When someone first gets started with a new product or service, the experience they have at the beginning can set the tone for their entire journey as a customer. That’s why it’s so important for companies to invest in a strong onboarding program.
Onboarding is all about welcoming new customers to your product or service and guiding them to become knowledgeable and satisfied users. In many ways, an effective onboarding experience is a safeguard against losing customers, especially considering that more than half of consumers (55%) will return a product because they didn’t fully understand how to use it.
As more and more businesses wake up to the value of onboarding, many brands have adopted unique and innovative approaches to developing a better onboarding experience for their customers. One popular and effective strategy has been to go digital.
With the rise of technology, digital onboarding has gained traction. This makes sense given that around three-quarters of consumers prefer digital channels for communication with businesses, a reality that’s likely also been propelled by the pandemic and an increasingly remote world.
Luckily, digital customer onboarding offers several business advantages, making it well worth the investment. In this post, we’ll share valuable insights into the world of digital onboarding, from the top benefits of going digital to six steps to make it happen. We hope, by the end, you’ll have a few ideas for how to upgrade your digital onboarding strategy.
The Benefits of Digital Onboarding
From improving accessibility to generating cost savings, here are just 4 of the many advantages that developing a digital customer onboarding program can offer.
In today’s fast-paced world, customers expect instant gratification. That’s one reason why it’s crucial to make your customer onboarding program digital.
Imagine a customer has just discovered your company after business hours and is ready to get started. Instead of having to wait until you’re open, they can start the onboarding process immediately. They can access your digital onboarding program online, complete the necessary steps and be ready to use your product or service the moment they need it.
By moving your onboarding process online, you make it accessible to customers 24/7, allowing users to onboard anytime, anywhere. This leads to a better customer experience overall, since your customers are empowered to complete the process on their own terms and schedules.
In fact, a recent survey found that 79% of customers expect organisations to provide self-service support tools, with 77% viewing organisations more positively if they offer these options. With digital onboarding, businesses can meet these expectations and provide a seamless onboarding experience.
Digital onboarding can lead to higher completion rates. By making the onboarding process easily accessible online, companies increase the likelihood that customers will complete the process and become engaged customers.
To sum it up, by making your client onboarding program digital, you’re not only making it more accessible to your customers, but you’re also creating a more positive experience that can lead to increased customer satisfaction (which, in the long term, leads to retention).
An Eco-Friendly Alternative
Do you remember the last time you went through a traditional customer onboarding process? Chances are it involved mountains of paperwork, lengthy questionnaires and lots of forms to fill out. Not only is this process time-consuming, but it’s also harder on the environment.
According to The World Counts, paper waste accounts for 26% of total waste at landfills, with the effects of paper production including deforestation, the use of enormous amounts of energy and water, air pollution and waste problems. With digital onboarding, you can significantly reduce your paper usage and therefore lower your carbon footprint.
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To put that in numbers, let’s consider a company that onboards 1,000 customers with printed materials. If each onboarding packet consisted of just 10 sheets of copy paper, the environmental effect would be 1.2 trees cut down, 899 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, 1,070 gallons of water used and almost 59 pounds of solid waste produced. Eliminating paper by going digital with your onboarding program would eliminate those negative impacts.
For a real-world example, look no further than Mercedes-Benz Finance. After the digital transformation of their onboarding program with Personalised Video, the company sent fewer printed welcome packs, resulting in printing cost reductions of 86% respectively. Not only was this a part of their commitment to go green, the results from the onboarding campaign were incredible as well.
Take a look at the video below or click the link above to read more about it.
All told, it’s easy to see why switching to digital onboarding can have a major positive impact on the environment and your company’s sustainability goals.
Another major benefit of having a digital client onboarding program is improved scalability. When your onboarding process is entirely digital, you can onboard a large number of users much more efficiently since you’re not constrained by staff, time and space.
For instance, let’s say you’re a bank that traditionally onboards customers on-site. You spend your time scheduling appointments, filling out paperwork and verifying identities in person. Not only is the process time-consuming and expensive, but you also have an upper limit to how many new clients can be onboarded. You can only see so many people in a day, after all.
By digitising the onboarding process, though, you can automate the program with online content, digital identity verification tools and on-demand support. As a result, you can onboard more customers faster and more efficiently, all without sacrificing the security and accuracy of the process.
The same approach can also be applied to getting existing customers started with new products, such as by allowing current clients to open a new bank account within minutes online. With a digital onboarding process, you can onboard hundreds of customers simultaneously and grow your business much faster.
Fun fact: Banking customers who were onboarded digitally were found to be more engaged, more likely to transact across channels and locations, and more profitable.
For a great example of onboarding a new cardholder, watch the video below. It shows how digital onboarding can be human (presented in a video that addresses the customer personally) and interactive (allowing users to navigate to the information you need).
Additionally, digital onboarding allows you to easily track customer progress and optimise the onboarding process. You can use data to identify bottlenecks or areas where customers are dropping off and make changes to improve the overall experience. This will not only improve scalability but also make the process smoother and more efficient for you and your customers.
In short, by going digital, you can streamline the process and onboard customers at a faster rate. This means you can serve more customers in less time and focus on optimising the user experience and growing your customer base.
Greater Cost Savings
Finally, going digital with your customer onboarding program can save your company big bucks in the long run, especially in comparison to traditional onboarding processes.
The cost savings come from several factors. For one, digital onboarding reduces paperwork, printing and postage costs as well as the cost of manual data entry and verification. Digital onboarding can also reduce human errors and improve data accuracy, reducing the cost of having to rework mistakes.
In addition to these cost savings, digital onboarding can impact your overall profitability by improving customer satisfaction and reducing the cost of abandonment. Consider these findings:
- Streamlining and modifying the onboarding process with technology can dramatically improve overall customer experience by up to 43% and increase customer retention by 37%.
- Reducing your abandonment rate by just 50% can increase customer acquisition by 29% and increase revenue by 26%.
At the end of the day, the cost savings associated with digital onboarding are substantial. By reducing paper-based processes, shortening onboarding time and improving program effectiveness, companies can save significant amounts of money while also providing a better experience for their new customers.
Master Digital Onboarding With These 6 Best Practices
Now that we’ve covered what you can gain from going digital, let’s dive into some top strategies for making your onboarding program the best it can be.
Here are 6 steps to follow.
1. Streamline the Experience
Digital client onboarding is essential for businesses to enhance customer experience and satisfaction. However, the process can be lengthy and complicated. The good news is that going digital brings plenty of opportunities to streamline the experience.
One way is by allowing you to eliminate redundant steps that can slow down the process. According to one survey, 2 of the top 4 complaints from customers about onboarding were that they had to repeat themselves (24%) and that the process was too slow (25%). Luckily, functionalities that let users save their information or autofill details are possible in the digital world.
Want to see a cool example? The video below — called a Living Video — shows how content can update in real time based on the user’s browsing context. Living Videos can even pull in live data sources like local weather (shown here), stock prices, product availability for retailers, flight times and more.
Now, imagine an onboarding process where you don’t have to keep inputting easily-accessible information like today’s date or the type of device you have. Instead, you just have to review, approve and voila! You’re on to the next stage in the onboarding flow. Eliminate repetitive information requests and you eliminate the pain point, improving their overall experience.
2. Embrace Video
More than 8 out of 10 people report wanting to see more videos from brands in 2023. So by incorporating video into your digital communications, you’re giving customers what they want.
Even more, you’ll also be significantly enhancing the onboarding experience. This is because the audiovisual format aligns with how our brains are hardwired, allowing viewers to absorb information more quickly and effectively than text or images alone.
You can take inspiration from Mercedes-Benz Finance, as we shared above, who created a brief Personalised Video to welcome their customers, outline next steps and encourage viewers to manage their agreement in the self-service portal.
With a video completion rate of over 70%, the campaign was a hit. Plus, the video successfully encouraged customers to engage with the online portal, with 28% of people converting to the self-serve portal.
3. Play With Gamification Elements
Another effective strategy is gamification, which involves incorporating game elements into the onboarding process to make it more engaging, fun and effective.
Research conducted by the University of Colorado found that gamified learning can increase information retention by 9% and self-efficacy (or one’s confidence in their abilities) by 20%. In other words, adding game elements to your onboarding program can help your customers remember the important information you’re conveying, as well as boost their confidence in being able to use your product or service successfully.
So what does a gamified onboarding experience look like? Think quizzes, progress tracking or rewards that can be claimed when an onboarding step is completed. By turning learning into a game, you can boost engagement and motivate customers to actively participate in the process.
4. Spark Emotions
Connecting with customers on an emotional level can help propel your first impression from commonplace to unforgettable. As humans, our decisions are driven more by emotion than we may like to admit. With interactions moving online, it’s become more and more important to proactively build that emotional link with others. By tapping into customers’ emotions during onboarding, you can forge a deeper connection and build trust.
Don’t settle for dry instructions on how to get started. Infuse messages that resonate with their dreams, needs and pain points to leave a lasting positive impact.
Emphasise the relief they will feel after your fintech product solves the issue they’ve been stressing about. Get them excited for the fun they’ll experience after booking that trip with you. Inspire them with footage of the impact your nonprofit is making. In short, if you want to start the relationship off right with a memorable onboarding experience, tap into emotional marketing.
OK, so the video above isn’t technically an onboarding example (although you could send it to a new donor with some small tweaks to the messaging), but it shows how video is an emotional medium. In short, if you receive this video, it’s one you’re going to remember.
5. Personalise the Journey
For the modern consumer, personalisation is no longer a nice bonus. It’s a must-have. Consider these key insights from a recent study of more than 10,000 B2C leaders and global consumers:
- Patience with impersonal experiences has hit a low: 66% of consumers say they will quit a brand if their experience isn’t personalised.
- Real-time personalisation improves customer lifetime value: 86% of consumers say that personalised experiences increase their loyalty to specific brands.
So if personalisation is so essential, how can you personalise your onboarding process?
It all comes down to making use of data. Only when you know your customer can you craft experiences tailored just for them. Use customer data, such as past interactions and preferences, to deliver relevant and personalised content at each step of the customer journey, starting with onboarding. Add their first name to lend it a human touch.
One way to do this is with Personalised Video. By integrating tailored information into videos, you can create a unique and engaging experience. These videos can address customers by name, highlight their specific needs or interests and guide them through the onboarding journey in a captivating way.
For instance, Select Health made its onboarding video much more relevant and helpful to the viewer by sprinkling in personal data, including the customer’s name, the date their plan goes into effect, specific medical benefits and even how to navigate their online portal. See how those details add more value than a generic welcome video would?
6. Allow for Self-Service
When it comes to digital customer onboarding, one of the key challenges is striking a balance between providing necessary information and overwhelming customers with a flood of details. While you want them to have everything they need to succeed, you also don’t want to force them to sit through an onboarding experience that drones on and on with irrelevant info.
The solution? Self-service options.
Consumers today value convenience and autonomy. In creating self-service tools, content and resources, you empower customers to learn and find answers to their questions independently. From knowledge bases to self-guided tutorials, these options reduce the burden on your staff while also enhancing the overall onboarding experience.
For instance, Interactive Videos are an effective way to deliver information at a pace that the customer is comfortable with. See how the example below by a mortgage company allows viewers to identify what they’re most interested in and view it with an easy click of a button right in the video.
Remember, a remarkable onboarding experience sets the stage for a long and fruitful customer relationship. So gear up and make your onboarding process an unforgettable ride.
Supercharge Your Digital Onboarding With Personalised Video
You’ve probably figured out by now that we like video, especially data-driven video. As customers demand convenient, seamless and personalised onboarding experiences, dynamic video makes it possible. It’s scalable to any size audience, even if you have millions of customers — but you never lose that human touch.
Imagine the impact of a video greeting your new customers by name, walking them through the onboarding process and making them feel valued right from the start.
Whether it’s welcoming new users, providing step-by-step instructions or showcasing the benefits of your product or service, our Next Generation Video Platform can help you create a unique video for every single one of your customers. If you’re ready to take your onboarding experience to new heights, reach out so we can schedule a demo.