tips for designing a winning
customer onboarding process

Systems + Processes | 6 Minute Read

Successful customer onboarding starts with developing an outline for your entire process. 


Begin your onboarding plan by creating a "big picture" view of your customers' post-purchase experience—in relation to one specific product or service. Your big picture should include a list of the things your customer will do and the results they can expect to achieve. 


​Answers to the following two questions will be helpful as you create your big picture view of your onboarding process.


1. What will your customer do with your product or service?

Imagine that you're selling child car seats. Here are some things you might want to include in your process when thinking about how your customer will use your product:

  • Take the car seat out of the package and assemble it
  • Install the car seat in their car
  • Move the car seat from one car to another
  • Strap a child into the seat
  • Add optional extra buckles, inserts, toys, or other additional features


2. how will they feel while using it?

For this question you'll want to think about the benefits of use. Thinking of our child car seat example above, they may include:

  • The confidence of knowing that their child is safe
  • A sense of security while driving
  • Relief and peace of mind while performing other parental duties with their child in their car seat


For each of the above items, it's easy to see how you can provide help. You can provide an instruction manual for easy assembly, video tutorials on how best to move the seat from one car to another, and follow-up emails asking if your customer has checked out the optional extra buckles. You'll may also want to consider a customer service telephone number where customers can get the help they need when troubleshooting.


Once you understand the big picture, you'll need to flesh out the details of their post-purchase experience even more. Here are a few things to consider as you do:

  • Deliverables – The process the customer goes through to receive your product or service
  • Installation – What the customer needs to do in order to start using the product or service
  • Benefits – Additional benefits they'll receive well into the future—regardless of the different ways they find to use your product or service
  • Features – Special features or add-ons that the customer may not be aware of or know how to use
  • Changes in Use – Ways the customer might change their use, including upgrades, re-installation, and so on
  • Maintenance – What the customer needs to do in order to keep your product in optimal working condition
  • Problems – Any problems the customer might encounter (ie: bugs, repairs, or malfunctions)


The list above will help you create a framework to holistically design your entire onboarding process. From there, you'll still need to figure out the details for execution (all of which we'll cover in future posts):

  • The How – The tools you'll use for customer interaction, information, and education
  • The What – The general content you'll need to create for use during the entire process
  • The When – A timeline for when everything will happen

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