Customer Success Onboarding Checklist Do’s and Don’ts

May 31, 2022

When I started my first business, I had no idea how important customer success onboarding would be. I quickly learned that it’s one of the most critical components of a successful business! Without a solid onboarding process, customers can get frustrated and give up on your product or service before they even really get started. That’s why I’ve put together this customer success onboarding checklist.

It includes all of the essential elements you need to create a smooth and successful experience for your customers from start to finish. By following these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to keeping them happy and engaged with your company for years to come!

Customer Success Onboarding Checklist

A customer success onboarding checklist is a list of items that should be completed to ensure a smooth and successful customer onboarding experience.

This might include items such as sending a welcome email, providing training materials, and scheduling check-in calls.

By having a checklist, you can be sure that you’re covering all of the bases and providing the best possible experience for your new customers.

Ultimate Guide to SaaS Customer Onboarding

First, let’s look at the three types of onboarding processes.

1. Self-Service Onboarding

A self-service onboarding is a great way to start using a product. With this type of set-up, you can supply customers with a guide or walk-through to get them started, then let them do the rest on their own.

Many apps and social media networks use this method to help users get started. After going through a few introductory steps, the user is left to their own devices.

2. Low-Touch Onboarding

With low touch, you allow customers to get up and running with your product with minimal input from you. This could include adding in things like in-app product tours, checklists, step-by-step interactive walkthroughs, and tutorials.

With a low-touch approach, some customer support options are available, but no dedicated person is assigned to a single client.

This would be a good model to use when selling a product that requires multiple steps but doesn’t require too much customer interaction.

A low-touch approach to customer success can help get customers set up quickly. Many SaaS companies such as Zoom, Shopify, and Canva have implemented this tactic with great success.

3. High-Touch Onboarding

For products that are complex to set up, high touch can be a great way to provide personal, one-to-one support. Often, you’ll create custom materials to help customers get started.

This method of onboarding is focused on providing a personalized experience that meets the specific needs of each customer. This often includes creating custom onboarding materials to help them get the most out of your product.

Allbound’s approach to training new reps is a great example of a high-touch approach.

When you sign up with Allbound, you’ll be asked to complete several training modules. This includes a kick-off session where you’ll discuss future topics in a virtual meeting.

Their training is very thorough and they offer an extensive self-service knowledge base to supplement it.

Why Customer Onboarding is Important

Increasing your customer retention by just 5% can drastically increase your profit by 25% to 95%.

A proper customer onboarding process can greatly improve your customer retention rates. By walking them through each step of using your service, you can ensure that they’re getting the most out of it.

More than 66% of SaaS companies have customer attrition rates that are above 5%, which hinders their growth.

The best way to make sure your product lives up to the promises your sales team made is to build out a customer onboarding experience that becomes part of your company’s standard procedures.

After a customer makes a purchase, you should begin the onboarding process which is meant to acclimate them to the product.

How you onboard your customers is indicative of how your relationship will progress. While your process may differ, the fact of the matter is it is more expensive to get new customers than it is to keep existing ones.

After the sale, it’s crucial to focus more on customer retention.

No matter how great your product or service is, if customers don’t know how to use it, they’re not going to be interested.

Your customers have already taken a liking to you and your product, so making things easy for them is key to maintaining a good relationship. By providing excellent customer service and meeting their needs, you’ll only solidify that first impression.

Client Onboarding Checklist

To help you with your client onboarding process, I’ve created a client onboarding checklist that covers six key admin tasks.

Make a copy of it, customize it, and refer to it whenever you get a new client.

If you’re looking to cut time out of your client’s onboarding process, automation is the way to go. We’ll walk you through every step of the process and offer some tips on how to automate it.

In the middle of a new client project, it’s natural to forget about all of the little things that need to be done. Having a written process for new clients to follow will make things a lot easier.

You save time, show off organization skills, and free up brain space for the work you get paid to do.

1. Send Welcome Documents

The welcome stage in your onboarding process sets the foundation for your relationship with your customer. It’s where you set the tone for expectations.

When reaching out to a new client, it’s important to balance providing information about yourself and gathering information about them.

Sending a “Welcome” email to new contacts is a great way to do this.

Use this document to detail your sales process, introduce the members of your sales team, and outline your billing terms.

After you’ve sent your prospect the introductory email, the next step is to send them an Intake Form.

2. Settle All Legal Requirements

The fewer things you need to remember in the contract and non-disclosure agreements, the easier it will be for you. Having a clear process and system will also show that you are on top of your game, even if you’re having a caffeine-induced panic attack.

Your client’s legal department may have an NDA or a contract for you to sign.

If the client doesn’t answer, you have to wait for them to do so.

When setting up your new client’s contract, it’s probably best to use an eSigning app to automate the process. This will not only save you a ton of time but will ensure that your clients’ documents are properly prepared and signed.

Always keep a copy of any agreement you make with your clients in your project management app. That way, you’ll have a backup copy if anything happens with the original.

3. Get Your Finances in Order

Doing some administrative work upfront ensures that you get paid on time and that you don’t have to chase your clients.

Depending on your clients, your responsibilities will vary. For instance, you may have your own accounting software that you manage yourself. However, you may also have to work with your client’s preferred method of paying you.

Tax season means having to send over client information, like a W-9. You’ll also want to keep track of agreed-upon rates with clients, and where those rates are.

If you need to receive money upfront, now’s the time to set up that. This will ensure you’re paid on time.

4. Open Communication Lines

Any freelancers or agencies that have worked with clients or collaborators that ghosted them know how important it is to set clear expectations for response time. Establishing a communication channel early on also helps.

If your clients prefer the same communication channels as you, then there shouldn’t be too much to set up.

If you work with clients across multiple platforms, you may want to add their contact information to your client list on whichever platform they use.

Once you’ve finished creating the new account, create a specific place in your email account or messaging app where you can keep all communication related to the new client. This will make it much easier to stay organized and keep track of everything.

5. Set Up Your Project

Now that you’ve nearly completed your onboarding process, it’s now time to get everything set up for work.

Once you’ve created a new client, you’ll want to create a space for them in your project management system. You can do this by creating a Google Doc, Notion Page, or Monday Board, or by adding them to a Trello or Todoist list.

The steps for adding projects to a client’s workflow will vary from company to company, so use this customizable outline as a guide.

Working with your project manager isn’t always ideal, but it’s sometimes necessary.

You’ll also want to keep track of the tasks that are assigned to you, as well as add deadlines if you have them.

If you want your clients or team members to be updated on the progress of a project, you can automate your workflow to send them a message on your Slack channel. This allows them to get updates on the project without having to contact you.

6. Share Away

Whatever you’re selling, you’ll likely have to send over some documents, like sales pitches, articles, personalized workout plans, or anything else.

All that’s left to do is send the recording over to the customer—and then just refresh your email as you wait for a response.

You can wait until the end of the workday, or you can do it before.

Your clients might have their own separate folders or workspaces where files that are ready to be sent reside.

If you have a dedicated client-ready area, you can let your clients know they can access that. You can set up automation so that whenever a new file is uploaded, your client is notified.

At the end of the project, you can allow the client to view or edit the work.

Customer Onboarding Checklist

While the process of getting a new customer set up can be long, it doesn’t need to be difficult.

This standard onboarding checklist is an excellent launching point to refine and update your process.

1. Welcome Email

Once a customer has purchased your product, send them an email welcoming them to the team. Be sure to let them know how pleased you are they chose you and that you appreciate their business.

2. In-App Greeting

On your mobile app or website, the first screen that a user sees should be a welcome page that welcomes them, sets up their account, and shows them how to do one thing.

For new subscribers, the first welcome message is paired with a video or animation that explains how to best use the product.

3. Feature Highlights

When new users first use your product or service, make sure to have quick tips that highlight key functions. These aren’t full tutorials but should serve as an introduction to what they need to know.

4. Complete Interactive Walkthrough

A product tour is a more in-depth tutorial that teaches your customers how to use all of the features of your product or service.

This walk-through could either be a video or live online/in-person training. This would ensure your customers get the most out of the product.

5. Knowledge Base

6. Check in regularly

As you help new customers get set up, be sure to check in with them regularly, answer their questions, and provide them with any bonuses or extra info they may need. Doing so will set them on the right track to success.

7. Celebrate Success

Celebrate your customers’ success by sending them congratulatory emails when they hit a new milestone. You can congratulate your customers on their success by sending an in-app message, email, or quick phone call.

Do’s and Don’ts of Customer Onboarding

Don’t forget that customer onboarding is an ongoing process. As your company and product offerings evolve, so too should your onboarding program.

Do make sure that everyone who plays a role in customer onboarding is on the same page, knows their responsibilities, and has the necessary resources.

Don’t overlook the importance of a smooth handoff from sales to customer success. A good transition will set the tone for the entire relationship and help ensure a successful outcome.

Customer onboarding is an important process that can make or break a new customer’s experience with your company. By taking the time to study previous situations, solicit feedback, and ensure that everyone involved is prepared, you can increase the chances of success.

Do some research about past customer experiences to see what worked and what didn’t. When possible, reach out to the customers directly to get their input.

Customer feedback is essential when it comes to improving customer experience. Studying past situations and soliciting customer feedback will help you better understand what worked and what didn’t.

Do make sure that your customer onboarding process is as streamlined and efficient as possible. Customers should be able to get started quickly and easily without any confusion.

Don’t forget to follow up with customers after they have completed the onboarding process. Check in to see how they are doing and if they have any questions or concerns.

Don’t settle for the standard customer onboarding process. Instead, try adding videos, gifs, or other creative ideas to wow your new customers.

Do focus on creating a seamless experience for your customers. By making it easy for them to get started, you can reduce frustration and increase satisfaction.

Don’t overlook the importance of customer onboarding. This is your chance to make a great first impression and set your customers up for success.

Do revisit your onboarding process to ensure it’s still effective. Monitor adoption and churn rates closely to gauge the success of your onboarding process.

Customer-centricity is at the heart of every great customer experience. Your entire company should be focused on helping your customers be successful.

Don’t forget about measuring your processes. By monitoring the KPIs that matter, you can ensure that you’re delivering the best possible experience to your customers. It’s important to regularly review your processes and make changes when necessary. However, don’t become so rigid in your processes that you are unable to adapt to unique situations or customer needs. Above all, remember that your customer is the center of your universe – everything that you do should be centered around helping them succeed.

Don’t get too bogged down in one particular onboarding process. While it’s important to have a process and checklist, unique customers or situations may call for slight changes.


If you’re looking to improve your customer success onboarding process, this checklist is a great place to start. By following this simple customer success onboarding checklist, you’ll be well on your way to keeping them happy and engaged with your company for years to come!

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