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8 Protips For Your First Customer Onboarding
Onboarding your first customer is exciting…and terrifying!
You want it to go perfectly but, if you’re like most founders, you don’t have decades of customer success experience.
I already shared 4 important (and quick!) ways to prep for the onboarding.
Once you’ve prepped, you still have to execute!
Here are my top tips for a smooth onboarding — when you’re a busy founder and need to maximize time — from years of working with customers.
8 Tips For A Smooth First Onboarding
1. Create a simple checklist and timeline.
Mentioned this as part of your prep — but it’s so important I’m saying it again!!
A checklist/timeline (even if it ends up being inaccurate!) will pay dividends in terms of how a customer perceives you, their expectations, preventing miscommunications, and both of you staying organized.
2. The first call should be a “Kickoff Call.”
Don’t call it an “Onboarding Call” because customers will think the onboarding is done on one call. (Learned the hard way 😂)
Usually all the stakeholders join for the first call.
If that feels too risky, do a planning call with your power user/buyer to discuss the best roll-out strategy for their company. Let them guide you.
3. Set pre-scheduled (weekly) check-in calls.
Find a regular time and put these on the calendar right away.
Probably weekly but maybe daily or bi-weekly depending on the product.
It will deflect a lot of one-off questions, provide accountability on both sides, and prevent customers from “going dark.”
You can always cancel a meeting if you don’t need it (← explain to customers too!)
4. Go for a quick win.
What’s the fastest, simplest way for a customer to start seeing value?
Your product probably has several helpful benefits — which one should they prioritize based on their goals and timeline?
Getting that first win will buy you time and goodwill for the bugs, complexity, and other snafus that are sure to come up.
Plus, your customers are busy and this is one of many priories. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with a new product and put it off. A simple focus makes it manageable.
Remember — just because you want to show off the bells and whistles of the thing you’ve been building for months doesn’t mean your customer is the right audience. Save it for your co-founder!
A good analogy here is the gym. If a trainer shows you every piece of equipment on your first day, you will be overwhelmed and do nothing. If they show you how to do squats and push ups, you’ll come back and can add more over time!
5. Hold their hand!
Do everything you possibly can for them. Make it as easy as possible.
Be available, reply quickly, set up training calls whenever they want.
Yes, this isn’t sustainable. But your product is probably pretty rough, you’re learning a lot, and you can always teach customers “how to fish” later.
Right now, you just want happy customers getting value as quick as possible!
6. Set up a firstname.lastname@example.org email.
The *one* small scalable thing that may be helpful is to set up a support email address monitored by multiple people.
Especially if you travel, have an engineer or two, or there’s a number of end users.
No need for a support tool yet. Just an email address. Maybe route it to Slack or have it forward to everyone’s email.
Unless you’re literally the only employee, you don’t want to be a single point of failure, especially if there’s an urgent issue.
7. Have your sales deck ready.
You may need to explain your company and value prop to new users.
Don’t create a new deck for this!! Just use your sales deck and skip to the appropriate slides.
8. Don’t create any other materials.
Yes, you want to be prepared. You want to wow your first customer.
But writing how-to articles or putting together training decks is premature.
Figure out what questions or problems your customer has, create the content on the fly, THEN save that for your future knowledge base or next onboarding.
It’s All About The Learning
You’re ready to onboard! It will be messy. You’ll make mistakes.
THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT!
Listen to your customers, help them succeed, and improve as you go.
It won’t be perfect but if you focus on getting better over time, you’ll be amazed at how much better Onboarding #10 and #100 and #1000 are!
What other tips or learnings do you have for someone’s FIRST customer onboarding??
For more customer tips, check out these posts too: