Your roadmap to retention success starts from day one. Discover the key onboarding watch-outs below
As marketers, we all know that customer retention is critical, and it’s often high up on our list of objectives. To support this, an effective Welcome journey is crucial - where first impressions are often lasting ones.
For example, a leading provider within the Telecoms Industry found 70% of customers with a poor early life experience will churn at the end of their contract. It’s vital that customers feel supported during this phase, shaping the way for long and valuable relationships.
Advances in data and technology are steering businesses away from one-size-fits-all, towards more personalised, data driven welcome journeys – and this increased ‘relevance’ is what customers now expect during their first interactions with your brand, driving future product engagement and Lifetime Value (LTV).
To help make your customers feel at home from the get-go, here are some key Welcome journey principles to follow:
During early life, customers are typically at their highest level of awareness and engagement, as they’ve actively chosen to start a relationship with your brand. Make sure you capitalise on this and learn all you can about your customers. Investing in your preferences centre capability allows your customer to ‘self-select’ how they want to engage with your brand in the future. The choice becomes theirs. Interactive content in the form of incentive-based quizzes/surveys are also great ways to get to know your base, capturing key engagement data. Building trust is key within this early stage, so make sure you clearly communicate how you intend to use this information, making sure you’re compliant with the most up to date regulations.
Next Best Action (NBA) modelling allows you to drive content that resonates with your customers, at the right time for them. NBA models continuously learn from customer interactions and adjust recommendations, and in real-time - this adaptive learning means that onboarding can evolve with the customer. For example, if the customer has consistently shown interest in an additional product, NBA can target them with a cross sell message that is relevant. This could be instead of an educational message on an existing feature.
It’s crucial that you have the analytical tools and reports available to understand what behaviours improve key KPI’s such as LTV and churn rates.
For example, a leading UK Publisher found that customers regularly engaging in content through 2+ platforms such as the website and app (within the last 28 days), were twice as likely to be retained vs those using 1 platform.
Of this cohort, those engaging in the app had the highest retention rate.
In response, to help increase product engagement (and ultimately tenure), app messaging has been prioritised within the onboarding journey, across onsite, email and paid media channels. Active days was also crucial – those seen to be active on any platform 2+ days a week, were far more likely to be retained.
Setting objectives around retention driving behaviours helps to ensure resource is directed in the most impactful way, and should align with broader business goals such as increasing customer volume/revenue (helping to secure senior alignment in the process).
Given the high levels of engagement, testing during onboarding allows you to gain statistically valid findings within a short period of time.
This can include cadence testing, which allows you to find the optimal frequency of sending onboarding emails. For example, testing has shown that deploying onboarding within a short window of time, daily, can often outperform a more spread out onboarding journey.
Behavioural decision tree testing is another highly useful methodology. For example, if a customer has already downloaded your app, triggered campaigns can be setup to ensure a customer does not receive an ‘app download’ campaign, instead moving onto the next trigger in the series.
We often see, across industries and clients, that increased product holding results in reduced churn further down the line.
When done thoughtfully (aligning with their own needs), cross sell of relevant, complimentary products can enhance a customer’s experience – whilst also improving your product adoption, revenue and retention KPI’s.
For example, a customer may have recently subscribed to a TV service, with Ultra HD then quickly offered as a complimentary product that enhances their experience. A major TV provider has previously done this, and saw more than double the conversions compared to less targeted cross sell comms.
Timing is everything when it comes to successful onboarding. As with the start of any relationship, people want to feel welcomed. Therefore, trying to cross sell in your order confirmation email may not always be the best approach. Instead, show that you truly value their investment in your brand, make them feel welcomed, and make them feel good about their decision – utilising data available to deliver a personalised welcome message (remind them of the benefits of your product, what’s to come). Once welcomed, it’s then when you can start to think about how you can evolve your relationship with the customer further.
Tests have shown that feature-based onboarding allows you to make big improvements in the usage of a product or service. Users are more likely to stay attentive and engage in the onboarding process, reducing cognitive load and making it easier for users to understand and recall each feature. This taps into the choice paralysis bias – which, in simple terms, means customers are more likely to become overwhelmed and choose nothing when there is too much variety available.
With feature-based onboarding, you’re likely to see higher retention rates and long-term user adoption. It also allows your journey to be more customised and targeted, giving you the ability to identify pain points more easily.
Focusing on your Welcome journey is the key to building strong relationships, product usage and retention from the outset. Sadly, it can be increasingly difficult to boost engagement once a customer has established long-term habits with a company. Therefore, a well-crafted, data-driven onboarding series across multiple touchpoints is essential - to find out how Loop Horizon can help you transform your onboarding strategy in line with your goals, feel free to get in touch today.
P.s. If your business is about to embark upon a data-driven marketing transformation, then why not check out our top 10 watch-outs here