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31/10/2018 The importance of customer onboarding

Onboarding is a phrase you hear more and more but what does it really mean? Often used in the context of inducting new employees, it is now being increasingly used to describe the process of familiarising a new customer with a business’s products or services. Yet it goes beyond that. It’s your opportunity to get to really understand your customer and their needs.

Why is it so important to get it right?

Choosing a mortgage broker will have been a big decision for your customer. You want to reassure them that they have made the right decision straight away. The onboarding process should start as soon as they’ve signed up with you. You need to be seen to be delivering what you’ve promised so provide plenty of follow-up support. First-time buyers in particular may be confused by the whole process and unsure what to do next.
You also want to capitalise on their experience while it is fresh in their mind in the hope they will recommend you to others (more about referrals later). Build on the excitement of the early days before it just becomes about monthly mortgage repayments. Encourage them to think of what you’ve enabled them to do.

Be a listening broker

Don’t just throw random information at your new customer. Listen to their needs and concerns. Your aim is to make the experience as smooth as possible for them. Each customer has a unique set of circumstances so the more you can tailor your offer to their particular needs the better. Try and personalise your communications.

Keep in regular communication

The customer shouldn’t feel that the last they’ll hear from you is when they sign on the dotted line. If onboarding is done correctly, it should be the start of an ongoing relationship. They need to feel that you’re accessible and that they can ask you any questions they may have. Think about your communication strategy and set up regular touchpoints. Do you send out a monthly newsletter? Have you got a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) where you can set up reminders for renewals?

Make them feel special

The onboarding process needs to seem genuine and meaningful. We’ve all experienced it when you go out for a meal and at some point are asked, ‘How is your food?’ by a harrassed waiter. They certainly don’t give the impression they really want an answer. It’s important you don’t look like you’re just going through the motions. This is your chance to make your customers feel special and for you to stand out from your competitors.

If you’ve heard about the ‘attract, convert, close and delight’ marketing tool, make sure you’re not abandoning the process at the ‘close’ stage. You need to be ‘delighting’ your customers once they’ve signed up with you. It’s often the small things that will make a big impression. At Accord, for example, we introduced complimentary welcome hampers for home movers at their new property with a card addressed from their broker. 68 per cent of brokers stated that they believe their customer is more likely to recommend them to family and friends as a result of receiving the welcome box.

Referrals

Delight your customers and they will become your biggest advocates. This is a particularly powerful way of getting new business as according to Nielsen, 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. A happy customer is also likely to come back to you with more business if they’re moving again or are considering remortgaging. When you think about how much time, money and effort it takes to get a new customer, doesn’t it make sense to ensure you onboard them well, so that not only will you get repeat custom but also referrals to their friends and family?