Customer Onboarding and Its Impact on Satisfaction

New customers in meeting

According to popular American advertising advocate, Elias St. Elmo Lewis, the average customer goes through four distinct stages before they make a purchase. While this theory was popular through most parts of the twentieth century, experts in recent times agree that a customer journey ought to include customer satisfaction after the purchase of the product as well.

One of the most effective ways to satisfy a newly acquired customer is through effective onboarding. According to a study published by the Harvard Business Review, providing short tutorials to new customers can alone bring down churn by as much as six percent. In addition to tutorials, customer onboarding can include a number of other techniques like classroom lessons, coach marks, elearning and so on.

What Customers Expect from Onboarding

Your onboarding strategy is determined by a couple of factors. To begin with, your industry plays a major role in determining the type of onboarding lessons you can impart. Consumer electrical products (like refrigerators and ovens) usually include a manual and tech-specs sheet that provide the consumer with all the ‘how-to’s related to the product. Some of these products also include CDs that go with the manual.

The trouble with such onboarding lessons is that it is not customized to a user’s unique requirements. To minimize churn, businesses must work out onboarding strategies that can be personalized according to the needs of each customer. While personalized onboarding lessons may work for some industries (like in the case of enterprise B2B industries), it is not easily scalable in other consumer-focused industries.

Onboarding Strategies

Here are a few examples of how consumer-targeted onboarding lessons can be imparted at scale to improve customer satisfaction.

Learning Management Systems: These are online software applications that allow businesses to organize their onboarding lessons into discrete chapters. Modern LMS applications come with in-built tools to host video tutorials and live conferencing as well. This allows businesses to organize onboarding workshops for all their new customers online. LMS tools also come with a number of other features to increase learning retention. You may, for instance, set up quizzes that let customers test themselves on the onboarding lessons. Gamified lessons also help make the onboarding lessons fun and interesting to the new customer.

YouTube Videos: According to a report published by Forrester Research, people are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails or web articles. If you are a consumer-focused business with thousands, or even millions of customers, then YouTube provides your business with the platform to disseminate onboarding lessons to thousands of new customers at once. One advantage of using YouTube as an onboarding platform is that the content can be organized into multiple playlists (categories) to reach all kinds of customers.

Impact on Customer Satisfaction

There are multiple ways to measure the impact of customer onboarding on satisfaction. One of the most reliable metric is NPS (Net Promoter Score). In one study, McKinsey & Company measured a customer’s satisfaction with the onboarding strategies with the help of a 10-point NPS scale. They found that for every single digit improvement in this NPS reading, there was a three percent increase in customer revenue. In other words, onboarding drives customer satisfaction which, in turn, drives business revenue.

The corollary is also true. Poor onboarding strategies can bring down satisfaction and this can cause higher churn and lower revenues. As a business, it is extremely important to create a structured onboarding process and enable your customers with the right tools to deliver effective onboarding lessons on time.

This is the only way to not only retain them, but also create happy customers who help you grow your business over time.

About the Author

Anand Srinivasan is a marketing consultant. You may reach him at:

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