How many of your new customers from this year have still only sent you one order?  These “one-and-done” customers can create a lot of inefficiency for the business. If we can solve this, we can accelerate the growth of the business. More often than not, a large number of one-and-done customers points to a weakness in the customer onboarding experience. A great onboarding experience can help you keep and grow more of the customers you worked so hard to acquire.  A small investment here will have a big return because:

  • Customers who are properly onboarded are more likely to be happy.
  • Happy customers stay with you.  (Customer retention)
  • Happy customers buy in more categories from you. (Share of wallet)
  • Happy customers refer other customers.  (Customer acquisition)

These are all compounding benefits that every business wants, and it all starts with onboarding.  Here are a few questions to help you assess your current onboarding process:

  1. Is someone in the company responsible and accountable for the customer onboarding experience for each new customer? With any function, if someone isn’t responsible for it, it’s not going to happen consistently.
  2. Does your onboarding process involve at least one live conversation with the customer to understand what is important to them?  For example, if you’re a dental laboratory, this is a great opportunity to get the customer’s prescription preferences. By doing this at the beginning, you can understand the customer expectations early and meet that expectation from the beginning.
  3. Is your onboarding process just a single step, or does it involve several touch points over the first several weeks of your relationship with the customer? A few light touch points (respecting the customer’s time) go a long way toward keeping you top of mind with the customer and making them feel welcome.
  4. Do you have metrics for onboarding new customers? If not, you’re not alone. A good starting point is to look at how many orders each new customer has sent so far.

If you don’t have an onboarding process, I recommend just starting with something simple. You can just make a welcome phone call when receiving the first order. Perhaps you can do a check-in call two weeks later to see if the customer is satisfied and try to see if there is anything that might prevent them from sending a second order. Most importantly, monitor the metrics and feedback. This should drive process improvements based on what you learn from your customers who progress through to become loyal customers and especially those who do not. After just a few weeks of running and monitoring this onboarding process, you can make small changes that will vastly improve your customers’ experience and your bottom line.