Recently in the startup ecosphere, the idea of one on one onboarding has been getting some attention. The email startup company Superhuman made a surprising move by forcing new customers into a one on one onboarding session to be able to use their product. We wondered how they could justify the costs and do they have an endless supply of money? At first glance, the CAC consideration seems ludicrous. So how can it be made viable to spend time with each customer on a scalable solution?  Superhuman has no doubt done their research and discovered several benefits. 

Let’s take a deeper dive to see what’s going on. 

A fundamental principle of new technology adoption is that when a customer has quality engagement time in a product, they are made to be much more comfortable with using it. So when a startup spends its time onboarding new customers they are overcoming the barriers with the users being activated.  Overcoming activation, therefore, increases user retention as a follow on effect. So the customers are more grounded,  understand what they are doing, are more likely to come back, and continue on down that path. 

This increase in retention leads to more engaged user time. Having more regular and active users adds to the lifetime value (LTV) of that customer. It’s like a whirlpool effect or a magnet brushed over iron filings. It picks up more as its motion. 

However, in contrast, using this same one on one approach for a one-time fee product, where a longer-term customer life cycle can not be expected, may not be viable. 

Another swish outcome of this whirlpool effect is how a closer customer relationship provides many more upselling opportunities. It’s much easier to say to the customer, “Hey, remember how much we made your life better/faster/easier with this product, well we know you’re going to love our new fully automated robot-cleaning robot product. ” 

If you’ve ever dealt with acquiring customer feedback online, you know what a tricky problem it can be—especially when rolling out new to market software solutions.  It’s a given that most users will churn, and almost all of those who left will not tell you why. It could be something as little as a button was hiding on certain devices. Or a workflow that is back to front. Spending this close time with the customer while they are in action allows crucial feedback that can otherwise be difficult to source. 

Many of the support requests for early-stage startups come from customers not being able to do what they want to do. But using this somewhat in-your-face, and annihilate them with kindness, support, quickly darts those problems on the head.  The users will be well educated and almost fully activated by the time the meeting is over. 

While the startup’s support person closely interacts with the customer during the session, it creates a synchronous channel of feedback. It shows what onboarding aspects are not clear enough. So the startup now has a close-up feel for the changes needed to the onboarding system so it is more appropriate for the customer’s needs. 

The time spent personally onboarding customers offers a vast array of benefits for startups. These interactions and the connections formed are not just between the customer and the product. It is also between the customer and the startup teams during the pow-wows. So overall, I give it a +1 . 


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