Mark D. Flanagan • April 27, 2016 • 

The folks at Groove provide help desk software, so they live right in the midst of the world of customer relationships. So when they publish a list of 10 great examples of onboarding, and each comes with a specific case to illustrate, that's worth reading.

Here is our quick summary, but we suspect that once you scan that you'll want to check out the full post at the Groove blog.

Below is our quick summary version of how to make that critical first customer experience a postive one, starting with this: the critical time is between when they sign up and their first success...

Mark D. Flanagan • April 20, 2016 • price, relationship

Arthur Middleton Hughes of the Database Marketing Institute has written a article that suggests that companies should make a clear distinction between two types of customers: Transaction Buyers, who buy only based on price, and Relationship Buyers, who buy based on the quality of product, service, and reputation.

Hughes points out that the concept of attracting new customers solely with low prices rarely works: those new customers will always hop to the next low price vendor, and never contribute much to profits.


Mark D. Flanagan • April 13, 2016 • Customer Data, Journey Map

B2C, or Business2Community, has published an article with four essential ways to keep customers, and some statistics to back up the importance of keeping your customers happy.

You work hard to GET your customers, but if, for reasons you didn't predict, they have a bad experience - they won't be back in 72% of cases.

Here is a short summary of B2C's four ways to KEEP your customers:

  1. Integrate Your Data
    If a call center gets one stream of data, and a email service a different stream, it is critical to combine those in a meaningful way.
  2. ...
Mark D. Flanagan • April 6, 2016 • change, customer-service

Micah Solomon, who consults on customer service problems, has put together his top ten list of avoidable issues that cause customers to leave.

Here is a bare-bones summary of his list, and if any of these sounds suspiciously interesting to you, better read the full article:

  1. You haven’t kept up with changing customer expectations of speed.  
  2. You don’t offer customers the self-service they’ve grown accustomed to elsewhere.
  3. You haven’t improved your return policies and...
Mark D. Flanagan • March 23, 2016 • 

Aaron Agius has posted an article at listing 4 ways that onboarding can insure success for startups. His four main points are:

  1. Encourage positive experiences. If a customer's first taste of your system is bad, that is going to be difficult or impossible to overcome.
  2. Get to know your customer. The onboarding process puts you in direct touch with customers so you learn what their real...
Mark D. Flanagan • February 27, 2016 • onboarding, churn

B2C, short for Business to Community, has a article about ways to decrease customer churn. Their five recommendations might seem obvious, but I bet in the "heat of battle" these solid ideas get lost. In summary, they are:

  1. Understand Product Usage Patterns
    What is the customer really doing with the system?
  2. Watch for Organizational Changes
    The guy you trained is gone!
  3. Build Relationships High and Wide
    See the last point.
  4. Improve the Onboarding Process
    Don't set it...
Mark D. Flanagan • February 27, 2016 • onboarding, analytics

Evergage has put out a list of 9 mistakes to avoid with onboarding, and by the looks of it, they have the scars to prove their depth of experience. Here is the their list, in short summary:

  1. False Promises
  2. Delayed Response
  3. Shooting from the Hip
  4. Ignoring Analytics
  5. Treating Customers Like Numbers
  6. Complicated Pricing
  7. A Lengthy Sign-Up Process
  8. Static Messaging
  9. Making Assumptions About Your Customers

They conclude with this solid bit of advice "While no two customer onboarding strategies will be...

Mark D. Flanagan • February 27, 2016 • onboarding, certification

The Kapost blog has an article that looks into the need for onboarding and the complexities that come with it. They point out something that we all know but often lose sight of: some customers are worth the effort, some are not. So an early part of the process should be to figure out what sort of client is worth engaging with, for the long haul.

Here are their 5 main points in highly condensed form:

  1. Determine what sort of client will be profitable
  2. Make onboarding mandatory
  3. Give formal certification
  4. Focus on specific skills
  5. Verify that...
Mark D. Flanagan • February 27, 2016 • onboarding, support

Iridize posted an informative slideshow (via Slideshare) about 4 Successful Onboarding Strategies. They point out that finding the right balance is not easy, since customers don't always understand the complexity of what they have bought into, plus different customer have hugely different needs for support. Sounds like going into a store to buy something: how much help should the salesperson give? We have all suffered from no help at all, as well as way too much help.

So one key to successful onboarding is to supply the right amount of help.

The presentation goes on to make...

Mark D. Flanagan • January 27, 2016 • onboarding

Sixteen Ventures has a good article about the secret to onboarding. They emphasize the fact that success for the vendor (usually a payment) is NOT the same as success for their customer. They strongly suggest that vendors focus on the "desired outcome" that their customer's expect. And there is no better way to know that than to ask the customer.

They also point out that "...there’s still no universal definition of a fully-onboarded customer; it’s simply different for every company." Which is another reason to find out what the customer's definition of "fully onboarded" and work...