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Now is a great time to re-onboard your existing customers.



It’s no secret that acquiring and onboarding new customers is expensive and time-consuming. But just keeping your customers is not enough. For you or your customers. You need a re-onboarding strategy that ensures your continued growth and compounding revenue, and also keeps customers leveraging your solution for the long term. In this article I define what re-onboarding is and then provide four practical ways to re-onboard existing customers now.


Why you need customer re-onboarding

In the world of SaaS and subscriptions the reality is that with every new customer you bring on board, there’s an opportunity for both expansion and referrals sales every time you make a new sale. That equals at least three sales in one when you keep new customers around long enough. As a result, a re-onboarding strategy is a must-have if you want your company to keep growing.


What is customer re-onboarding?

Re-onboarding means engaging your existing customers. You deliver benefits to take their business to the next level. It includes creating and delivering a value journey that helps customers dive deeper and broader into your solution so they reach their current and future goals and you reach yours.


The benefits of customer re-onboarding

When you help customers get to the next level, you ensure your company gets to the next level as well. Here are the benefits of a re-onboarding strategy:

  • Increase in customer and employee satisfaction

  • Increase in customer retention

  • Increase in customer lifetime value

  • Increase in NRR, which is great for a “land and expand” strategy

  • Increase in customer referrals

  • Increase in product adoption and usage

  • Decrease in customer acquisition costs

The figure below highlights how the bulk of the revenue “cake” comes from existing customers while new revenue is the “icing” on the top of the cake. Of course, it takes time to build to this state, which is why you need to re-onboard existing customers right from the start. Otherwise, you will never keep all those customers paying you year after year. The investment pays off, though, because as little as a five percent increase in customer retention produces more than a twenty-five percent increase in profits.



4 ways to re-onboard customers now

Below are four ways to start re-onboarding your existing customers:

  1. Turnaround. It’s never too late to turn around ailing customers. Maybe you have customers who were never onboarded in the first place or had a poor onboarding experience. If you got off to a rocky start, don't worry; now's the time to set things right. Re-engage with challenging customers and find out what they want and need to gain benefit from your solutions. Act as if you don’t know anything about them. Be curious and then listen without getting defensive, especially when they gripe about how things have been. Find out what will make things right and then take the right action to get things on track. Start with simple approaches so they obtain value quickly.

  2. Build new relationships. Your customers have probably had massive employee turnover since they first acquired your product. Champions and users have come and gone several times, and the new stakeholders and users are struggling to grasp your solution. Whether their business has grown or dwindled since they first signed with you, new teams, users, and regions need your help to learn and adopt your product, and that equals potential expansion for you.

  3. New goals and directions. Priorities and goals have changed dramatically in the last six months, and you have an obligation to find out how your customers are doing these days. Presumably, their goals and objectives have changed from their initial onboarding. Find out what their toughest challenges and biggest priorities are, then partner to be part of the solution. Capture the current goals and desired outcomes in a new or updated Success Plan, which is also helpful for turnaround customers.

  4. New products and features. Do existing customers know how to gain benefit from all the features and products you rolled out since you initially onboarded them? Just like your customers haven't been standing still, your business and your solutions are constantly evolving. It’s your responsibility to ensure they keep growing with you. Webinars and courses, whether live online or self-paced, are a valuable way to onboard existing customers to new products and features at scale.

Who owns re-onboarding?

It really doesn’t matter who owns re-onboarding. The key is to be proactive and prescriptive, regardless of who is engaging with a customer. The teams you want to include in a re-onboarding approach are Customer Success Managers, Marketing, Customer Education, Onboarding, and Implementation, see the image below. Building a cohesive and seamless experience results in engaging the right role at the right time. For example, the Customer Success or Account Manager take the lead because they are already focused on the business relationships with customers. Customer Marketing teams engage with specific collateral on the benefits of new products, then Onboarding and Implementation teams are looped in to customize and implement the new solution. Next, the Customer Enablement and Education teams ensure customers know how to use the new solution and may stay engaged to drive adoption.



What to name re-onboarding?

Be careful how you identify re-onboarding with your customers. In my webinar with TaskRay on Customer Re-onBoarding, Sunny Harmon, TaskRay’s Vice President of Customer Success, shared that customers don’t like the name “re-onboarding;” they worry they were never onboarded in the first place. As a result, TaskRay calls their re-onboarding offering Optimization Packages, which start with a reverse demo to see how customers actually use the product. The Customer Success teams then provide guidance to obtain greater results. Reverse demos are also a useful way to learn from customers because they might be benefiting from your product in ways you never imagined.


Optimizing the customer journey

Employing a re-onboarding strategy for existing customers is crucial for your sustainable growth and increased revenue. While acquiring new customers is important, your profitability is delayed due to customer acquisition and onboarding costs. By re-engaging with existing customers, delivering additional value, and addressing their needs, you ensure customers reach their goals and you reach yours. Turn around your ailing customers. Connect with new champions and users. Build new relationships and be part of the solution. Tap into the untapped potential of your existing customer base and build long-lasting relationships that drive continuous growth and profitability.



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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