Why customer experience must always begin with onboarding

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This article is part of our Process 101 guide.

‘First impressions count’ is an old adage in life that is arguably truer in business than anywhere else. In our personal lives, we are generally prepared to give people a second chance (or more) if they are unfriendly when we first meet them.

It does depend just how unfriendly they were of course, but most of us would still probably write it off as someone having a bad day and they would have a clean slate in our view of them as a person. Is that the same for our initial interactions and engagements with businesses though?

This blog post looks at the importance for small businesses of creating a good first impression with customers, which usually takes place during onboarding. This is an area with potential to go wrong, which is why good processes are so important. To find more information, check out our template library that has pre-built onboarding templates ready for you.


You can only make a first impression once

If you walk into a shop for the first time, and the sales assistant is rude in some way, perhaps ignoring you and chatting to a colleague, would you still make a purchase from that store? You might do, if that was the only place you could get a certain item, but most consumers wouldn’t have a favourable opinion of that shop, which would have plenty of ground to make up to instill future loyalty.

Similarly, if a small business recently agreed to become a new client of a local accountancy firm, but when they called up to check something the receptionist had no idea who they were, they may well be questioning their decision to work with that particular accounting firm.

Any business can only make a first impression once. In today’s era of the empowered consumer, with more choice of products and services than ever before, any SME should be certain that the first impression they create is a positive one, or face the prospect of that customer going elsewhere.

The importance of good customer experience

For many small businesses, the first impression they create is very much tied into the customer onboarding experience. This is the overarching term to describe the set of processes that new customers go through when they begin their journey with a new provider and it is hugely important, potentially defining the entire on-going relationship from that point onwards. 

It’s essential for small businesses to get customer onboarding right, but it’s also something that not all of them do. The reason that they don’t, mostly comes back to one main point – a lack of documented and accessible processes for SME employees to follow.

The importance of process during customer onboarding cannot be overstated. beSlick research earlier in 2019 revealed that 43% of SME employees say their company has lost customers because of failed processes, so getting onboarding right can have a profound impact on turnover, cash-flow and the bottom line.

How process delivers first-class onboarding, every time

The goal for any SME is for each new customer to be onboarded in the same way, receiving excellent service and ensuring that everything is captured that needs to be. Each stage of this relies on process, from answering the phone to completing the sign-up form, and from sending the welcome email to putting in a check-up call. 

That’s why process management tools such as beSlick are becoming such an essential tool for small businesses all over the UK. By documenting and capturing processes around customer onboarding, ensuring those processes are accessible by all that might be involved in onboarding and making them collaborative and easy to update should they require it, SMEs know that every time they onboard a customer it will be done correctly and as they want it to be done.

The value of a good customer onboarding experience is huge and can set the tone for the entirety of the future relationship with that customer. It cannot be left to chance and everyone involved in customer onboarding should be crystal clear as to what they should do, when they should do it, and how.


The only way to do this successfully is to use a process management tool. To check out our customer onboarding process, follow the link below.

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