Winning over a new client takes resources: Time, team labor, and money. 

Losing a new client? Now, that can cost you even more.

When you have high customer loss or customer churn, you lose that customer’s revenue and must invest time and resources into acquiring a new customer. Acquiring a new customer can cost five to 25 times more than retaining a current customer.

So, how do you reduce customer churn? The answer is to find ways to support each customer’s success and give them an outstanding experience with your company. That means creating the products your clients want and developing a smooth, efficient process that allows them to benefit from them as soon as possible.

Many companies don’t realize churn can happen early in the provider/client relationship. Some customers might leave after a few years because they become dissatisfied with your product or their needs change. But in many cases, churn happens far earlier — during the onboarding process

If you want to significantly reduce your customer churn rate, you must identify and address the issues encouraging your customers to leave. Here are some of the most common issues that contribute to churn:

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Mistake 1: A slow and confusing onboarding process

Churn isn’t always due to dissatisfied customers with your products or services. Customers often decide to leave before they’ve even gotten a chance to implement and use a product fully! 

This happens when your implementation/onboarding process is inefficient, slow, and confusing. If clients don’t receive adequate training and support, they can’t integrate your product into their workflow, which means they don’t see a return on their investment. And if a customer feels frustrated about the lack of return on their investment, they start regretting their choice to work with your company.

Many companies drop the ball during the sales handoff by not initiating communication with the customer immediately. The implementation team might be getting things ready, but the customer cannot know that if you don’t tell them. And if there’s no indication that the process is moving forward, chances are the customer will leave — sometimes even before onboarding is complete!

The solution is to develop an effective, streamlined onboarding process that moves the customer from the sales handoff to full implementation as soon as possible. Plan out each step, identify internal and external stakeholders, and walk your customers through the process so they reach operational status with minimal delays and setbacks.

Best practices for customer onboarding
Customer onboarding is one of the most critical aspects of any business. It sets the tone for the entire customer experience and can literally be the difference between a customer deciding to stick with your company, or finding an alternative with your competitors.

Mistake 2: Poor communication

Lack of clear communication is another common factor in customer churn. And, like many of the top customer churn factors, the problem often starts during onboarding. During the sales process, potential customers enjoy frequent contact with people who are invested in their concerns and ready to offer solutions.

But what happens after the sales handoff? Do your customers immediately start hearing from the implementation team? Do they get a detailed roadmap for the onboarding process? Are they clear on their responsibilities, your team’s responsibilities, and how everyone needs to work together to reach the go-live milestone? 

Consider how your customers feel if the answer to these questions is no. From their perspective, they stopped being a priority as soon as they invested in your product. They may feel abandoned, confused, and unwilling to stick around. 

However, your customer feels prioritized if your onboarding team picks up the communication thread as soon as the sales handoff happens. And if your team can proactively offer information, advice, and a clear path forward, your customers will probably feel excited to move forward through implementation.

The B2B roadmap to an engaged, successful and happy customer
When you think of the three keywords in the title – engaged, happy, successful– which one seems the most significant? Actually, the only one that really matters is success. Once you have a strong roadmap for customer success, those other traits will naturally follow.

Mistake 3: Not prioritizing your customer’s success

Your customers chose to work with you because they believed your products would meet their needs and help them reach their goals. And if that happens, your customers will likely stay loyal for the long term. But if not, they’ll probably look elsewhere.

The mistake that many companies make is relying entirely on their products to support their customers’ success.

Developing effective solutions is crucial, but your customers’ success also relies on your implementation process.

You can’t just deliver the product without adequate training and setup; you need to develop an onboarding process that ensures your customers get all the benefits of your product as soon as possible.

Mistake 4: Making customer engagement difficult

Lack of engagement is another strong contributor to customer churn. A client should feel like an equal partner in the provider/customer relationship. If they don’t, it’s far easier for them to leave for a competitor simply they feel will prioritize them and their success. 

Engagement must start during onboarding. A  successful implementation process requires buy-in from the customer. After all, they must complete training, engage with onboarding personnel, and actively participate in all the tasks required to integrate your product into their workflow fully.

The solution is to make it easier for your customers to engage with your team from day one. That means simplifying communication and proactively encouraging clients to participate in onboarding. Once things are fully operational, you can facilitate continued engagement by soliciting feedback and checking in regularly to ensure things are working well.

Mistake 5: Not identifying problems early

Customer loyalty can be challenging to obtain, especially in competitive industries. And one of the reasons is that customers often have high expectations of their service providers. They place a high value on service and experience; surveys show that over half of U.S. customers will leave a provider after several bad experiences, and nearly one-fifth will leave after just one.

So it may be too late if you wait to fix an issue after it’s already affected your customers. It’s far better to proactively look for and address potential issues before they impact your customers. 

Start with your onboarding process; try walking through it from your customer’s point of view so you can identify issues they experience. When you find issues like complicated instructions, lack of communication, and confusing procedures, you can fix them immediately so your customers never have to deal with them.

Mistake 6: Inefficient task management

Working with customers often takes the form of a project, especially during onboarding. So it’s crucial to have a solid, effective project management system in place. If your team and customers are unclear on their responsibilities, they may not get things done correctly or on time, which leads to missed deadlines, lost revenue, and a poor customer experience.

Start by developing a project management plan for onboarding. That’s often the most task-heavy time in the provider/client life cycle, so if you have a system to manage that, you can repurpose it to handle other customer projects later. 

What drives effective task management? A detailed plan, clear dependencies, balanced responsibilities, and an infrastructure that facilitates good communication. A traditional project management tool or CRM can help with these things, but these solutions are often unnecessarily complicated, which can hamper the onboarding process.

GUIDEcx is a dedicated onboarding platform that incorporates essential task management functionality without unnecessary features that overwhelm participants and slow the process.

Mistake 7: Lack of transparency

Working with customers is a partnership. Your customers need to have crucial information and insight into certain aspects of your operations to get the full benefits of your products. This is especially true during onboarding; customers should have a clear view of the implementation process from start to finish, so they can clearly understand their responsibilities and know what to expect.

Unfortunately,  many companies make the mistake of keeping their operations behind a curtain. While this is a wise way to protect proprietary information and keep customers from seeing occasional mistakes and errors from your team members, it keeps your customers in the dark about everything. Rather than giving them a “magical” experience of seeing results, this approach usually makes customers feel confused and underprioritized.

The answer is to increase transparency. That doesn’t mean sharing proprietary information or giving customers access to sensitive internal conversations. Rather, it means sharing all the information your customers need — none of the details they don’t. Give your customers a clear view of the implementation process (including tasks and dependencies), access to on-demand training materials, and an easy way to communicate with your team.

How to improve your customer communications | 14 strategies
Strong customer communication isn’t just nice to have – it’s a must for business success. Discover 14 ways to improve your customer communications.

Mistake 8: Not optimizing the customer experience

What do all of the previous mistakes have in common? They contribute to an unpleasant, inefficient, and frustrating customer experience, the kind of customer experience that causes churn. 

The foundation of reducing churn is improving the customer experience, starting from the first day of onboarding. That means developing an implementation process incorporating efficient task management and transparent communication procedures that encourage customer participation and make it easy for your team to identify and mitigate problems early.

Reducing churn starts with improving onboarding

It’s not just the quality of your products that encourages your customers to stay with your brand. Retention starts from day one of the implementation process.

In fact, 50% of all churn happens in the first 60 days, so finding and addressing issues in the onboarding process is crucial. By optimizing implementation, you prove to your customers that you’re invested in their success and give them the best chance to experience all the benefits of your products.

GUIDEcx is a reliable customer onboarding solution that simplifies and streamlines implementation for your team and customers. Our platform facilitates clear communication, improves transparency, and promotes efficient task management. With GUIDEcx, your team has the tools to finish onboarding projects on time and ensure that your customers are set up for success. 

Book a demo today to learn how GUIDEcx can improve your onboarding experience.