How Can a Customer Support Team Help in Customer Onboarding?

One of the most frustrating experiences is to finally win a customer, only for them to stop using your service after a few weeks or months. You spent all that time and money trying to win them over, and the result suddenly vanishes.

While there are plenty of reasons for this, one of the biggest is your customer onboarding. If your new converts don’t know what to do or how to use your product or service, then they’re not likely to stick around.

That’s where a support team can make a major difference. They can stand in the gap between a new customer and loyal customer and walk as many people as possible through the initial uncertainty.

Let’s take a quick look at the two major ways that your support team can help your customer onboarding and boost long-term loyalty to your brand.

1. They Shorten the Path to First Success

If you want to be successful when onboarding customers, you can’t center your efforts on your companies goals, policies, or ideas. You have to focus on meeting and exceeding your customers’ expectations.

And when you look at the process of winning a new customer, you need to think of it in terms of two major milestones:

1. When the user starts using your product
2. When they finally have their first success with your product

The gap between those two milestones1 is where your onboarding process steps in, and where a customer support team is essential.

It’s up to you to take your customer from acquisition to first success, as it will affect your relationship long after.

While you can always do your best to make the process painless, sometimes issues arise where support is needed. Or in some cases, all you need is a friendly face that can greet your customer and let them know they’re not alone.

Streamlining your onboarding process and having a team of professionals who can clearly explain the process is an essential part of this effort. But if you don’t have a support team in place to aid onboarding, it could lead to a negative experience and no quick wins at all.

As the first line of contact, your customer support can be the bridge that brings your customer to their ‘aha moment’ when they understand the power that your service gives them. This moment clears up all doubt and shows them that they need to stick around.

But the key is to invest in your support team so that they can help provide an engaging and meaningful onboarding process. Without them, you can’t give your customers what they need.

It also means considering how you plan to hand over your customers from your sales and marketing team to your support team. If they abruptly lose contact with your sales team or your customer service manager, it could make them feel abandoned.

That’s why you need to ensure that your support team, sales, and marketing teams are working together to provide full-fledged support.

Once the customer is finally onboarded, they’ll be comfortable with your organization and the support team. As everything comes together, your team will be able to help your customers overcome both large and small problems in the onboarding process.

They’ll also ensure that your customers find the information that they need to succeed, and can subtly nudge customers closer to their first success. That means they turn potential failures into loyalty wins, and you’ll retain your customer for a long time.

2. They Bring Human Connection to Your Onboarding

Getting your first win is essential and can’t be understated, but it’s not the only way your customer support helps with onboarding.

A good customer support team will also create a human connection with your brand. They’ll be the first point of contact if something breaks, so instilling trust is essential if you want to keep customers around.

With that in mind, let’s look at the four traits your support teams bring to your onboarding to ensure lasting results.

#1 They’re a Source of Empathy

Empathy in customer service is when you can share and understand the feelings that your customers are going through. It’s ‘putting yourself in their shoes’ and evaluating how they feel before offering advice.

The ability to empathize with your customers and the issues they’re facing is a huge part of effective customer service. But many businesses fail to do this. They try to center the process around the product instead of people.

Choosing empathy does make an impact though.

For instance, the electronics e-commerce business Swappa has made empathy the central part of their service philosophy. Their mantra is ‘step on the other side of the keyboard’, and it’s turned their company culture into a customer-centric one. Putting yourself in your clients’ shoes helps deepen your connection and potentially keeps them around longer than they would stay without your team’s help.

#2 They Make Positivity the Face of Your Brand

When your customers run into problems, they often don’t know they need a solution. They simply try to look for more information. Responding with negativity in these situations could turn an innocuous problem into a major one.

That’s why a positive attitude is essential for a customer service team and can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your onboarding. This will dictate your customer’s view of the company in the long term. Speaking with negative language could make a customer feel undervalued, whereas a positive spin on an issue could deliver the opposite effect.

But your main focus with a customer service team should be to provide positive experiences in potentially negative situations.

Giving tools, advice, and adding positive touches will create a better image of your brand.

You can also coach your team to stay calm with distressed customers because a positive experience with a customer service representative may keep them around and win their loyalty.

The ability to keep cool and remain positive can’t be understated.

#3 They Bring Patience to Tough Situations

Speed isn’t everything when it comes to service. Often, your customers would rather have a problem fixed for good rather than receive a temporary workaround.

That’s why great service beats fast service almost every time. Some situations require patience and a willingness to listen to your customer’s issues.

Even if your customer does not know how to communicate what’s going on, your support team can stick with them and humanize your brand in a way that fosters loyalty.

#4 They Build a Foundation of Communication

The way you communicate with customers during onboarding makes a huge difference in their decision to either stay or leave. And often, the differences between good and bad communication can be subtle.

For instance, packaging bad news is often best when it’s followed up by good news. Or, using the ELI5 (explain like I’m five) technique could help break down complex issues.

Training your team to understand the difference takes time, but it can help improve the success of your onboarding in the long run.

Without a trained support team, you run the risk of someone saying the wrong thing.

For instance, you don’t want to say these phrases:

– What’s your problem?
– I’m sorry for what that department did.
– Can you repeat that?
– I need more details to understand your problem.
– You can find the details for this problem on our website.
– There’s nothing I can do.

All of these phrases can make the customer angry, frustrated, or upset with your support and service.

Instead, your team can say phrases like this that help keep the conversation moving towards a resolution:

– How can I help you today?
– I apologize for the tough spot we put you in.
– I understand how frustrating that is.
– It would be great if you could tell me a bit more about the problem.
– Have you already tried this solution? If yes, then…
– Don’t worry. I’ll find that out for you.

But without support training, which you likely can’t give to your non-support staff, the negative phrases could come naturally.


Customer support teams may seem like an unnecessary expense, but they can help your onboarding efforts drastically. By shortening the path to first success, they make it easier for customers to see the value of your product or service. This can keep them around long-term and keep your customers loyal.

They also humanize your brand. They bring empathy, positivity, patience, and good communication to the interactions that need them the most.

Not having a dedicated support team means you run the risk of disenfranchising your customers over minor experiences.

But with better onboarding and optimized support, you’ll have happier customers, better revenue, and much less churn.

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