Nine out of ten customers agree that companies could do better when it comes to onboarding new customers. That means there's room for improvement and nowhere to go but up.
Along with refining existing onboarding processes, the future of customer onboarding leaves room for innovation in both technology and customer support.
Let's take a look at some ways customer onboarding could evolve over the next several years.
Current Trends in Customer Onboarding
Many businesses are already finding ways to incorporate automation into the customer onboarding process, leverage omni-channel services, and simplify the customer experience.
Let's review each of these trends in more detail since they're likely to continue into the future.
Increased Use of Automation
Automation is a big trend in customer service and that includes onboarding. Most commonly, businesses use automated messages and trigger emails to seamlessly move customers through the sign up and onboarding process.
That welcome email you receive immediately after signing up for a product or service is a great example —like this one from TikTok.
Aside from welcoming new customers, this email includes tips to help the customer personalize their experience on the app and get to know the different in-app features.
Automation takes the manual work out of introducing customers to a product or service, and it helps free up internal time and resources.
And with nearly 70% of customer service decision-makers planning to invest in increasing automation, it's here to stay and will definitely evolve over time.
More Consistent Omni-Channel Services
Omni-channel is another trend that is a big churn-reduction factor for new customers. By creating an omni-channel experience, you're giving customers access to your products and services on all channels and devices.
Take Peloton as an example. As shown below, you can sign up for an account and access classes on your phone and on the bike itself.
Plus, your account is linked between devices so your information is consistent regardless of which channel you're using.
Today, 71% of customers want a consistent experience across multiple channels. So as more become available, customers will be expecting you to meet them where they are throughout the onboarding process.
Simplified Customer Sign-Up Experiences
Another crucial part of customer onboarding is the account sign up and sign in process. The simpler, the better. And Canva does a really nice job of simplifying the account access experience for customers.
Like Canva, many companies are offering easier ways for new customers to access their products and services. This includes sign ups via multiple channels (e.g., Google, Facebook) and new password recovery options (e.g., texting/emailing a one-time code for access).
Positive customer experiences result in 20% higher customer satisfaction rates, and making things easy for customers is a big piece of the puzzle.
So this is also a trend that will only continue to grow.
To build off the current trends in customer onboarding, let's now take a look at some of the emerging and future trends to prepare for.
Emerging and Future Trends in Customer Onboarding
Today, one in three leaders believe that building new-generation digital platforms to help customer-facing teams work better is a top digital investment priority.
Given this insight, it's likely that innovative tech — like the metaverse, biometrics, and artificial intelligence —will influence customer onboarding in the future.
More on each of these below.
Collaboration in the Metaverse
Ah, the metaverse. Customer service in the metaverse has the potential to become the next big thing. And with it, we could see some of the benefits apply to customer onboarding too.
For example, as shown in the video below, Metashift by Helpshift is already making it possible for mobile game customer service teams to provide real-time support for users directly inside of augmented reality (AR) experiences.
Strivr has also introduced VR customer service training which allows new reps to immerse themselves in real-life customer scenarios and practice interactions before doing it live.
With new digital universes and realities, the possibilities for supporting and training customers during onboarding are endless.
Improved Biometrics Systems
The use of biometrics identifiers like Face ID are common with banking apps, especially as an option to make sign in easier for customers. Like the Capital One example below.
More sophisticated biometrics systems could also support the future of customer onboarding.
If you can identify a customer through their facial or fingerprint recognition, that could eliminate the need for identification paperwork and help increase customer data security.
And what if voice recognition becomes the new account access standard?
As biometric technology advances, customer onboarding will too.
Enhanced Artificial Intelligence
Just recently, Walmart introduced a virtual try-on experience that allows you to "be your own model" when shopping for clothes online.
As shown in the image below, you can take a photo of yourself and apply different clothing styles directly to your silhouette.
AI solutions like these are making it easier for customers to access products and services from the comfort of their own home. And AI goes a step further by letting people "physically" try things on for size (and fit) before making purchase decisions.
The AI application could prove to be beneficial for onboarding because it gives customers even more autonomy to make informed choices as they get to know your brand.
The Future of Customer Onboarding Is Bright
While that one customer (out of ten) is satisfied with customer onboarding today, the other nine customers are ready for more.
The future of customer onboarding is going to look different depending on your business, your industry, and your desire for customer growth. Now's the time to invest in your onboarding practices to ensure you're turning your post-purchase customers into lifelong brand promoters.