Do you depend on an ongoing level of revenue and customer loyalty for your business success? Let’s face it – everyone needs this type of ongoing relationship to succeed today. Creating and maintaining committed customers adds both value and revenue to your operations.

Of course, building and maintaining this high level of success does not come easily. You need to work at creating this value-driven experience from the very first moment your customers engage with your company.

Take these companies, for example:

UBER: You can sign up for Uber and literally have a car at your doorstep within minutes – much to the delight of users.

XERO: Using finance app Xero, you can immediately connect your accounts and have an instant all-access glimpse into your accounts in one convenient screen.

PANDORA: Use Pandora with only one song entered to have an entire music playlist populated for you.

These examples show how companies can hook you right from the start – through a delightful ‘first impression’ experience. It’s right at this intersection between customer engagement and user experience that the principle of onboarding comes into play.

Onboarding doesn’t just apply to employee training and retention. The principles behind onboarding are simple: offer a convenient and user-friendly experience from the moment customers first interact with you and your company. This applies to any aspect of business interaction.

Are you ready to take your own customer engagement up to this high standard? Follow these tips to onboard and engage your new customers – so they stick around and remain loyal to your brand.

1. Eliminate ‘Friction’ Points in the Initial User Experience

Friction points refer to those annoying steps that may cause your users to stop the sign-up process. If you have a user ready to sign up for your site, the last thing you want is to lose them in the complexity of the sign-up process.

To avoid this problem, make the user experience (UX) as hassle-free as possible. This includes the sign-up process – whether it’s a free service, a trial or a regular account.

2. Welcome & Give Customers Immediate Value

You want to thank your new customers, welcome them to your site and help them confirm that they’ve made a good decision by signing up. This can be achieved through adding immediate value to their experience.

Take WordPress, for example. After a basic sign-up form users can immediately open and operate their own basic site – for free – with a variety of customisation options. Users can add more features with additional simple purchase options. But users get the immediate value of a free site just by creating an account.

Salesforce Pardot adds you to a Onboarding Series when you work with your consultant to setup your marketing automation.

3. Ask for Customer Feedback & Provide Feedback to Users

Feedback is the component that keeps the user experience well-oiled for ongoing success. Ask your customers for direct feedback on what they like about your company (or what you should change). You can offer rewards or incentives like promotional codes to compel users to give you honest feedback.

In the same breath, give your own users feedback and data metrics that they might find valuable. This can be as simple as giving a comparison to how a user ranks compared with other users.

Reddit’s karma system is a great example of this principle in action. Users can upvote and downvote to give each other scores (karma) for the content they share and the comments they offer. And believe it or not, this karma system yields a high incentive for continued posting, sharing and interacting across the site.

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Trying to onboard, get feedback and provide feedback all at the same time? We do using Intercom.

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4. Give Rewards for Desired Actions, Referrals, Etc.

This step should come as no surprise. If you want your customers to do something like providing referrals, you need to ask them. But you should also be willing to give them a reward in thanks for that referral. ‘Rewards’ will vary based on what your site is all about.

Here is an example from Kickofflabs which helps you create a viral referral program for beta and launches. Currently using it for our own beta.

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5. Use Ongoing Customization Based on UX Data

Making changes to your site may sound like a recipe for disaster. But the goal here is to listen to your customers and adjust how your site operates based on that feedback.

While you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, making positive, ongoing changes based on user feedback won’t go unappreciated. This holds even more true if you’re transparent about the changes. When you communicate why you’ve added or changed something, your customers will appreciate it even more.

6. Continually Interact with & Nurture Devoted Customers

Think about sites like Facebook. They make it easy to sign up and get started. But most users don’t stick with Facebook because of a pleasant and convenient starting experience. Instead, they stick around thanks to the ongoing nurturing of their user experience.

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‘Nurturing’ in this context refers to providing customers with the right level of customisation and features to keep them coming back. Once you have your customers with you, you don’t want to do too much (or too little). That way, you’ll keep them on your site, using it and supporting you.