As a whole, we need to get better about creating customized experiences for our customers. We’d like to propose the next evolution to onboarding: Inboarding.

Do you ever have those moments where you wake up one morning and something is sticking so strongly in your mind that it causes you to notice everything about a particular topic?

Call it lack of sleep or an 8-month-old interrupting my REM cycles, but that has been happening to me a lot lately. And it all has to do with trying to build a better onboarding experience for customers.

One morning over my second (maybe third?) cup of coffee, it struck me: we do an awful lot of work trying to learn more about our prospective customers before they actually become customers. Through various tools like marketing automation and content-based marketing, we gather information that we try to prove useful after conversion is made so that we understand our customer better.

But once they’re onboard, most customers receive the same cookie-cutter onboarding system communications as every other customer. Usually the only differentiator is based on the products and services the customer did or did not open or apply for at the time of conversion.

Persona-Based Inboarding Begins Here

I propose a shift in the way we think about onboarding customers. What if, instead of the same cookie-cutter, customer after customer, design we call onboarding, we customized the experience for them? That the customer’s experience was so specific to them they couldn’t help but do more business with us? What if we shifted our thinking in such a way that we needed a new name for this process? Let’s call it Inboarding.

Through digital tools and market segmentation, we collect enough information on our prospective customers to be able to build a customized inboarding experience for them once they become our customers. And chances are, even if we are fortunate enough to have a new customer walk through our doors unannounced and start a new relationship, we have enough demographic information on them to start them in a customer segment, assign them a persona and let them begin their inboarding journey.

The Inboarding Fun Doesn’t Stop There

Inboarding is just the beginning of observing our new customers’ habits and adjusting the remaining experience from there. Perhaps, for some customers, the process extends itself as they exhibit different target segment characteristics, buying habits or usage trends than originally thought.

We learn so much more about our customers in the first 3-6 months after they’ve become our customer. In real-world terms, it’s a lot like the start of a new dating relationship. We may glean a lot of information from Facebook profiles and Twitter accounts after a first date, but the rubber meets the road after we’ve spent some time together – when we get to share some experiences. Sometimes, we have to change our habits to accommodate a new person in our lives. The process to get to know a customer and adapt to their style should also be this engaging and fluid.

Your customers are making decisions about their finances with rapid fluidity, and so your onboarding inboarding program needs to flow with them. Delivering a customized inboarding experience based on the customer’s persona segmentation not only enhances the customer journey but increases the chances of successful and deeper cross-sales in the future.


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