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Customers ghosting you? Four ways to stop ghosting now.



Your customers don’t show up for meetings. They don’t complete their required tasks during onboarding. They don’t respond to your messages and calls. How do you stop customers ghosting you? These are common challenges haunting Customer Success and Onboarding teams.


Ghosting is a colloquial term which describes the practice of abruptly ending communication and contact with another person without warning or justification. Ghosting is exasperating because the person doing the ghosting disengages completely. Many customer facing teams are at their wits end endeavoring to connect and communicate with customers who ignore them. To ensure customers show up and use your product take advantage of these four antidotes to ghosting: start onboarding earlier, employ success plans, communicate with visuals, and most importantly deliver value.


  1. Start onboarding earlier. When companies ask me how to solve issues with onboarding, implementations, and disengaged customers I tell them to start onboarding earlier. You’ll know you need to start onboarding during the sales cycle when onboarding and implementation teams are detained by unprepared and even unaware customers. My Orchestrated Onboarding® Framework starts with the Embark stage. During the sales cycle you show new customers the path to success, and you set expectations early so they know what's needed to partner with you. Front-loading onboarding means you don’t catch the people you work with off guard. Instead, they are equipped to roll up their sleeves and take on the tasks to reach success.

  2. Use visuals. It sounds simple, but a few basic visuals really do make a difference when working with customers. Your users are likely overwhelmed in the early days of purchasing a new solution and all that it entails for their business. When you throw long task lists and complicated requirements at new customers, they can’t process the information. They go into cognitive overload and shut down, which is why they stop replying to your messages. That’s where visuals come in. If you want to engage customers, you need to align with how people process information. I’m sure you know the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” That’s because the human brain processes visuals up to 60,000 times faster than text. Research shows that people pay attention, understand what you tell them, and use that information effectively when you show them images. Start with basic images that show the journey you are on together, then build on the pictures as the journey advances. In addition, include simple diagrams that illustrate the integrations and connections required to go live with your product. It’s easy to get started with the smart art features in most presentation applications. You might check out one of my favorite tools, Canva.

  3. Success plans. Success plans guarantee a smooth onboarding and implementation for both you and your customers. A success plan is a single place to capture customer goals and your plan for reaching them. The plan is a document that includes best practices and quick wins, while addressing gaps and risks. Success plans are so important I use them when working with companies. I capture the roles and responsibilities, address potential risks, define an escalation process, and then act when blockers appear. Success plans help you gain agreement on the big picture with teams on the customer side before you get stuck in the weeds of configuring, integrating, and customizing. Most importantly, success plans provide a place to address concerns and risks that might throw the project off the rails. Download my Success Plan template to use with new and existing customers.

  4. Deliver value. At the end of the day, it’s essential to deliver value to your customers. Value is the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. Just because a company buys your product, just because you go live, does not mean they find your product useful. During onboarding your goal is to deliver value as quickly as possible. Even small achievable wins to celebrate along the onboarding journey make a difference. I guarantee you will not experience ghosting when customers gain benefits right away.  Every time your customers receive value, they get an endorphin hit. Endorphins are chemicals that help to relieve pain or stress, and boost happiness. And the more endorphin going on in their brain, the more delighted they are to be working with you and using your product. Your customers will show up for meetings and partner with you to be successful. The reality is, using your product may not seem all that exciting to customers. But, receiving value as quickly as possible is very invigorating.


It’s time to shift your mindset from meetings, implementations, and going live with your product. Instead, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. When people know what the future holds, they are present for the path forward. When you break down onboarding and implementations into digestible pictures they can relate to, they won’t feel defeated. Success plans are key for cooperation and collaboration. And most importantly, you won’t be haunted by ghosting when you deliver value from day one. I can help.




Originally published on the TaskRay Blog



DONNA WEBER is the world’s leading expert in customer onboarding. For more than two decades, she has helped high-growth startups and established enterprises turn new and existing customers into loyal champions. Her award-winning book is Onboarding Matters: How Successful Companies Transform New Customers Into Loyal Champions. Learn more at donnaweber.com.





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