Customer Success Onboarding: Keep New Customers Happy


Customer Success onboarding is a great way to start your customers' journeys' with your products; they'll already feel supported even as new customers.

So what is Customer Success onboarding?

Customer Success onboarding is the process new customers go through when they initially start using your product or service, which includes making sure they're happy with the product or service so they can continue to use it.

A successful onboarding program includes step-by-step tutorials, ongoing guidance and support, and milestone celebrations when consumers are successful with your solution.

However, onboarding isn’t just about teaching new customers how to use your product or service. The onboarding strategy puts your customers' goals at the center of the process. You need to figure out what they need to achieve and what success looks like to them.

An onboarding playbook can help you do everything you can to ensure your customers are happy. A playbook is a framework that consists of the steps your Customer Success manager should take to reach a set goal and which customers they should focus their proactive efforts on.

A playbook is important because it offers a repeatable process that your team can follow to deliver a consistent and ideal experience for every new customer. The goal of the playbook is to ensure that each customer is set up and realizing value from your product as quickly as possible.

Benefits of the Customer Onboarding Process

The onboarding process is the most important stage of the customer lifecycle. Coming at the beginning of the customer journey, it sets the tone for your customers' relationships with your company.

Onboarding has a major effect on whether a consumer continues using your product long-term or churns after only a few months. If you do it right, onboarding sets your customers to be successful and demonstrates the value of your product. If you don't do it right, your customers will wonder why they bought it in the first place.

Benefits of the onboarding process include:

  • Increased revenue: If you onboard your customers properly, they'll continue to use your service or product for a long time, increasing your revenue.

  • Repeat business: Customers who are onboarded properly are more likely to stay with your company and won't want to churn.

  • Word-of-mouth referrals: Customers who are satisfied with what you have to offer are more likely to tell their friends, family, and co-workers about it. Referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations can bring in more revenue.

  • Reduces customer service load: If you educate your customers properly about how to use your product or service during the onboarding process, they'll be less likely to call customer service with questions.

  • Full use of functionality: A well-executed onboarding process can lead to your customer discovering even more possibilities with your software, thereby improving their actual usage.

  • Broader adoption: Look beyond CS, and try to invite more people from other departments to parts of the onboarding process. Other departments bring other types of questions to the table but handled correctly you will get an adoption across several departments. And the bigger the adoption is over various departments, the stickier is your product.

How to Measure Customer Onboarding

These are some of the onboarding metrics that can help you determine how effective your onboarding process is:

  • The time it takes for a customer to first see your product's value: During the onboarding process, it's important to measure how long it takes for consumers to realize the value of your offering.

  • Customer progress: It's important to divide your training into different modules, then measure the time it takes for a customer to complete each one.

  • Customer response rate: Conduct surveys regularly and collect feedback from customers, log all the commonly raised issues in your customer platform, then measure how long it took you to respond to each person to resolve their issues. Measuring customer response rates can help you determine the effectiveness of your Customer Success processes.

  • Rate of product adoption: This measures how soon your customers start using your product and for how long. The sooner they begin to find value from your product, the faster the rate of adoption.

Customer Success Onboarding Best Practices

The following best practices will help you create a robust onboarding experience. You can:

  • Understand your customer: This information will help you customize the onboarding experience and customer goals.

  • Set clear expectations: Explain the value your product or service offers your customers and prepare them for potential snags, so if they encounter any setbacks, they’ll be better prepared to deal with them and not give up.

  • Show value: Give customers specific examples of how your product will deal with their pain points.

  • Continue to communicate: After your initial welcome email, continue using email to supplement any in-app tutorials and guides.

  • Create goals unique to your customers: Enable your customers to define success, then assist them in creating milestones to achieve that success, giving them benchmarks to accomplish along the way.

  • Aim to impress: Be sure to deliver an outstanding performance that your customers will be so delighted with that they'll share their experiences with others.

  • Measure your success: Gather consumer feedback, identify issues, and track the important metrics so you know what’s working and what you have to improve.

What the Customer Success Onboarding Plan Should Look Like

We have talked about the Customer Success onboarding plan before and what steps to follow, but it being such an important factor for a great start, it deserves to get highlighted again:

    1. Welcome email:

This is the moment for your first written impression, make sure it counts! Start with a positive note: congratulate them on their purchase and let them know how excited you are to help drive value for them. If your welcome email comes after a handover meeting (e.g. from sales), make sure you share any relevant notes of the meeting.

    2. First login:

The welcome email is a good start but you also want to make sure your new customer feels welcome the first time they are using your product. This can be done via prompting a welcome video or an in-app welcome message encouraging them to take a first step in setting up or personalizing their account. For example, asking the user to change password, notifications, or upload an avatar. You can also use calls out for any important features they should know about.

    3. Product tutorial:

Recommend (don’t force) a certain setup via a guided tutorial or wizard to take your customers through the rest of the setup process. Make sure these steps are clear to avoid missing any important steps and they’re off to a flying start.

    4. Interactive walk-through:

Regardless of the intuitiveness or complexity of your platform, make sure to have a moment where you can go through it together. By using the platform together, you will better understand their perspective and have the opportunity to give quick tips and tricks. Set an agenda so you don’t get lost in any rabbit holes and you can show progress in their environment, which is also likely to boost their confidence to succeed with you and your platform!

    5. Knowledge base:

Once the setup is complete, reference your knowledge base or community to allow users to solve any problems or educate themselves quickly. Make sure your customers can easily find your knowledge base, for example, in-app or via a chatbot (tip: don’t forget to optimize it for Google!).

    6. Check-up calls:

Show that you care by constantly checking in to see if they’re progressing or stuck. Check if they are getting the value they were expecting and ask if they need help with anything. Begin with frequent check-ins related to your agreed onboarding timeline and then scale down according to their expectations.

    7. Notifications:

Notifications can be based upon warning signals or achievements. Either way, it’s important to notify them about certain concerns and progress to make them feel that you’re invested in their success. In time, they’ll give this back to you by investing in your solution!

    8. Celebrations:

Everybody loves a reason to celebrate! Once those mutually agreed milestones are met, make sure you acknowledge and celebrate the progress. It will make both of you excited for the next step to get the most out of your solution and partnership. You can automate it with a notification or an email, or you can make it more personal with a phone call. This can also stimulate ambitious behavior and openness to keep setting higher expectations.

How can Planhat help me with Customer Success Onboarding?

By now, you are hopefully as convinced as we are that the onboarding process is a very important part of you and your customers' long journey together. Therefore, we have created several functions within Planhat that help you make the onboarding process as clear and seamless as possible for your customers:

  • Playbooks: Create pre-defined, repeatable processes to efficiently onboard new customers.

  • Portals: Let´s you collaborate with your customers to drive adoption, show transparency, share success plans and build trust.e

  • Unlimited seating: With Planhats pricing model of unlimited users, no matter what tier you are on, you can (without any added costs) invite many different internal stakeholders to discover how they can make use of Planhat - and thereby speeding up your journey to create a truly customer-centric business culture.

To find out more:

  • Or get a Planhat Demo!

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