I'd recommend doing 1:1 calls. You will get valuable feedback and rapidly iterate on the best way to onboard customers.

328 signups, manually onboarded, one-at-a-time. And in the process, we had many awesome conversations with our users and collected thousands of data points. This ultimately gave us a much clearer idea of the cohorts that can get the most value out of Growthmentor and those that cannot. Who wins? Everyone. (Growthmentor)

Remove the self-serve onboarding and add a long form to fill to get the 1:1 call. You will only get the most avid customers, probably those that are the right fit. Those are the ones you want to hear from.

1:1 calls when products are very different

Another use case for 1:1 calls are when your product is very different from the other in a category, and it might be confusing.

Our Aha moments, the features that made us different, were also the reason people weren't sticking around. [...] We took all of these features out. [...] Our conversion rate shot up from 1 in 50 to 1 in 10. (Hiri)

In this case, customers were confused at the features, and the onboarded rate was terrible. They made the product as generic as possible by removing all their unique features so people would be able to get the UX right away and then invited them to activate the unique features with a tooltip.

This change made a huge difference!

While they were able to improve their onboarded rate immensely, another uniquely different e-mail product has been doing it differently.

Superhuman has been doing 1:1 onboarding exclusively. And it worked wonderfully. They have received a lot of good press and are now shown as an example of how good an onboarding experience can be.

Bottom line. If Hiri went for 1:1 onboarding, they probably would have fixed their onboarding issues earlier.

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1:1 onboarding as a complement to self-serve

When you have a thriving business, it might be hard to keep doing 1:1 onboarding because it doesn't scale as self-serve onboarding does. But if you have the resources to do it, then you must absolutely do it!

About 56% of companies who have had a coaching call while on trial have converted to paying customers. Early reports are showing that about one-third of pre-trial coaching calls convert to paying customers within a 4-5 month period. (Helpscout)

Leads requesting 1:1 calls are far more likely to become customers. And trial customers are far more likely to be converted to paid customers if they get the right help.

But not everybody wants to do 1-on-1 calls. In fact, many millenials want to solve their problems by themselves.

According to a study, 69% of Millennials' feel good' about a company when they can solve a problem on their own. The same study adds that 73% of people would like to solve problems on their own. (Hiver)

But if you are in the B2B space, 1:1 calls are likely to be an important part of your business. Something in-between you can do is webinars.

Teach groups with webinars

Webinars allow you to teach leads either about your product or about something related to your product.

Not a lot of people sign up for the free classes. But among those who do about 60% convert. They're incredibly worthwhile. (Helpscout)

Plenty of businesses are doing webinars. I suggest you sign up for a few of them and take notes on how they do it so you can start making webinars for your product soon or improve them.

Live chat is a massive advantage if done right

One reply from a human increases the conversion rate of leads to users by 50%. (Intercom)

Live chat is crucial to make better onboarding, but only if it is well configured. If nobody is ever there to answer quickly or if the onboarding messages are useless, it will become very frustrating for customers to have the little popup everywhere.

We find offline message capture still distracts people from the core CTA, with the added issue that there are no agents to respond to questions. (Neil Patel)

People coming to your website want answers quickly. If they don't find them, they will leave. Filling out forms is a pain, and they don't want to do that especially if they don't know how much time it will take for you to respond. Same goes for live chat if it's continuously offline. When Drift filled out lead forms from 433 leading B2B SaaS companies, it took 55% of them 5+ days to respond.

Support must respond quickly

As self-serve onboarding customers and also those from 1:1 calls continue to get familiar with the product, they might have questions or be confused.

There are many self-serve ways to answers their questions as we see in the content-based strategies, e-mails, and UX onboarding stuff. Support is going to be playing a role in the onboarding.

Forrester Research found that 41 percent of consumers expect an e-mail response within six hours. Only 36 percent of retailers actually respond that quickly…and 14 percent never respond at all. Now that is shocking. (Helpscout)

If the support takes 24h to respond to a basic problem, you are losing a LOT of customers. Onboarding needs to be fast. Customers need to understand the value of your product very quickly. In a few hours for complex B2B products, a lot less in B2C. If your customers stumbled upon an issue, can't find any answer in your knowledge base, and the support isn't quick to respond, you have lost them.

Side note: personalized "Thank You" e-mails

With all these high-touch contact points, you get a lot of customer requests. Some you will implement, some you will not.

Sending a "Thank You" e-mail to the customers that helped you make your product better will go a long way.

Nearly half (43%) of customers surveyed around the UK explained they don't think it is worth complaining as companies simply don't care. (Bulldog Reporter)

This small gesture will get you more engaged customers that will give you more feedback and surely give you a better CLTV.

Conclusion

High-touch contact points are essential for customer onboarding.

Not only when you are launching your product, and your self-serve onboarding isn't perfect but also as you grow because the customer experience will never be perfect, so you need to be there to answer any of their questions.

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Want More Customer Onboarding Optimization Strategies?
We’ve put together a checklist of 15+ data-informed cutomer onboarding best practices to turn more trial customers into buyers (organized for your convenience.)
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