Picture of Kimberlie Williams
Written by Kimberlie Williams


There’s an old saying that the first impression is the last impression and introducing software to new customers is is no different. Software that is difficult to use or has little support is just shining a bright exit sign over their company door. However, when customers are given the tools and attention to succeed, that makes them all the more loyal to your brand. This is why strong customer onboarding is essential to retaining customers.

1. Help Customers Set Achievable Goals

The first thing you should do is help your customers set any goals they hope to achieve with your software, because this will impact how they’re going to be installing and using it. Goal-setting should be specific to the capabilities and resources of each person and/or business you’re dealing with. The odds of a small business

 suddenly making $100 million by next year are extremely low. It’s your job as a company to convince them that staying within their means is their best bet and that the should scale their goals as they grow. Even if they decide to go with another company that offers them faster or better results, explaining why your team is taking this approach will later help them come to understand that you had their best interest at heart and possibly give your company another shot.

 Incorporating goal-setting within your software itself will help customers feel that their goals are more tangible and will give them evidence of how close they are to reaching milestones. In order to keep your competitive edge, your company should work hard to set your customer on the path of reaching their milestones, because if you can help your customers achieve them, it will facilitate trust in your brand.

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2. Develop Intro Guide

If someone is struggling to just install and use your software, the chances of them sticking around as a paying customer are slim to none. This is why it helps to develop different installation wizards or user guides based on the customer’s level of expertise. Think of it like a video game with levels: beginner, intermediate, and expert. This will also save your support team some work as well.

For example, for beginners, using as much detail and imagery as possible in explanations helps to get the message across. Also be sure to explain each feature and function and the value behind them. Often features go unused simply because people don’t understand why they’re there in the first place.

Expert user guides should include special tricks and tips that are largely unknown or involve a unique combination of features. The ultimate goal for these self-help materials is to help your customers get the most of using your software.


3. Follow-up: Check In After Installation

Even if your customers do successfully begin using your software, send an automated email to everyone who downloads your software checking in with them. Ask if they have any questions or problems. This does well to foster a relationship between your company and your customers as one that cares and opens the door for more customer honesty.

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4. Equip Support Team with the Ability to Train and Guide

Your support team should be more than a quick help center, they should be prepared to train and guide you customers into reaching their goals. This means that your support team needs to not only be familiar with the ins and outs of your own software, but also be familiar with how your customers are using your software, and how your software can be used or improved upon to help them to the best of their ability.

If your customers are B2B, this means that your software team needs to be well versed in the standards, aims, and challenges of both your own software and your customers’ industries. Your software should already do things like format reports and forms according to their business standards, but your support team can also help them by posting blogs unrelated to your software that help them improve ROI, efficiency, scheduling, customer experiences, reduce costs, and minimize risk. People are most receptive to the companies that genuinely want to help them, rather than the pushy salesman approach.


5. Gather Data From Potential, Current, And Past Customers

Your company should be gathering information about your customers constantly  through customer relationship management software to create a the best customer experience you could possibly offer them. CRM will tell you how your customers are using your software, website, and many other interactions with your business, so that you can refocus your energy on what they need the most, improving their overall experience.

Also be sure to talk to your customers for more feedback, whether its in person interviews, surveys, or some other kind of correspondence. Think of it this way: your customers will have different definitions of words. When asked what the ‘value’ of your software is to them, some will answer more literally in money terms, and some will answer more metaphorically, like how it has helped them achieve their dreams and aspiration. Both answers contain valuable information that could be utilized in your approach.  For example, you could add the option of encouraging messages after tasks are completed for your customers who use your software for aspirational reason.

Observing customers will also highlight areas of improvement, like how to improve your software in design and usability. Customers will also tell you what they want out of customer help even to the level of why they’ve left, because that will Software and company feedback Even gather information about customers who have left, because this information can be used help active customer who are also facing similar issues or problems before the make the decision to leave. Retaining a customer is far less costly than attempting to replace them.


6. Retool Approach Where Appropriate

Now the key is to take everything you’ve learned about you customers and determine if changes are necessary. Running what-if analysis tools test and further follow up research can help with this, and if all goes well, then test your changes out in small markets. If those tests prove to be successful, bring them about on a wider scale. Congrats, you’ve successfully retooled your business for the better with input from your customers. The sky’s the limit from here.

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