Client onboarding is the process by which you teach your clients how to use the service or product you’re providing them with. It’s essential – clients might desperately need your product, but if they can’t use it, they won’t continue paying you for it. Ensuring that a client understands what you’re offering should be a core part of your business strategy.
However, as with pretty much everything else, COVID-19 has caused huge disruption in the standard onboarding process. You can no longer visit a client to demonstrate their newly-purchased product or send experts to solve any teething problems they have with your new service. And, if you’re breaking into a more global marketplace, this sort of approach wouldn’t even be plausible.
Therefore, to improve their satisfaction ratings, most industries have been focusing on implementing virtual client onboarding.
As you might guess, this is the practice of shifting the usual in-person onboarding process online. It might not be as hands-on, and some clients do prefer your physical presence when they’re starting out with you, but virtual onboarding can be just as effective as in-person. This article will help you polish the way you onboard your clients virtually and improve the satisfaction ratings they give your business.
You should focus on the following factors to improve your clients’ satisfaction: the tools you use in your onboarding process, your team’s ability to provide the best service, your plan to address any issues that might arise due to the move online.
Using the Right Tools
Virtual onboarding requires the use of various tools and technologies. To improve customer satisfaction ratings with your onboarding process, you must equip yourself with the best tools available.
Good communication makes everyone’s job easier, so you need to make sure that your team can share information within itself and interact with customers effortlessly. With virtual onboarding, this means looking to online methods of communication.
Use the video conferencing software that best fits your needs so that your team can collaborate without limitations and you can provide the best onboarding experience to customers. Allowing customers to get in touch with you easily and efficiently is sure to improve satisfaction ratings.
You should also look into collaboration tools – if you have a team dedicated to client onboarding, it’s crucial that they’re able to come together to tackle any issues and think of any ways to improve the process.
Even a simple tool like a digital whiteboard will allow your team to bounce ideas off of one another and think up the best way to improve client satisfaction. Do some research online to find the best whiteboard app to suit your business.
If you’re keeping track of satisfaction ratings, it’s likely that you already have some form of analytics software. This is another vital tool for effective virtual onboarding. Make sure your chosen analytics tool can record relevant statistics and feedback from the onboarding process so that you can improve it (and your satisfaction ratings) in the future.
Focusing On Your Team
Completing customer onboarding online can be superior to the offline equivalent when it comes to building an engaged customer community, but you must ensure your onboarding team is prepared fully to provide the best service to customers in order to reap the benefits.
Virtual onboarding may require more specific training than the in-person version, so make sure to take this into account. You may even need to design an entirely new training plan to accommodate the differences in these processes.
Ensure that everyone on your team is trained thoroughly in the use of all your chosen communication apps so that they’re always able to support clients. As explained previously, good communication is essential to providing a quality onboarding experience to clients, but your team must also be able to interact internally to guarantee customer satisfaction.
While you’re trying to maximize the effectiveness of your virtual onboarding team, keep employee morale in mind. Virtual onboarding tends to mean a remote working environment which can make it hard for employees to socialize. Organizing opportunities for socializing like a virtual celebration will go a long way to improving team morale.
This is vital to boosting your satisfaction ratings since happy employees make for happy customers: on average, each one-star increase in an employer’s Glassdoor rating led to a 3.2% increase in customer satisfaction
Planning Prevents Problems
Moving your onboarding process into the virtual sphere comes with its own challenges. If you don’t develop a plan to overcome any potential hurdles, you may find that virtual onboarding fails to generate the improvements in your satisfaction ratings that it should.
Just as software testing companies probe your software offerings to find any bugs or weaknesses, you should examine your onboarding process thoroughly to weed out any issues before they can have an impact on the customer experience.
With virtual onboarding, you’ll come across different issues from those encountered in physical onboarding – specifically, technical glitches that can interrupt communications or cause a loss of customer data.
Luckily, there are tools available to help plan for and deal with these sorts of disruptions. Adopting business continuity planning software will allow you to keep track of your operations, alert staff and clients to the potential impact of any issues, and resolve them efficiently.
It’s crucial to make the necessary preparations to avoid issues with connection interrupting your service. We’ve already explained that you must equip yourself with the best tools- in this case a communication system that provides you with the fastest, most reliable network connectivity. But make sure this also affords you cellular capabilities for when your WiFi fails you. Additionally, you should check your sound quality before a call to ensure that clients have no trouble hearing and engaging with you throughout the process.
So far, we’ve addressed issues that you yourself may encounter in the virtual onboarding process, but you should keep in mind that your customers might also experience problems. Moving your onboarding online may confuse your clients, especially if they’re not tech-savvy or the process now involves an app that they’re unfamiliar with. This sort of confusion is sure to lead to dissatisfied customers, so you should ensure that your team is ready with clear and concise explanations to put your customers back on the right track.
Finally, it’s helpful to define what successful client onboarding means to you and your team. Obviously, you aim to improve your satisfaction ratings, but you should set out your goals clearly. Consider exactly what rating you’d like to achieve or by how much you intend to improve your rating. It’s vital that you have a plan for potential problems, but this plan should include an end goal, too.
It’s All About Providing a Good Experience
It can be tough enough to improve customer satisfaction on a good day, so it may seem like a daunting task to do so when you’re still finding your feet online. In time, once you’ve had some experience, you should find that virtual onboarding is more efficient and more effective than any low-tech system you previously had in place.
With more and more people starting online businesses every day, you shouldn’t need to worry about your clients being unfamiliar and uncomfortable with communicating online. Just make sure you’re equipped with the best tech, team, and plan to provide a seamless onboarding experience, and your satisfaction ratings should rise accordingly.