Category Archive : Service

Ever experienced a tech problem that restarting your device just doesn’t fix? We’ve all been there. If you love fast resolutions like I do, you’ll do a quick Google search related to your problem. As long as the device manufacturer has done its job right, you’ll find a solution within seconds — on the company’s knowledge base.

Over the years, I’ve visited hundreds of knowledge bases, and I’ve helped design and write plenty, too. So what have I got to show for it? More product information and the ability to tell good knowledge bases from bad.

If you’re curious about knowledge bases, stick around. I’ll explain what they are and why you need them. Then, I’ll share the best help desk knowledge base examples to show you what an excellent knowledge base should look like. Let’s dive in.

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Table of Contents


What is a Knowledge Base?

A knowledge base is a hub for information related to a company’s product or service. There are no clear-cut rules for the type of content a knowledge base must contain. What’s more, it’s often called help, support, or documentation.

Regardless of what a knowledge base is called, here’s what you can expect to see:

  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs).
  • Informative articles about a business (e.g., blogs).
  • Troubleshooting guides (e.g., how to fix a Microsoft Word error code).
  • Step-by-step guides (e.g., how to change my password).
  • Complete user manuals for products or services (e.g., iPhone user manual).

These examples are relevant to customer-facing knowledge bases, but you can also have internal knowledge bases for your employees. For example, your company could have a knowledge base that covers onboarding, work policies, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and guides for using software or machines.

Most companies you interact with online will have some type of knowledge base, which they may have built using knowledge base software. Before I share some stunning help desk knowledge base examples, let’s look at why they’re important to businesses today.

Why Your Company Needs a Knowledge Base

Whenever I have an issue with a company’s product or service, I almost always head to their knowledge base for solutions. In most cases, I don’t even have to contact customer support at all.

Most customers are like me. We prefer finding solutions ourselves. It saves us the time we’d otherwise spend submitting tickets in hopes of getting a quick resolution. With an effective knowledge base, you can meet customers’ needs without wasting too much of their time and your support team’s time.

When I spoke to Amanda Gulley, chief of product and user experience for EdPlus at Arizona State University, she agreed that a knowledge base is no one-trick pony. She said, “An intuitive knowledge base is not just a tool for information dissemination; it’s a strategic asset that significantly enhances customer satisfaction and organizational efficiency.”

Not convinced you need one yet? Here are the key benefits of creating a knowledge base:

Around-the-Clock Support

While your support team sleeps, your knowledge base can help customers fix their problems and learn more about your products. Think of your knowledge base as an extension of your customer support team that’s available 24/7.

Quick Resolutions

I like a fast solution to my tech problems, and most of the time, I don’t really mind if it comes from an explainer video, a how-to article, or a support representative. Sure, it’s nice to chat with a real human, but it’s also great to have a problem fixed without a support ticket.

Boosting SEO

A well-structured and expertly written knowledge base is a great marketing asset. If you provide high-quality information that benefits customers and general audiences, Google could reward your knowledge base content with high rankings.

More Time for Support Teams to Focus on Complex Issues

While your knowledge base helps users solve simple problems, your support team can devote time to urgent, high-impact issues. Don’t forget that your support team can also link customers to knowledge base articles, saving even more time and resources.

Gain Powerful Insights

If your knowledge base software provides reporting and analytics features, you can discover valuable information about customer trends and pain points. Plus, you can spot areas of your products or services that confuse new customers.

1. HubSpot

Since you’re on the HubSpot website ( … great to have you here!), is it safe for me to assume you know a bit about what HubSpot does?

Here’s the gist if you arrived through a Google search: HubSpot is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, meaning it provides a suite of tools that helps businesses grow while prioritizing their customers. Whatever tool or hub (e.g., marketing, sales, or operations) you’re interested in, HubSpot Knowledge Base is a great place to learn about it.

You’ll find plenty of images to help you navigate through your chosen tool. And then, there’s HubBot, the friendly AI chatbot on the right side of every page, eager to answer your “how-to” questions.

HubSpot Knowledge Base offers various information sources, including Help Center and Documentation.

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What I like: HubSpot Knowledge Base makes it super easy to find any information I need. I love exploring the handy search bar, the quick list of all product/service categories, and even the glossary. But most times, I simply hop on a chat with HubBot to get answers faster.

HubSpot Glossary defines common terms used in HubSpot tools.

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2. Slack

Slack is a workplace messaging app that’s used by 77 of Fortune 100 companies. I’m no stranger to Slack’s iconic messaging sound and its stunning brand colors — I’ve used it to communicate with teams in different companies. But how does its knowledge base stack up?

Slack Help Center provides all the information you need to understand the app.

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Slack’s knowledge base displays a prominent search bar as well as direct links to common troubleshooting topics. It also has shortcuts that help users save time — I just found out that pressing the “Up” key lets me edit my previous message.

What I like: I find Slack pretty intuitive, so I don’t use the knowledge base very often. That said, I think the short YouTube explainer videos in some sections of the knowledge base are great for explaining Slack to new team members.

3. Confluence

As a collaboration and knowledge sharing tool for companies, you’d imagine that Confluence’s knowledge base would be a sight to behold. Spoiler alert: it is.

Confluence Resource Center offers product guides, demos, and more.

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If you’re thinking of using Confluence to create your own knowledge base, visiting this Resource Center is a must. You’ll see what a great example looks like, and you’ll learn the steps and best practices for knowledge base setup.

Beyond the clear and helpful main page, you’ll find well-structured documents containing all the information you need, alongside high-quality images and GIFs.

What I like: I think Confluence’s knowledge base is a great example of how marketing efforts can slot into an information site. Alongside easy-to-access demo videos and product guides, Confluence adds customer success stories to reel you in.

4. Apple

When something goes wrong with my iPhone, I usually head straight to Apple’s knowledge base, which links to great YouTube video tutorials with subtitles for enhanced accessibility. And, if I can’t find what I’m looking for, the knowledge base conveniently directs me to human support.

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What I like: Apple displays all its products in its self-service knowledge base, letting users choose the products they’re interested in. I love how this filtering mechanism ensures I only see relevant content when I select “iPhone.”

5. Amplitude

Amplitude aims to make digital analytics accessible to every business, and to achieve this, it needs a solid knowledge base for users to turn to.

Apple Support showing various Apple devices and how to solve common issues.

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Amplitude’s help desk knowledge base has a user-friendly layout that’s easy to navigate, providing a great customer experience. If you’re new to this platform, the “Start Here” section is the ultimate guide to get you up and running.

What I like: Amplitude categorizes common questions under five main sections, which makes it easy for me to find the solutions I need.

6. Airbnb

Love it or hate it, Airbnb is a huge player in the tourism industry, and the company has made it super easy to book vacation rentals. With its knowledge base, you can find answers to common questions, whether you’re a long-term guest or looking to start an Airbnb.

Airbnb’s knowledge base helps with reservations, accounts, and more.

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I played around the knowledge base and found that the most popular topics appeared as suggestions when I clicked the search bar. Impressively, these lists differ depending on whether you’re a guest, host, experience host, or travel admin.

What I like: Airbnb prominently displays in-depth content related to anti-discrimination and accessibility policies, tips for avoiding scams, and advice on what to do in an emergency.

7. 1Password

1Password is a top password manager that’s trusted by millions of customers, including 100,000+ businesses. If you’re just getting started, you’ll find everything you need once you hit the “Start Here” button. For more experienced users, the knowledge base offers useful tips on getting the most from 1Password, like using apps, browser extensions, and vaults.

1Password Support is a great help desk knowledge base example.

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What I like: When I navigated to the support hub (i.e., knowledge base), the option to contact support directly was right there in front of me. This was refreshing — some companies seem to bury their contact information to discourage you from getting in touch.

8. Canva

This popular design platform has over 170 million active users. Without a great knowledge base, Canva’s support personnel would be inundated with questions on everything from templates to teams.

Canva’s knowledge base lets you browse by topic.

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For creatives, this is one of the best knowledge base examples out there. I’ve learned a lot from Canva’s Design School tutorials, and the blog is a great resource of relevant information for designers, marketers, and businesses of all sizes.

What I like: Canva’s knowledge base has drop-down menus that provide all the information I need, from designing to sharing my creations. The Design Spotlight section is particularly useful for creating website and social media images.

9. Google

As the world’s top search engine with a market share of 90.91%, Google provides customer self-service options through an extensive knowledge base.

Google’s knowledge base content for Chrome, YouTube, and more.

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Instead of a table of contents, the knowledge base displays a group of icons associated with popular Google products and services (e.g., Chrome, Gmail, and YouTube) for consumers, businesses, and developers.

What I like: The support homepage is on-brand and uncluttered — with a few simple clicks, I can find whatever Google service I need help with.

10. Netflix

Generally, Netflix works well for me, so I rarely have to head to its knowledge base. If my TV binge session is interrupted by technical issues, it’s usually something I can fix with a quick refresh.

When I do need to look up Netflix support, it’s usually due to suspected password sharing or using Netflix on too many devices (I’m innocent, Netflix!).

Netflix’s knowledge base with search bar.

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I noticed that the account and billing section is high up on the knowledge base, which makes sense to me — it’s pretty much the only section I need to read. Once you click a section heading, you’ll find a drop-down list of useful explainer articles.

Personally, I’d like to see snippets of these articles displayed here, but I don’t have any major issues with the bare-bones layout.

What I like: I really appreciate that a section of Netflix’s knowledge base lets me suggest TV shows or movies. It means I can hold out a tiny bit of hope that they’ll take my suggestions on board.

11. OpenAI

Open AI, the company behind ChatGPT, has a good knowledge base that’s mostly dedicated to account information and using ChatGPT. As you might expect, the company uses an AI chatbot as a knowledge base tool.

openai-1

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When I browsed some knowledge base articles, I was impressed to see that they were recently updated. The knowledge base makes effective use of hyperlinks within articles, which helped me navigate to sections of interest.

What I like: OpenAI’s knowledge base is transparent about the limitations of ChatGPT, including its Western bias and the fact that it can be very convincing while providing incorrect information. I think new users should study ChatGPT’s knowledge base to ensure they’re using the tool effectively.

12. Asana

Asana is a work management platform with features such as workflow automation and project management. Its knowledge base has a clean layout with lots of whitespace, and the chatbot powered by Forethought AI is a nice addition.

Asana’s knowledge base, which is the ultimate guide to this product.

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But, the benefits of this knowledge base extend beyond a minimalist layout and chatbot charms. Asana provides helpful use cases, screenshot-assisted help articles (I love these!), and even courses on the product, including self-paced, pre-recorded, and live training.

What I like: I think the explainer videos in Asana’s knowledge base strike a great balance between funny and informative. Even if you don’t plan on using Asana, check out these videos to see how knowledge bases can have real entertainment value.

13. Dropbox

If you’re among the 700+ million people who use Dropbox, you might have used its knowledge base to find solutions to common issues like syncing, sharing, and organizing your files.

Like many of the best knowledge bases, the search bar is at the top of the page. When you click on it, you’ll get suggestions for top searches, guiding you to the solutions you seek.

Dropbox’s knowledge base provides information on apps and integrations.

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What I like: This knowledge base prominently features the Dropbox Community Forum, which I’m a big fan of. It has specific groups for beginners, photographers, and musicians — shout out to Community Manager Graham for some great posts on music-related topics.

Stay Relevant with Tech Trends

In my examples of help desk knowledge bases, you might have noticed that many companies use AI chatbots to share knowledge — this is no coincidence. Businesses are reworking their knowledge bases in response to technological advancements, making them much easier to manage and navigate.

While I think AI is a great addition to knowledge bases, it’s no substitute for expert-backed content. Ideally, AI should complement rather than replace your support team.

If you’re interested in creating your own knowledge base, check out the examples I’ve provided to see what your competitors are doing. But don’t forget — your customers will ultimately decide if your knowledge base is useful.

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You probably can recall at least a handful of times when you’ve waited on the line to speak to customer service while calling a bank or your internet provider. The longest I’ve waited was 40 minutes — after which my call was automatically dropped. How did that make me feel? Upset, to say the least.

 

Luckily, nowadays calling isn’t your only option to get in touch with brands. Most businesses offer a digital customer experience and offer multiple communication channels to choose from (thank you, technology!).

Without a doubt, online customer service will only continue to grow in importance — and AI will pave the way.

Benefits of Digital Customer Service

1. Boosting Service Quality by Analyzing Feedback

Interacting with clients through a digital channel has one major advantage over face-to-face contact, i.e., you automatically retain a record of your communication.

Now, consider a period like last year. Think of all the chatbot interactions that took place during this time, all the emails you’ve exchanged, or the customer satisfaction surveys you’ve run. This data is a goldmine, which can help paint an accurate picture of your clients.

The great thing is that AI can help you analyze all these vast records for you. It can derive information on the most common customer concerns, or what they say they particularly love — or dislike — about your business. Better yet, you could also set up automatic surveys in the future to continue gathering information.

42% of respondents in HubSpot’s State of Service 2024 report say that they already do this to learn how they can improve their customers’ experiences.

2. Improving Response Time

I can still remember how many hours I’ve spent listening to music while waiting on hold after calling a business. It’s hard to believe that it was the only way to get in touch with many local businesses just a decade ago.

Luckily, this is now a tale of the past — in big part, thanks to AI. To manage customer queries at scale without sacrificing quality, you can set up a chatbot and train it on your FAQs and knowledge base. This lets you automate answers to the most common questions. You’ll only need to engage a customer service member if the topic truly requires human expertise.

If you’re wondering if it pays off to invest in such tools, the short answer is — yes. In our report, 92 percent of specialists say that introducing AI and automation speeds up response times. And half of those respondents described the acceleration as “significant.”

3. Reducing Customer Effort

In my opinion, this benefit deserves special recognition. Let me tell you a story.

Before becoming a marketer, I co-ran an online bookstore that offered a premium service — finding collector’s editions at small stores across the globe and shipping them to the customer.

There was one client who dreamed of a Japanese photo album but knew it was nearly impossible to find it as an individual. He reached out via email and we exchanged a few messages, back and forth, over the course of a few weeks.

He said that he appreciated the opportunity to contact the store online, as he was currently in a completely different timezone and wouldn’t be able to make a phone call. The ability to speak to me asynchronously was the reason why he decided to shop through the bookstore.

This example shows that not all digital customer service interactions must be around instantaneous communication. While a massive advantage in most cases, some clients will appreciate the flexibility that comes with messaging a business and replying at their own pace.

4. Meeting Customer Expectations and Improving Satisfaction

Back in the day, calling customer service was the only option people had. But times have changed drastically, and clients now have plenty of other channels to choose from. They can go with email, live chat, or messaging apps like Facebook.

If brands want to keep their customers satisfied, they must offer multiple communication channels and be available 24/7 — and that’s where self-service comes in.

This is something that a lot of businesses are already aware of. In fact, 64% of companies surveyed by HubSpot say they will increase their investment in self-service options.

5. Establishing Global Reach

Digitizing customer service has another major benefit, and that is offering global reach. Companies can now provide customer support without having a physical office or employing hundreds of people in every market they serve.

Thanks to the use of technology they can effectively answer queries irrespective of where their customers are. What’s more, they can retain the same standard of customer service, which positively reflects on their brand image.

According to HubSpot’s State of Service report, 88% of businesses were able to scale their customer service operations thanks to the use of AI.

Digital Customer Service Examples

Live Chat

digital customer service, live chat

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Our report found that 42% of respondents currently use live chat, i.e., an online chat with a human representative on the other side. And out of them, 90% agree that they’re effective in serving customers at the right standard.

What I like: Personally, I don’t like speaking on the phone, so my favorite thing about live chat is that I can get an answer to my query fast, without calling customer service. And my conversation isn’t available to a third party, unlike when I use social media. It’s the perfect option for those who don’t fancy phone interactions but also don’t want to wait long for an email reply.

Chatbot

digital customer service, chatbotImage Source

In terms of popularity among customer-facing teams, AI chatbots are right up there next to live chat. Our study found that they’re currently used by 37% of global service specialists.

And this number is set to grow. 71% of respondents told us that they plan to grow their investment in this communication channel.

What I like: They’re available round the clock, so customers can try to find answers to their questions without waiting for your support team to come to work the following day. Chatbots have saved me several times. Not that long ago, I had an issue with my website and it turned out I could fix it myself quickly with the help of a helpful AI assistant. Genius!

Knowledge Base

digital customer service, knowledge base

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Having a knowledge base is another important self-service feature, right next to chatbots. It’s a collection of the most important information, such as FAQs, an introduction to your specific services or features, and quick step-by-step instructions. Customers can easily navigate the categories — or chapters — to find the topic they’re interested in.

Perhaps you’re wondering if customers really want to fix issues themselves. Our State of Service report found an answer to this question.

According to the companies we surveyed, 55% of customers say that they actually prefer to self-serve than wait for a real-life agent.

What I like: Investing time in setting up a knowledge base pays off for both sides. Clients can find answers to their questions, while the brand minimizes the number of incoming communication.

Social Media Management

digital customer service, social media management

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Currently, over 5 billion people use social media — half of the world’s population. So, it’s hardly surprising that many customers prefer to communicate with brands via Facebook or X, and expect to get their answers quickly. According to our report, 34% of customer service pros use AI to monitor social media for customer service-related issues.

What I like: Social media allows for more personalized communication. Brands can even use a bit of humor at times, which reduces distance and helps to build better relationships with customers. Also, companies can use insights shared by customers to improve the brand experience.

Digital Customer Service Tools

1. HubSpot Service Hub

digital customer service tools, hubspotImage Source

Service Hub brings together all your customer service data and channels into one CRM platform, making it easy to support and grow your client base.

You can connect your live chat, emails, chatbot, and customer feedback tools, among others, and bring all customer messages and tickets into a single place. This is also where you and your team manage all ongoing communication. That’s right — no more back-and-forth between channels.

By clicking on a customer’s ticket, you can assign a specific customer service representative to the query. You can also access all the messages, phone calls, and other interactions that have taken place between the customer and your service team so far.

Unsurprisingly, Service Hub also hits the top marks when it comes to AI and automation features. You can create automation rules, such as which types of topics should be assigned to a specific agent or scaled to the customer service team lead.

However, my absolute favorite feature is HubSpot AI, which is a great assistant for customer service teams. One of the things it can help you with is rephrasing your reply.

You can turn a terse turn of phrase into a more conversational, heartfelt, or professional tone of voice. This can be a blessing, particularly if you’re handling a difficult issue or are simply having a bad day but want to ensure you’re empathetic and professional.

What I like: Service Hub covers all the use cases I could possibly think of, drawing on my experience as a customer service team member. I particularly love all the handy sidebars and options, like inserting knowledge base articles, answers to FAQs, or rewriting messages with AI for better impact.

All this happens within the chat text field. Bonus points for allowing customer service to enhance knowledge base articles live, based on their interactions with clients.

2. Ada

digital customer service tools, adaImage Source

Ada is an AI-powered customer service automation platform, which features a generative AI agent that is able to answer client queries accurately and in real-time.

It’s fast and can come up with relevant responses every single time, thanks to the use of Ada’s Reasoning Engine. It offers personalized responses, learns from previous customer interactions, and can be deployed across multiple digital channels without worrying about losing communication consistency.

What I like: Ada’s ability to understand specific needs and provide answers, which aren’t generic but personalized, is impressive. It makes customers feel valued. It’s always available and ready to assist, so you don’t have to wait in a queue, listening to one tune for 10 minutes (or longer). And the fact that you can deploy it across various channels without compromising response consistency or accuracy is just great.

3. Intercom

digital customer service tools, intercom

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It’s hard to find a customer service pro who hasn’t heard of Intercom. It’s an AI-first customer service solution, which among others features a live chat, chatbots, and targeted messaging capabilities. Their Fin AI Agent provides 24/7 support and is able to resolve 50% of support volume instantly.

What I like: What’s truly amazing about Intercom is that it’s a complete service platform that caters to clients, agents, and leaders alike. Their AI agents answer queries quickly and only pull answers from your support content — so you don’t have to worry about accuracy.

The AI Copilot makes pulling answers really easy, and you can even change the tone of voice to make it sound more like you. And it’s got access to all the questions and answers that have been generated in the past so you can get a more accurate response. When you want to raise a ticket, their AI automatically describes the issue, which is a real-time saver.

4. Help Scout

digital customer service; Help Scout is an example of a digital customer service platform

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Help Scout lets you bring all your client communication into one platform and keep a handy record of previous conversations. Among others, you can add tags and internal notes to client messages to make it easier to handle communication now and in the future.

This communication platform also lets you set automation rules that will accelerate the time to resolution. For example, if a customer asks a question about international shipping, you’re able to automatically draw relevant information from your FAQs.

I also appreciate the fact that the platform is keeping up with the times and uses AI to help the support team. Among others, you can ask AI to read a long email, or even an entire thread, and condense it into a high-level summary.

It can also adjust your tone of voice or message length.

What I like: One feature that caught my eye is ‘real-time collision detection.’ It shows you if someone else is also replying to a request or viewing it, preventing you from sending two responses. This could happen if you handle tens or hundreds of messages every day.

Digital Customer Service — Multichannel is The Way to Go

Each customer has their own preference — I, personally, really dislike calling brands. Whenever possible, I go for email or chat, but I can’t say the same of my parents. They’ll always choose to speak to a brand over the phone. It’s how they’ve been getting answers to questions for decades.

Less-tech-savvy clients will tend to choose face-to-face and calls, but Millenials and Gen-Z will prefer getting things done on screen.

What I recommend is choosing an omnichannel communication approach, so that you can resolve issues for everyone, faster and more efficiently.

New call-to-action

You probably can recall at least a handful of times when you’ve waited on the line to speak to customer service while calling a bank or your internet provider. The longest I’ve waited was 40 minutes — after which my call was automatically dropped. How did that make me feel? Upset, to say the least.

 

Luckily, nowadays calling isn’t your only option to get in touch with brands. Most businesses offer a digital customer experience and offer multiple communication channels to choose from (thank you, technology!).

Without a doubt, online customer service will only continue to grow in importance — and AI will pave the way.

Benefits of Digital Customer Service

1. Boosting Service Quality by Analyzing Feedback

Interacting with clients through a digital channel has one major advantage over face-to-face contact, i.e., you automatically retain a record of your communication.

Now, consider a period like last year. Think of all the chatbot interactions that took place during this time, all the emails you’ve exchanged, or the customer satisfaction surveys you’ve run. This data is a goldmine, which can help paint an accurate picture of your clients.

The great thing is that AI can help you analyze all these vast records for you. It can derive information on the most common customer concerns, or what they say they particularly love — or dislike — about your business. Better yet, you could also set up automatic surveys in the future to continue gathering information.

42% of respondents in HubSpot’s State of Service 2024 report say that they already do this to learn how they can improve their customers’ experiences.

2. Improving Response Time

I can still remember how many hours I’ve spent listening to music while waiting on hold after calling a business. It’s hard to believe that it was the only way to get in touch with many local businesses just a decade ago.

Luckily, this is now a tale of the past — in big part, thanks to AI. To manage customer queries at scale without sacrificing quality, you can set up a chatbot and train it on your FAQs and knowledge base. This lets you automate answers to the most common questions. You’ll only need to engage a customer service member if the topic truly requires human expertise.

If you’re wondering if it pays off to invest in such tools, the short answer is — yes. In our report, 92 percent of specialists say that introducing AI and automation speeds up response times. And half of those respondents described the acceleration as “significant.”

3. Reducing Customer Effort

In my opinion, this benefit deserves special recognition. Let me tell you a story.

Before becoming a marketer, I co-ran an online bookstore that offered a premium service — finding collector’s editions at small stores across the globe and shipping them to the customer.

There was one client who dreamed of a Japanese photo album but knew it was nearly impossible to find it as an individual. He reached out via email and we exchanged a few messages, back and forth, over the course of a few weeks.

He said that he appreciated the opportunity to contact the store online, as he was currently in a completely different timezone and wouldn’t be able to make a phone call. The ability to speak to me asynchronously was the reason why he decided to shop through the bookstore.

This example shows that not all digital customer service interactions must be around instantaneous communication. While a massive advantage in most cases, some clients will appreciate the flexibility that comes with messaging a business and replying at their own pace.

4. Meeting Customer Expectations and Improving Satisfaction

Back in the day, calling customer service was the only option people had. But times have changed drastically, and clients now have plenty of other channels to choose from. They can go with email, live chat, or messaging apps like Facebook.

If brands want to keep their customers satisfied, they must offer multiple communication channels and be available 24/7 — and that’s where self-service comes in.

This is something that a lot of businesses are already aware of. In fact, 64% of companies surveyed by HubSpot say they will increase their investment in self-service options.

5. Establishing Global Reach

Digitizing customer service has another major benefit, and that is offering global reach. Companies can now provide customer support without having a physical office or employing hundreds of people in every market they serve.

Thanks to the use of technology they can effectively answer queries irrespective of where their customers are. What’s more, they can retain the same standard of customer service, which positively reflects on their brand image.

According to HubSpot’s State of Service report, 88% of businesses were able to scale their customer service operations thanks to the use of AI.

Digital Customer Service Examples

Live Chat

digital customer service, live chat

Image Source

Our report found that 42% of respondents currently use live chat, i.e., an online chat with a human representative on the other side. And out of them, 90% agree that they’re effective in serving customers at the right standard.

What I like: Personally, I don’t like speaking on the phone, so my favorite thing about live chat is that I can get an answer to my query fast, without calling customer service. And my conversation isn’t available to a third party, unlike when I use social media. It’s the perfect option for those who don’t fancy phone interactions but also don’t want to wait long for an email reply.

Chatbot

digital customer service, chatbotImage Source

In terms of popularity among customer-facing teams, AI chatbots are right up there next to live chat. Our study found that they’re currently used by 37% of global service specialists.

And this number is set to grow. 71% of respondents told us that they plan to grow their investment in this communication channel.

What I like: They’re available round the clock, so customers can try to find answers to their questions without waiting for your support team to come to work the following day. Chatbots have saved me several times. Not that long ago, I had an issue with my website and it turned out I could fix it myself quickly with the help of a helpful AI assistant. Genius!

Knowledge Base

digital customer service, knowledge base

Image Source

Having a knowledge base is another important self-service feature, right next to chatbots. It’s a collection of the most important information, such as FAQs, an introduction to your specific services or features, and quick step-by-step instructions. Customers can easily navigate the categories — or chapters — to find the topic they’re interested in.

Perhaps you’re wondering if customers really want to fix issues themselves. Our State of Service report found an answer to this question.

According to the companies we surveyed, 55% of customers say that they actually prefer to self-serve than wait for a real-life agent.

What I like: Investing time in setting up a knowledge base pays off for both sides. Clients can find answers to their questions, while the brand minimizes the number of incoming communication.

Social Media Management

digital customer service, social media management

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Currently, over 5 billion people use social media — half of the world’s population. So, it’s hardly surprising that many customers prefer to communicate with brands via Facebook or X, and expect to get their answers quickly. According to our report, 34% of customer service pros use AI to monitor social media for customer service-related issues.

What I like: Social media allows for more personalized communication. Brands can even use a bit of humor at times, which reduces distance and helps to build better relationships with customers. Also, companies can use insights shared by customers to improve the brand experience.

Digital Customer Service Tools

1. HubSpot Service Hub

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Service Hub brings together all your customer service data and channels into one CRM platform, making it easy to support and grow your client base.

You can connect your live chat, emails, chatbot, and customer feedback tools, among others, and bring all customer messages and tickets into a single place. This is also where you and your team manage all ongoing communication. That’s right — no more back-and-forth between channels.

By clicking on a customer’s ticket, you can assign a specific customer service representative to the query. You can also access all the messages, phone calls, and other interactions that have taken place between the customer and your service team so far.

Unsurprisingly, Service Hub also hits the top marks when it comes to AI and automation features. You can create automation rules, such as which types of topics should be assigned to a specific agent or scaled to the customer service team lead.

However, my absolute favorite feature is HubSpot AI, which is a great assistant for customer service teams. One of the things it can help you with is rephrasing your reply.

You can turn a terse turn of phrase into a more conversational, heartfelt, or professional tone of voice. This can be a blessing, particularly if you’re handling a difficult issue or are simply having a bad day but want to ensure you’re empathetic and professional.

What I like: Service Hub covers all the use cases I could possibly think of, drawing on my experience as a customer service team member. I particularly love all the handy sidebars and options, like inserting knowledge base articles, answers to FAQs, or rewriting messages with AI for better impact.

All this happens within the chat text field. Bonus points for allowing customer service to enhance knowledge base articles live, based on their interactions with clients.

2. Ada

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Ada is an AI-powered customer service automation platform, which features a generative AI agent that is able to answer client queries accurately and in real-time.

It’s fast and can come up with relevant responses every single time, thanks to the use of Ada’s Reasoning Engine. It offers personalized responses, learns from previous customer interactions, and can be deployed across multiple digital channels without worrying about losing communication consistency.

What I like: Ada’s ability to understand specific needs and provide answers, which aren’t generic but personalized, is impressive. It makes customers feel valued. It’s always available and ready to assist, so you don’t have to wait in a queue, listening to one tune for 10 minutes (or longer). And the fact that you can deploy it across various channels without compromising response consistency or accuracy is just great.

3. Intercom

digital customer service tools, intercom

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It’s hard to find a customer service pro who hasn’t heard of Intercom. It’s an AI-first customer service solution, which among others features a live chat, chatbots, and targeted messaging capabilities. Their Fin AI Agent provides 24/7 support and is able to resolve 50% of support volume instantly.

What I like: What’s truly amazing about Intercom is that it’s a complete service platform that caters to clients, agents, and leaders alike. Their AI agents answer queries quickly and only pull answers from your support content — so you don’t have to worry about accuracy.

The AI Copilot makes pulling answers really easy, and you can even change the tone of voice to make it sound more like you. And it’s got access to all the questions and answers that have been generated in the past so you can get a more accurate response. When you want to raise a ticket, their AI automatically describes the issue, which is a real-time saver.

4. Help Scout

digital customer service; Help Scout is an example of a digital customer service platform

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Help Scout lets you bring all your client communication into one platform and keep a handy record of previous conversations. Among others, you can add tags and internal notes to client messages to make it easier to handle communication now and in the future.

This communication platform also lets you set automation rules that will accelerate the time to resolution. For example, if a customer asks a question about international shipping, you’re able to automatically draw relevant information from your FAQs.

I also appreciate the fact that the platform is keeping up with the times and uses AI to help the support team. Among others, you can ask AI to read a long email, or even an entire thread, and condense it into a high-level summary.

It can also adjust your tone of voice or message length.

What I like: One feature that caught my eye is ‘real-time collision detection.’ It shows you if someone else is also replying to a request or viewing it, preventing you from sending two responses. This could happen if you handle tens or hundreds of messages every day.

Digital Customer Service — Multichannel is The Way to Go

Each customer has their own preference — I, personally, really dislike calling brands. Whenever possible, I go for email or chat, but I can’t say the same of my parents. They’ll always choose to speak to a brand over the phone. It’s how they’ve been getting answers to questions for decades.

Less-tech-savvy clients will tend to choose face-to-face and calls, but Millenials and Gen-Z will prefer getting things done on screen.

What I recommend is choosing an omnichannel communication approach, so that you can resolve issues for everyone, faster and more efficiently.

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This Week’s Poll

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If Sales and Marketing are your business’s vehicle, AI and customer success are the drivers. Without your customers succeeding with your product or services, your sales and marketing efforts will eventually fall flat— or worse, you’ll lose your loyal customer base.

Recently, I needed help troubleshooting my spotty internet connection. My internet service provider uses an AI chatbot to guide customers through the most obvious fixes. If those solutions fail to fix the issue, a live agent picks up the conversation to continue providing in-depth support.

I liked the addition of the AI chatbot. Sometimes, fixing my internet connection is as simple as resetting my modem. The AI chatbot saved me and a live agent time, which I appreciate.

Download Now: The Annual State of Artificial Intelligence Report

So, how can you improve your customer experience and keep your customers happy? By creating a dedicated customer success team and giving them a secret weapon for success: AI.

In this post, we’ll discuss how AI can improve your customer success efforts, plus give you a list of AI tools to try today.

Table of Contents:

The State of AI in Customer Success

Generative AI is a useful technology for customer success teams. AI works by parsing large data sets through an algorithm and then making predictions and decisions based on patterns within the data set.

AI has many applications, from content marketing to sales forecasting to fraud detection. Customer success managers can use AI to help gather data and improve the quality support of support their teams provide to their clients. That’s why 62% of business leaders have already invested in AI and automation tools. They know that AI can help their teams be more productive.

For customer success teams, AI can make all the difference in ensuring the success of their strategy. AI tools can help provide customer self-service and act as the first point of contact for clients with service-related issues.

In fact, 42% of customer service pros who use AI and automation tools say that AI chatbots that respond to customer service-related issues are very effective. And 33% of customer service professionals say that AI tools that monitor social media for customer service-related issues are very effective, too.

Moreover, 94% of customer service professionals say AI improves the customer self-service experience. Also, 57% of customers prefer to engage digitally with companies regarding customer service.

Given those stats, it makes sense to incorporate AI into your customer success strategy. Let’s look at the benefits of using AI in customer success.

The Benefits of Using AI in Customer Success

61% of customer service professionals expect to use some form of AI in their job in 2024. For those customer service pros who are ready to embrace AI, they’ll quickly discover some of the benefits of using AI in their customer success strategy.

Here are three major benefits you can expect when you pair AI and customer success together.

Better Data Analysis

AI is helpful for quickly parsing and analyzing data. In fact, 45% of marketers use AI for data analysis. Customer service professionals can do the same using the same techniques and tools. And that’s why 62% of customer support representatives say that AI tools help them understand their customers better.

Using AI tools to complete data analysis, which usually takes several hours, will save your customer service reps significant time. Plus, they’ll gain valuable insights into how their customers feel about your products or services.

Better Customer Experience

42% of customer service pros think AI tools that help them collect and analyze customer feedback significantly improve the customer experience. But that’s not all. 66% of customer support specialists agree that AI and automation tools can help personalize the experience customers get with their company.

A personalized customer experience is vital to customer success and gaining a loyal customer. AI tools can help provide custom recommendations based on past interactions and provide proactive solutions to problems a customer may experience.

Save Your Reps Time

One of AI’s most significant benefits is that it’s a major time saver. 78% of customer support specialists agree that AI tools and automation can help them be more efficient. Aside from saving your customer service reps time in data analysis, it can also save time in other job duties.

For example, reps using chatbots to respond to customer service inquiries can save up to 2 hours daily. Instead of spending time on individual requests, customer service reps can use chatbots to help filter easy-to-handle inquiries from those that might need more time to solve.

How to Use AI for Customer Success

Although those were just three benefits of using AI in customer success, there’s a solid guarantee you’ll find more benefits as you incorporate AI into your customer service strategy.

Wondering how to use it in your strategy to make the most of these benefits? Here’s how to use AI for customer success.

Customer Support Automation

If your customers experience an issue, they’ll likely head straight to your company website. Incorporating an AI-powered chatbot into your website is a great way to catch customer inquiries and solve minor issues that might get overlooked or pushed to the side.

AI chatbots can solve certain customer problems, greatly reducing your customer support response time. They can also collect follow-up information, schedule follow-up requests, and escalate higher-order issues to your customer service representatives.

Predict Customer Behavior

Whether customers realize it or not, their behavior is predictable. Using AI tools that analyze customer behavior can help catch customers who are close to leaving your company. This can help decrease your churn rates and increase your customer fan base.

And because AI tools are predictive, they can help identify customers who might benefit from a higher-tiered product, making upselling a breeze.

Sentiment Analysis

We’ve already mentioned the benefits of AI because of its ability to conduct sentiment analysis. But it’s worth mentioning again.

AI tools can quickly conduct sentiment analysis of voice files and text-based files. This can help your customer service reps quickly identify common complaints, understand why customers feel that way and adapt a better customer success strategy.

Ticket Routing

If your customer support representatives struggle with organizing their support tickets by department, AI tools can help. AI tools can identify which departments should receive which tickets and send them to the appropriate inboxes.

Customer Journey Mapping

You might already understand your customer’s journey and have a customer journey map that you use to help your customers experience your company through their eyes.

However, using AI tools can provide you with a more detailed customer journey map and allow you to understand pain points you might have missed at various touchpoints.

Testing It Out

I tested how to use ChatGPT to troubleshoot technical issues with a customer.

Here’s how it went.

First, I needed ChatGPT to understand the customer success exercise. So, I entered this prompt into the textbox.

“Pretend you are an AI-powered chatbot for my internet service provider. I am going to ask you some questions about troubleshooting why my Internet connection is down, and I need you to be an AI rep and give me suggestions on how to fix it.”

With ChatGPT ready to assist, I explained that my internet connection had been spotty and that actionable steps needed to be taken to fix the issue.

Here’s how it went:

Based on my experience contacting my internet service provider about my dropped connection a few weeks ago, ChatGPT’s suggestions to restart the modem, check the status lights, and test the connections with multiple devices are on par with my service provider’s AI chatbot’s instructions.

I also like that ChatGPT gave me multiple suggestions upfront without taking me through a step-by-step process.

AI Tools for Customer Success

ChatGPT is a generative AI application, meaning it works best with queries and continues to update responses as it gets new data. Most AI tools function in the same way. These kinds of tools can be beneficial for your customer success team.

Here are 8 AI tools to consider adding to your tech stack for customer success.

Gather a list of 8+ AI tools for customer success. Describe the core features of each and how they work. Add “What I like” for each.

1. ChatSpot

ChatSpot is an AI-powered tool for marketing and sales, and it’s also great for your customer support teams. You gain access to unique insights and personalized responses when you connect ChatSpot straight to your HubSpot CRM.

ChatSpot analyzes your data in real time and can provide usable data in various formats, such as bar graphs or pie charts.

What I Like: I like that ChatSpot can be used across departments. Each team has access to the same functionalities and analysis, making cross-department collaboration more accessible and efficient.

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2. Customer Success AI

Does decreasing customer churn feel like a never-ending issue? Try ChurnZero’s Customer Success AI.

Customer Success AI is an AI tool designed specifically for customer success. Use it to generate ideas, strategies, inquiry responses, and content your customer success team can use. You can also use it to forecast data, automate workflows, or send email or in-app follow-ups.

The best part? Customer Success AI easily integrates with your existing CRM.

What I like: I appreciate that Customer Success AI has preloaded prompt options for content or strategy. The preloaded options make it easy to generate content quickly.

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3. Totango

Teaming up with Catalyst, Totango works to provide you with a comprehensive overview of your customer accounts. Integrate your customer accounts to get a detailed description of the customer account health, collaborate with your team members to manage customer portfolios, and engage with your customers wherever they are– online, by email, or by chat.

What I like best: I like that Totango easily integrates with your existing CRM. So, if you’re using the HubSpot CRM, you can utilize Totango, too, to service your customers like a pro.

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4. ClientSuccess

ClientSuccess promises to help you reduce churn and increase your customer revenue. With this CRM-integrated app, you can quickly gain valuable insights and analytics to reveal data like customer health and net promoter scores, all with real-time reporting.

Or, use ClientSuccess to automate your customer-facing communications or map and manage your customer journey.

What I like best: I like that ClientSuccess focuses on customer onboarding. The onboarding process can start customer churn, so making it easier and more manageable for the customer can help reduce it.

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5. Vitally

If productivity is your customer success team’s weak spot, consider adding Vitally to your tech stack. Vitally aims to help customer success teams automate specific tasks while encouraging collaboration across the team.

Vitally also provides your team with real-time data so you and your team can monitor customer interactions as they occur.

What I like best: Customer success isn’t a one-person show. I like that Vitally encourages and streamlines collaborative communication across the team.

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6. Drift

If you want AI to support your chat features, consider Drift. Drift is an AI-powered engagement platform designed to help your customer success team listen, understand, and learn from your buyers.

Drift’s AI-powered chatbots allow for personalized 24/7 customer support and recommendations. Not only can they offer customer support, but they can also streamline your sales funnel so that you or your chatbots engage with prospective customers at just the right time.

What I like: I like that Drift encompasses the entire sales from– from start to finish. This chatbot offers personalized support for every stage of the customer.

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7. Freshdesk

If your team’s goal is to decrease the time it takes to respond to customer support tickets, you should try Freshdesk.

It can be challenging to sort through a pile of support tickets and quickly determine which tickets need the most support. But with Freshdesk, that problem is solved for you. Freshdesk can sort through support tickets and deliver them to the appropriate agents, and your team can focus on the correct details without getting distracted by less urgent matters.

Plus, Freshdesk can help your team automate customer self-service, scale your knowledge base, and optimize your workflows.

What I like best: Freshdesk is a solution focused on customer support tickets. I like that it gives team members access to deliver timely, consistent, and personalized support to customers.

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8. Custify

Custify’s focus is on onboarding, customer retention, and revenue maximizing. This AI-powered SaaS technology can help you identify which customer accounts are most likely to grow with your company so you can effectively upsell to them.

Custify also helps make onboarding easier so you can turn your new sign-ups into loyal customers.

What I like: I like that Custify can automate to-do lists. With a to-do list already made and the highest priority tasks at the top, your team can effectively work to ensure your customers’ success.

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AI Customer Success Best Practices

AI tools can help make your customer success team more effective and efficient. However, there is a right and wrong way to use them.

Check out these recommended best practices from experts and us, who use AI tools for customer service.

1. Align AI to Your Overall Business Goals

It can be tempting to think AI can do the job of providing you with excellent customer service. However, AI is a tool, not a human, and your employees provide the best possible customer service experience.

Ensure that whichever AI tool you choose for your team aligns with your business goals. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can my team use this AI tool effectively to provide excellent support?
  • Which tasks can AI help my team accomplish?
  • Will an AI tool help my team gain time for more important tasks?
  • How does this align with our company’s business goals and mission?

By determining where in your customer success strategy an AI tool is most effective, you can help your team provide better customer support to your clients.

2. Determine What AI Can and Cannot Do

AI tools are fantastic resources, but they shouldn’t be used to replace your employees and their valuable skills. Instead, take some time to determine what AI can and cannot do.

Kaustubh Deo, President of Blooma Tree Experts says this about AI, “We have found it crucial to distinguish between what requires true judgment versus what requires more manual process and work. Over time, AI will do more and more judgment-related tasks. But for now, when it comes to customer success, we err on the side of caution given that clients are the lifeblood of any business.

Given that, AI can start by supporting customer service representatives in creating their task load — which clients need calls, which open quotes require follow-up, etc. That manual data management task is an ideal starting place to build AI into a small business (or big business) customer success system.

And then the CSRs are able to levy judgment as to how to actually support customers. AI gives them more time to do that well & thoroughly.”

By determining where in your customer success strategy an AI tool is most effective, you can help your team provide better customer support to your clients.

3. Provide Clean Data for the AI Algorithms

Because AI runs best when there is a continuous flow of data available, it’s essential to take time to ensure your data is clean, accurate, and free from errors and biases.

Tony Fernandes, CEO of UEGroup and founder of UserExperience.AI, says the available data determines how effectively AI can help your team.

Fernandes says, “Providing a valuable and robust AI solution has a lot to do with the data available, not the technology. With good access to data related to all the customer touchpoints, including sales experiences, support experiences, and any other type of interaction, software can do a great job of creating a highly personalized experience. The best practices for providing this type of AI solution begins with getting rid of the siloed data within the organization.”

4. Verify AI’s Predictions and Analysis

AI tools can be useful for predicting customer behavior and sentiment analysis. However, there are times when AI can get it wrong, such as if the customer data is flawed.

To make the best use of AI, always verify its predictions and analyses. Using a flawed prediction or analysis might not be good for your customer service team.

5. AI Chatbots Can Be Multi-Purposed

AI chatbots are a widespread use of the technology. You don’t have to use chatbots to field customer complaints. They can be used for various purposes throughout the customer pipeline.

Gary Warner, Marketing and Customer Experience Manager of Joloda, says, “AI can deliver high levels of customer satisfaction and an increase in sales when using a well-designed chatbot system. For example, they can continue to assist the customer even after a sale is made by providing order status and shipping updates. Or they can also recognise customer actions and offer targeted cross-sells or upsells based on their browsing to increase the average order value.

We have also found that having the bot can work as a trigger to get potential customers to agree to a callback is a friendly, easy way for our sales team to get their ‘foot in the door.’”

A Powerful Duo: AI and Customer Success

Appropriate AI tools can elevate your customer experience from mediocre to exceptional, saving your customer service reps time and allowing them to focus on tasks that truly matter.

However, the trick to using AI in customer success is knowing how to implement it properly in your strategies and workflows. The wrong AI tool can slow down your team and derail your efforts to provide excellent customer service.

Take some time to evaluate your customer experience operations before choosing an AI tool. Understanding where AI effectively helps your teams will help your teams provide more effective customer support.

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I recently signed up for an account with Authory, an online portfolio website. I’d seen the product mentioned many times in freelancing communities I’m part of, so I thought I knew all there was to know about it when I finally signed up.

However, as I started going through the onboarding process, I realized there were so many more features I wasn’t aware of — from the self-updating portfolio to the social analytics for my published pieces. The platform and onboarding emails not only guided me through the next steps but also showed me how to get the most out of the platform. This is when I realized the importance of customer onboarding.

To make the onboarding process seamless, memorable, and informative for customers like me, you need a customer onboarding tool to facilitate, automate, and improve the experience. I’ll cover 15 tools that can help improve your customer onboarding process and help guide you to make the right choice.

What is a customer onboarding tool?

A customer onboarding tool is software that helps facilitate the onboarding process. Customer onboarding sets the tone for a successful ongoing customer relationship, so it’s important to get this step right. Your onboarding tool can provide step-by-step tutorials, training videos, personalized tips, and more to engage and inform your customers as they get to know your product.

The Benefits of Using Customer Onboarding Tools

Having a customer onboarding tool to facilitate the onboarding process makes you and your customers’ lives easier. Rather than creating multiple spreadsheets, sending a multitude of forms, and going back and forth over email to explain everything, customer onboarding software automates most of that. Here are some of the benefits of using customer onboarding tools.

Sets the tone for the relationship.

After sales, the onboarding process is your customers’ first glimpse into what the ongoing relationship will be like. You can set the tone by being intentional about it and choosing an onboarding tool that offers everything you need.

Helps with customer retention.

A strong start to the relationship can also help improve customer retention. The more information and support you can offer through your onboarding tool, the more customers will trust that they’ll be successful with you.

Your onboarding software can also be used to celebrate milestones whenever customers achieve them. For example, using a feature for the first time or reaching a certain amount of product usage. You can celebrate any sort of milestone as long as it keeps customers engaged in your product.

Encourages autonomy.

A customer onboarding tool is designed to provide your customers with all of the information they need to be successful when using your product. Your onboarding process can include training videos, checklists, a knowledge base, or any combination of these.

The best part is that an onboarding tool allows customers to learn this knowledge independently. Instead of scheduling time with customer success, customers can walk through the process on their own time to learn about the product as it pertains to them.

Helps promote your product.

You can also use your onboarding tool to showcase all of the different features available. Your customer may have signed onto your product for a few reasons, but they probably aren’t aware of every single feature and how they can use it for their business.

The onboarding process is a great opportunity to demonstrate your product’s different use cases so your customers are trained on every feature or, at the very least, become aware of the features available to them for future use.

15 Customer Onboarding Tools

Whether you’re looking for a self-service platform that offers training videos and a knowledge base or you prefer a high-touch onboarding platform for one-on-one communication, there are tools for every type of customer relationship. Here are some of the best customer onboarding tools I’ve discovered.

1. HubSpot

Customer onboarding tools, HubSpot

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HubSpot is an all-in-one customer relationship tool for service, sales, and marketing. The central platform facilitates every part of the customer pipeline, from marketing to sales to success. After customers are onboarded, you can continue supporting their customer journey on HubSpot’s platform.

HubSpot onboarding features include live chat and chatbots, customizable workflows, automated emails, knowledge bases, and much more. If you already use HubSpot for marketing and sales, it makes sense to keep your onboarding workflow within the same central platform so your team has visibility into the entire relationship.

What I like: HubSpot offers a free plan, making it easy to get started right away. You can upgrade as you scale your onboarding program and bring on more clients; HubSpot scales with you.

2. Arrows

Customer onboarding tools, Arrows

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Arrows is a customer onboarding tool made specifically for teams who use HubSpot. The HubSpot integration offers a two-way data sync and attaches customer onboarding tasks to deals and tickets within the CRM. This means teams don’t need to leave their HubSpot dashboard to complete tasks.

What I like: Customers are presented with an easy-to-follow onboarding interface, so they don’t need to learn how to navigate the inner workings of your HubSpot platform.

3. Dock

Customer onboarding tools, Dock

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Dock allows your team to create collaborative, self-serve customer onboarding workspaces using templates. Using onboarding templates across your organization helps your team scale better than a clunky spreadsheet or countless emails. I think it’s especially useful that each template can also be customized to ensure every customer can get a personalized experience no matter which customer success team member they’re being onboarded with.

What I like: I like that your team can track every customer’s onboarding process so you can measure engagement early on.

4. ChurnZero

Customer onboarding tools, ChurnZero

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If you have a subscription-based business, ChurnZero is a customer onboarding tool that can help you scale. The platform goes beyond onboarding and optimizes the entire customer journey by helping you track and analyze key insights, such as product usage and engagement, to improve customer experience and retention.

What I like: I like that the platform creates “ChurnScores” which rate a customer’s health and predict the likelihood that they’ll renew.

5. Rocketlane

Customer onboarding tools, Rocketlane

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Rocketlane is a customer onboarding tool that offers the organization, visibility, and collaboration capabilities that you’d find in a project management tool. This tool works well for sales and customer success teams that often communicate and collaborate internally. The platform creates a seamless handoff by kicking off the onboarding process as soon as a deal is marked as “won” in your connected CRM.

What I like: I think it’s convenient that customers can access their portal with a magic link, which means they don’t need to remember a password or login to access the onboarding info they need.

6. GuideCX

Customer onboarding tools, GuideCX

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GuideCX is a customer onboarding tool that improves efficiency and collaboration through templates, automation, and increased visibility. I think it has some really helpful features like role-based views and integrated automation that help minimize manual errors and reduce your team’s time spent on repeatable tasks.

What I like: GuideCX offers a mobile app with push notifications so you can stay on top of customer updates on the go.

7. Planhat

Customer onboarding tools, Planhat

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Planhat is a data-driven customer success platform that analyzes customer metrics to assess their health and engagement level. The comprehensive analysis takes into account customer usage, behaviors, and interactions to identify issues before they come up, which helps improve retention.

What I like: Where Planhat thrives is in its playbooks. You can create playbooks so customer onboarding becomes a streamlined, repeatable process.

8. Userlane

Customer onboarding tools, Userlane

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In addition to customer onboarding features like personalization and interactive on-screen guidance, I like Userlane because it is specifically designed to increase trial conversions and help with customer retention. The platform does this by offering interactive guidance during free trials and demos so users can better understand a product’s benefits. This ultimately leads to more conversions, which is ideal for subscription companies looking for a low-touch onboarding tool.

What I like: Userlane is no-code, which makes it easy to launch an onboarding quickly and without costly development.

9. Customer.io

Customer onboarding tools, Customer.io

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Another data-driven customer onboarding tool is Customer.io. The customer engagement platform offers omnichannel messaging so you can communicate onboarding tasks with customers through their preferred channel, whether that’s in-app, via email, or with push notifications. You can also use real-time first-party data to personalize the message and A/B testing to optimize the onboarding experience.

What I like: I like how the low-touch onboarding gives customers autonomy while providing meaningful data for the customer success team.

10. ClickUp

Customer onboarding tools, ClickUp

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ClickUp is a project management tool that can be helpful to use during the customer onboarding process. The platform offers multiple views that work for every type of customer or collaboration, from grid to list to Kanban board. The tool also offers several templates that can be customized for your team’s onboarding process.

What I like: If you use ClickUp for project management, I think it’s convenient to use its templates and workspaces for customer onboarding, too.

11. Process Street

Customer onboarding tools, Process Street

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Process Street is a checklist and process documentation system that allows you to create no-code onboarding workflows. Its process feature is AI-powered and can generate workflows and individual tasks, and its forms feature can be an easy way to gather customer information during the onboarding process.

What I like: Process Street has an extensive library of onboarding templates for different industries and customer scenarios.

12. IdentityCheck

Customer onboarding tools, IdentityCheck

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IdentityCheck is more of an add-on than a standalone customer onboarding tool, but it’s important to the process nonetheless. It lets you quickly verify your contacts from within your CRM platform, like HubSpot. The tool is designed for regulated industries that must meet compliance requirements. Still, I think it can be an extra safety measure for companies looking to create a more secure onboarding process.

What I like: The platform offers onboarding add-ons like workflow automation and user training if you want to expand beyond the identify check feature.

13. EverAfter

Customer onboarding tools, EverAfter

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EverAfter enables your team to create a white-labeled customer hub for low-touch onboarding. I like that EverAfter’s customer interface is interactive and collaborative, with interactive guides, progress trackers, and personalized dashboards.

What I like: EverAfter integrates with many tools and apps like HubSpot to sync your customer data.

14. Notion

Customer onboarding tools, Notion

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Notion is a collaborative workspace tool that functions well as a knowledge base or checklist within the customer onboarding process. You can create an onboarding checklist or workspace from scratch or use one of their templates. I’ve seen many people use Notion as a hub with information about their products, processes, teams, and more.

What I like: I personally love how Notion’s interface looks; it’s clean, simple, and easy to scan.

15. Onboard

Customer onboarding tools, Onboard

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Unlike many of the customer onboarding tools on this list, Onboard does away with templates and instead creates auto-generated launch plans that are customized for each client based on customer data gathered during the sales process. I like how the platform automates a task list so you can focus less on the process and tasks and instead on spending time with your customers to provide a personalized experience.

What I like: I like how Onboard integrates with tools like HubSpot to automate and streamline customer data.

Making the Right Choice

If you’re overwhelmed with the onboarding options out there (I don’t blame you — there are many!), there are a few ways to narrow down the choices. Here are the features to look for in a customer onboarding tool.

Communication Features

The types of communication features you’ll want depend on how hands-on you want your customer onboarding process to be. If you want your customers to have a self-serve experience, then it’s important to look for in-app communication, like pop-ups that can guide them through the onboarding steps.

If you want better visibility into your customers’ onboarding journey and engagement levels, then you’ll want to look for a tool that provides real-time notifications whenever a customer completes a task.

Data Dashboard

In-depth data is a key feature to look for in your customer onboarding tool. Data into customer engagement and behaviors lets you know if your onboarding process is successful at training and informing new clients or if it could use improvement.

How engaged are new clients throughout onboarding? At what point are they dropping off or getting stuck? You need a tool that provides transparency into those analytics so you can continuously optimize your flows. You can also look for a tool that includes built-in forms for gathering consumer engagement data so you can automate the process.

Customization Capabilities

Customization is key to building trust and setting the tone with new clients. While one of the goals of a customer onboarding tool is to streamline the process — especially if you have a low-touch onboarding flow — it’s still important to add personalization so every new client feels important.

In fact, 90% of customers say they are willing to spend more time with companies that personalize the customer service experience.

Look for onboarding tools that offer templates. Templates make it easy to streamline your internal processes while still allowing you to customize your workflows and tailor each step to your clients’ needs.

Unified Platform

If you want to enhance the customer experience across teams, look for a unified customer platform. A tool focused specifically on the onboarding process is a great option for the customer success team, but a unified platform makes it easy to collaborate across different CX teams, such as support and success. Not only does this increase visibility across teams, but it also helps everyone stay within the same workflow without the need to switch between apps.

Best Practices for Implementing Customer Onboarding Tools

Once you’ve chosen your preferred customer onboarding tool, how can you make the most of it? I asked customer success experts for their best practices for implementing one.

1. Leverage the technology.

If you haven’t used a customer onboarding tool before, it can be tempting to stick with your old way of doing things, like manually creating and sharing onboarding docs for each client. However, customer onboarding software is designed to help your customer team save time and resources during the process, so let it do its job.

“Make technology work for you,” says Irene Graham, co-founder of Spylix. “As your new clients enroll and begin using your product, anticipate they will require assistance beyond that of your customer success team.”

For example, Clooney Wang, founder and CEO of TrackingMore uses ChurnZero for customer onboarding. One way he takes advantage of the technology is by ensuring automated alerts are turned on.

“These email alerts are crucial and help you address customer issues long before they are even aware of them,” says Wang.

2. Be flexible.

As you get acquainted with your customer onboarding tool and learn what works and doesn’t work for your customers and team, you may find the need to switch up your process. It’s okay to be flexible in your approach, suggests Graham.

“Do not anticipate your onboarding process to remain the same in the long run,” she says. “Allow your evolving clients and business to influence how you alter it. When working with ever-evolving humans, expect your procedures to evolve as well.”

Alison Lancaster, co-founder and CEO of Pressat, echoes that sentiment. She suggests having a standardized core onboarding process that allows for customization.

“Create a basic onboarding framework, but always personalize elements like video intros or kickoff agendas to give that white-glove treatment,” she says.

3. Analyze the data.

To truly understand how your onboarding process is performing, you need to look at the data in your customer onboarding tool. Where are your customers dropping off? Are they watching one of your training videos more than the others? These metrics will let you know where you can improve the process and if there’s a feature or tutorial you need to spend more time on when it comes to training.

Lancaster also recommends surveying your clients on their onboarding experience for anecdotal insight.

“At the end of onboarding, get direct feedback on what rocked and what needs improving,” she says. “An onboarding survey is pure gold for optimizing.”

Getting Onboarding Right

The best customer onboarding tools depend on what your team needs. If you’re looking for an all-in-one platform that connects your sales team to your customer success team, I recommend a connected tool like HubSpot. If you’re looking for a self-service customer onboarding tool, I like Dock for its templates and interactive interface.

customer onboarding templates

Customer segmentation matters. Take it from one woman with an email inbox filled to the brim. I only click if the product being advertised is something I’d actually use. I appreciate the companies that take the time to learn about me and send me relevant offers.

I’m much more likely to purchase a product if it catches my interest, even if it wasn’t on my radar. And I’m not alone in that. 78% of consumers say they’re more likely to purchase from brands that personalize.

I get it, though. Customer segmentation is a big undertaking, and it can take your team a lot of time to sort your customer data manually. But with the right AI tool, you can get it done in no time.

Let’s look at the benefits of customer segmentation using AI and discuss the best AI tools for customer segmentation.

The Benefits of AI Segmentation

If you want to market your product or service better or meet your customers’ needs, you need to consider customer segmentation. Customer segmentation breaks your customer base into various subgroups. These subgroups can be based on multiple characteristics like:

  • Demographics.
  • Geographic location.
  • Behaviors.
  • Lifestyles, values, and interests.
  • Needs.

Customer segments allow you to break your audience into smaller groups, so you can better understand their needs and preferences. Then, you can create better-targeted messages.

24% of marketers already use AI for audience segmentation. Here are the biggest benefits of customer segmentation using AI.

1. Better Data Analysis

If you’re wondering how AI works, here’s the short answer: AI quickly sorts large data sets to provide an in-depth analysis. These in-depth analyses better inform your research. In fact, 63% of marketers use AI for market research today.

Think about that concerning customer segmentation. It’s likely your company has various groups of customers, each with their own needs and preferences. You can quickly and easily sort your customers using AI based on various defining characteristics.

Plus, AI can provide you with a sentiment analysis, which can help you better understand how these customers feel about your product or service.

2. Bigger ROI

It’s no secret that personalization and segmentation are key to better marketing. Beyond that, with more advanced technology on the market, it’s expected. As technology advances, 73% of customers expect a personalized experience with a company.

Moreover, over half of consumers say they’ll become repeat buyers after a personalized experience. So, to increase your ROI, you need customer segmentation. Using AI to segment your customer lists accurately can help your marketing and sales teams with revenue-driven strategies.

3. Better Customer Retention

If customers are more likely to become repeat customers after personal experience with your brand, you also have a better chance of increasing customer retention. In fact, 62% of business leaders agree that improved customer retention is a benefit of personalization efforts.

AI can help you determine what your customer segments care about and how they feel about your product or service. So, appealing to their preferences, interests, and needs is almost a guarantee that you will keep those customers on your accounts.

4. Make Better Predictions

Segmenting your customers into various groups can help you learn more about their behaviors and patterns and predict how they’ll behave. However, this can be a huge undertaking for one person, especially since it requires a large amount of historical data.

AI tools use historical and real-time data to predict your customers’ behaviors. This is especially helpful for planning proactive measures rather than reactive ones.

5. Saves Your Team Time

The amount of time saved by using AI tools might be the number one benefit of customer segmentation using AI. According to a Salesforce survey, marketers who use AI tools save an average of five hours per week.

Sure, that time likely accounts for content creation and other tasks, but it also accounts for market and customer research, including customer segmentation. What used to take hours to complete by hand now takes only a few minutes.

Don’t believe me? It’s true. I tested whether AI, particularly ChatGPT, can segment your customers. And, as it turns out, it can.

Testing AI Segmentation

If I learned anything from my favorite professor in college, it’s this: always test things out. To see if AI can segment customers, I logged into ChatGPT to try it out. Here’s what happened.

The Scenario

I created a fictional health and wellness business to get the most out of using ChatGPT for customer segmentation. Then, I described my client base. Here are the most important details about my business, Fitness for You.

  • The gym is open to:
    • Enthusiasts and beginners
    • Recreational members
  • Age range: 18 to 80+
  • Programs offered:
    • Weight training
    • Aerobics and water aerobics
    • Yoga
    • Cardio, including spin and treadmill classes
    • Corporate programs
  • There are more female clients than male clients.
  • Some clients are members because of the social aspect of the programs offered.

Using this information, I would like ChatGPT to sort my customers into the appropriate segments, including segments concerning:

  • Fitness levels.
  • Attitudes toward the gym.
  • Program interests.

Running the Experiment

I first entered my company’s information to use ChatGPT for customer segmentation. The nice thing about ChatGPT is that it stores information, meaning there’s no need to keep reminding it of previous inputs.

ai for customer segmentation, testing for a gym business

After entering my company’s information, I asked ChatGPT to segment my customers based on fitness level. The key to using AI tools is to be specific. This is the prompt I used:

  • “Using my business information, segment my clients into groups based on their fitness level. Provide a description of my clients and their fitness level. Deliver the results in a table.”

Pro tip: I’ve found that asking ChatGPT to deliver results in a table makes them easier to read. Plus, copying and pasting the results into Google Sheets is easy.

ai for customer segmentation, segmented

Next, I asked ChatGPT to separate my customers into groups based on their attitudes toward the gym. This is the prompt I used:

  • “Using the same information about my customers and the segmented list, please segment them into groups based on their attitudes towards the gym.”

Here’s ChatGPT’s response:

ai for customer segmentation, for a gym

I like that ChatGPT continues to deliver the results in the table. I also appreciate that the response gives a description of my client segment and a guess about their preferences.

The final segmentation I want ChatGPT to generate is groups based on my clients’ gym program interests.

This is the prompt I used:

  • Using the segmented groups, perform another segmentation. This time, segment my clients into groups based on their program interests.

Here’s the final response:

ai for customer segmentation, details

ChatGPT’s response categorizes my fictional clients based on their potential program interests and describes why those clients may be interested in the program. Knowing this information, I could easily create marketing campaigns based on their interests and preferences and, hopefully, gain loyal clients to my gym.

What I Learned

ChatGPT’s customer segmentation of my fictional clients was spot on in the groups I would have created if I had done this by hand.

If I wanted to create customer personas and hadn’t already done that, I could use the information provided to me by ChatGPT to create a persona for each customer segment. Or, if I was short on time, ChatGPT could create the user persona for me.

With more information, like age range and fitness goals, I could segment my clients further into more detailed groups. This would help me narrow down my focus for more accurate personalization and a better customer experience.

AI Tools for Customer Segmentations

Looking for the best AI tools for customer segmentation? We’ve got you covered.

1. HubSpot AI

ai for customer segmentation tools, hubspot

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If you’re already a HubSpot CRM user, what are you waiting for? HubSpot AI is an easy-to-use AI tool that you can use throughout the customer platform.

With HubSpot’s CRM capabilities and HubSpot AI, you can create customer segments using historical and real-time data. Use this tool to create effective marketing campaigns, inform product development, and turn your customers into loyal fans.

What I like: I like that HubSpot AI is available at all points of the HubSpot customer platform. This means users get up-to-date information about their customer segments.

2. Optimove

ai for customer segmentation tools, optimove

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The more information you can obtain about your customers, the better. Optimove is a multi-channel engagement platform providing a comprehensive overview of your clients from four sources.

The platform uses cluster analysis and algorithms to separate customers into similar groups. Once the initial groups are identified, Optimove takes it further and creates sub-segments based on behaviors, demographics, and real-time interactions.

What I like: The nice thing about Optimove is that once you’ve segmented your audience, you can use control and test groups to A/B test marketing campaigns.

3. BlastPoint

ai for customer segmentation tools, blastpoint

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BlastPoint is an AI customer segmentation tool that aims to provide you with optimized marketing solutions. It promises to help you understand your customers at a household level, meaning you’ll gain insights into their behaviors, demographics, and values.

The best part about BlastPoint is that, using its AI technology and your customer data, you can create as many filters as you need until you feel you have the appropriate customer segments.

What I like: I appreciate BlastPoint’s mission to help you become a more customer-centric company, regardless of industry.

4. Heap

ai for customer segmentation tools, heap

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When considering customer segmentation, you might think of grouping clients based on characteristics, like demographics. Heap thinks about customer segmentation differently. Instead of segmenting customers based on their characteristics, Heap’s algorithm groups your audience based on their actions with your website.

Heap easily integrates with your existing technology, allowing you to create segments wherever your customers are. Heap also enables users to conduct A/B testing, create personalized campaigns, and build targeted user guides based on customer segment data.

What I like: I like that Heap focuses on actions rather than characteristics. Knowing this information is useful for creating user guides and a better knowledge base.

AI Segmentation Best Practices

Using AI for customer segmentation is an excellent way to identify the various customers on your accounts quickly. By understanding their actions and behaviors, you can quickly boost conversions by providing relevant information and messages to your audiences.

If you plan to implement AI into your customer segmentation strategy, follow our experts’ and our best practices.

1. Define your goals.

You might choose to create a customer segmentation strategy for several reasons. For example, you might use it to redefine your marketing strategy or inform your business processes like Chuck Schaeffer, CEO of Johnny Grow.

Schaeffer’s team uses AI to dynamically map each customer into a customer segment. The segments can then be used to allocate resourcing and align business processes based on customer contribution.

For example, Schaeffer notes that the team may deliver high-touch customer support for high-contribution customers. Meanwhile, self-service support is available for low-contribution customers.

“Defining business processes by customer type or segment is extremely effective in growing revenues and margins from high-contribution customers and lowering cost-to-serve for low or negative-margin customers,” Schaeffer says.

Schaeffer’s team also uses AI to rank customer segments from most to least profitable.

“Identifying customers that contribute negative profits to the company creates an opportunity to plug those profit leaks. Reducing costs to serve these customers creates an alternative to discontinuing these customer relationships,” Schaeffer says.

2. Provide your AI tool with the most accurate data.

AI tools work best when your data is clean, error-free, and accurate. In my experiment asking ChatGPT to segment my fitness clients, I realized more data would have provided me with better results.

If you have the data available, use it. You might be surprised at the information you learn about your customers and their behaviors and preferences.

3. Catch customer interactions early and often.

Customer behavior will change throughout the customer journey. Collecting behavioral data when customers first interact with your company is best.

Ricardo Madan, senior vice president of TEKsystems Global Services, notes that these interactions — from inquiries, issue resolution, bill pay, order reconciliation, and problem — can inform AI and ML predictive analytics tools.

These insights “make these experiences more seamless for the users and more efficient or profitable for the companies they’re working with,” Madan says. “All of this is optimized when the analytics effectively segment users earlier in the customer experience.”

4. Personalize, personalize, personalize!

One of the main reasons you should create a customer segmentation strategy is to provide relevant information to your audiences. Once you understand them, use what you’ve learned to your advantage.

Lisa Richards, CEO and creator of the Candida Diet, uses AI tools to help her create segmented lists. She sends better, more personalized messages to her audiences using the information about her lists.

Richards says, “Our AI engine uses customer data, such as transaction history, quiz responses, and browsing behavior, to segment customers by their candida severity and unique needs and prepare content chunked for their context.”

For example, those who are new to the Candida diet may receive easy-to-follow meal plans, while those who are already used to the diet may be served a different recipe recommendation.

“Implementing AI-powered segmentation has resulted in a 20 percent uplift in customer engagement with content, as users are now served up resources that are most relevant to them,” Richards says.

Can AI Segment Your Customers? Yes!

Customer segmentation helps grow your company and better understand your customers. You can uncover meaningful insights using AI and your company’s valuable data in a few minutes. Talk about time saved for your teams!

The trick to using AI is to ensure your data is clean and error-free. AI tools are only as good as your data, so keep that in mind when running customer segmentation prompts!

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So, sales just passed the torch, and now it‘s your turn to onboard a new customer. While it feels like the end of one journey, in reality, it’s more like setting sail on a new voyage.

As you gear up with your meticulously crafted onboarding process, you can‘t help but think of seasoned sailors navigating unpredictable waters. They know that even the most detailed maps can’t always predict the challenges ahead.

From paperwork to technical hurdles, I‘ve come to realize that customer onboarding is far more than just ticking off boxes. It’s a nuanced dance of patience, empathy, and a touch of technical finesse.

In this article, I‘ll delve into the common challenges of customer onboarding, drawing from the insights of our experienced support specialists. Together, let’s navigate through these challenges and ensure a smooth journey for our new customers.

1. Lack of Information

Sometimes, customers might not provide all the necessary information during onboarding, making it challenging for service reps to understand their needs fully. Or it could be the other way around, as the employee may be missing out on the latest product or service information needed to properly onboard.

Josefina Ondo-Baca, one of HubSpot’s Senior Customer Support Specialists, shares her experience with trying to move forward with everchanging information, “Staying in the loop about changes to the product is one of the areas where I’m challenged the most. Having systems that facilitate collaboration and information sharing across teams (product developers, product marketers, technical writers, onboarding specialists) is imperative to avoid delays to successfully onboard a customer.”

2. Complex Products/Services

If the product or service being onboarded is complex, it can be difficult for service reps to explain its features and benefits clearly to customers.

To mitigate confusion, establish an ongoing feedback loop for your customers as they onboard. They’ll be able to specifically call out their pain points and give your team valuable information to fix or improve.

Pro Tip: Provide live demo videos of how to use your product to newly onboarded customers. Not only is it good for them to access as they become more familiar, but it can help demystify seemingly complex tools.

3. Technical Issues

Technical glitches or issues with software platforms used for onboarding can disrupt the process and frustrate both customers and service reps, even causing them to leave and search for an alternative. After all, according to Precursive, poor onboarding is the third highest reason for customer churn.

Ondo-Baca continues to say, “Technical issues surely present a roadblock because they are not always expected and can result in changes to the original onboarding plan. It also can reduce users’ confidence in the product offering. Being flexible and having knowledge on how to troubleshoot in these cases are valuable skills in such instances.”

4. Resistance to Change

Some customers may resist change, particularly if transitioning from a previous provider or system to a new one.

Senior Customer Support Specialist Mellissa Rhodes, shares her experience working through change. “With onboarding you’re always taking someone used to doing things a certain way and trying to teach them something new. With that comes preconceived notions about how something should be done or anxiety around changing as well as a lack of confidence in the new product. All hard things to overcome!”

5. Language and Communication Barriers

In a global marketplace, language and communication barriers can pose significant challenges during customer onboarding, especially when dealing with customers from diverse linguistic backgrounds.

“No team is the same when it comes to their communication. Some teams have physical offices while others work remotely. As new communication and enablement resources become available, it’s important to synchronize with the customer on which channel would be the most effective to conduct onboarding for all parties involved which might not always be a preferred channel for us.” Ondo-Baca goes onto say.

6. Time Constraints

Service reps often face time constraints during onboarding, especially if they have to adhere to strict schedules. This hurdle can cause customers to feel frustrated if they fail to see value in an adequate amount of time.

7. Training and Knowledge Gaps

Service reps need to be well-trained and knowledgeable about the products or services they are onboarding, but sometimes there may be gaps in their training or understanding.

Rhodes continues to say, “Everyone you work with will be coming from a different starting point and navigating that can be difficult. Onboarding a seasoned professional vs someone new are two different processes.”

8. Managing Expectations

Setting realistic expectations is crucial during onboarding, but it can be challenging to manage customer expectations, especially if they have unrealistic demands or assumptions.

Additionally, there’s generally more pressure on the customer onboarding team — from small to mid-size businesses, all the way up to enterprise businesses — that largely feel that customer onboarding is accountable for managing expectations.

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9. Documentation and Paperwork

Research shows that 86% of customers are more likely to remain loyal to a business when they have access to educational and welcoming onboarding content after making a purchase. However, if the process of distributing this content is convoluted or disorganized, it can leave a negative impression on customers.

Moreover, completing essential documentation and paperwork during the onboarding process can be a time-consuming and burdensome task for both service representatives and customers.

10. Follow-up and Support

Providing adequate follow-up and ongoing support after the initial onboarding phase is essential for customer success, but service reps may face challenges in maintaining consistent communication and assistance.

Pro Tip: Make sure your customers have clear communication channels after they’ve undergone onboarding. They should feel like they can reach out for help and have their needs met ongoingly. Open lines of communication can also result in positive feedback or testimonial collection.

Create a Customer-Centric Onboarding Process

While you may encounter onboarding challenges, effectively addressing them can set your business relationship up for success. Anticipating and proactively tackling these hurdles can drive customer satisfaction, loyalty, and success in the evolving onboarding landscape.

customer onboarding templates

So, you’ve built an amazing product and you just know your customers are going to love it. Except, there’s one problem: you’re receiving customer complaints.

You have two options: you can handle the complaints and move on with the other tasks on your plate, or you could take the time to resolve the issue and look into what caused it.

If you’ve chosen to invest the time to look into the issue and find out what caused the problem, you might consider implementing a customer success maturity model.

In this post, we’ll discuss what a customer success maturity model is and offer tips and suggestions from experts to create your own model. Let’s dive in.

What is the Customer Success Maturity Model?

A customer success maturity model is a framework designed to help companies examine their customer success strategies and operations and plan for ways to improve and scale them. This model breaks customer success maturity into four main stages:

  • Stage 1 — React: In this stage, customer success teams respond to customer complaints and issues as they arise. Typically, teams have little customer data to work with, and customer engagement is low.
  • Stage 2 Define: In the defining stage, companies structure and organize customer teams, define individual roles in the support process, set goals, and track performance data and benchmarks to help guide decisions. Understanding the customer and their needs is the goal.
  • Stage 3 Manage: With metrics in hand and goals set, customer success teams can be proactive in their efforts. Teams can take strategic measures to intervene and engage with customers. With customer feedback, teams can refine and improve their customer success strategies.
  • Stage 4 Optimize: At this stage, a seamless customer experience is the driving factor of all business operations, including sales and marketing.

It’s helpful to think of a customer success maturity model as a set of building blocks.

Léo Blanc, customer success manager of SubMagic, says, It’s like building LEGO sets, where you start with simple pieces and gradually learn to make more complex creations.”

According to Blanc, businesses start by learning basic ways to satisfy customers. From there, teams “use the customer success maturity model to learn more advanced ways to keep customers loyal and engaged with your tool, your team, and your brand,” Blanc says.

Customer success is paramount to your business’s success. Think about it: happy customers lead to a strong user base. So, providing proactive top-tier customer service to help your customers confidently use your products and services should be the baseline for any good organization.

As Josh Royal, founder and chief visionary officer at Aventus, puts it, incorporating a customer success maturity model is strategic.

Royal says, “The Customer Success Maturity Model acts as a strategic framework, guiding businesses through the evolution of their customer success efforts — from initial, ad-hoc stages to fully optimized and integrated processes.”

stages of customer success maturity model

Maturity Benchmarks to Watch

If you’re just starting to plan your customer success maturity model, you’re going to need to begin tracking key performance metrics. These performance benchmarks will help you and your team identify areas of improvement and will help you understand how you can become more proactive in your customer success efforts.

Here are a few benchmarks you should track.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a giant indicator of how well your customers love (or, on the flip side, hate) your product or service.

Knowing how satisfied a customer is with your company is helpful because 91% of customers will not do business with the same company if they’ve had a previous bad experience with it. Ouch.

That’s why understanding customer satisfaction is important.

Royal says, “Measure how satisfied customers are with your product, policies, or service through surveys or feedback mechanisms.”

Reach out to your customers by email and ask them to participate in a customer satisfaction survey. You can also send your customers a survey link at the end of every interaction, for example, at the end of a chatbot conversation.

Collecting this data can provide your team with valuable insights on necessary improvements you should make to help your customers be more successful.

Churn Rate

Churn rate measures the number of customers who have unsubscribed or canceled your service during a given time period. For companies that operate on a subscription model, understanding how quickly customers ditch their product or service is vital to uncovering lapses in customer success.

Blanc says to ask yourself this, “How many customers leave your product after one month?” After implementing changes to your customer success strategies, measure again.

According to Blanc, “This is the main point that will help you determine whether your changes are beneficial to reduce this [churn] rate.”

Customer Retention Rate

Customer retention rates and churn rates often go hand in hand. While a churn rate measures the number of customers who leave your company, customer retention rates measure the number of customers who stay.

Royal says, “A high retention rate is indicative of strong customer loyalty and satisfaction.” It’s helpful to understand both your churn rate and customer retention rates. Comparing the two numbers will help you determine if you’re gaining more customers than losing them.

You want your customers to stay for obvious reasons. However, the cost of acquiring new customers is often much higher than the cost of retaining existing customers.

So, not only is customer retention smart from the customer loyalty perspective, but it also helps increase your bottom line, making your customer retention rate worth knowing.

Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value represents the total revenue a company can expect from a single customer over the entire relationship with that customer.

Royal says to “calculate the total value a customer brings to your business over their entire relationship with your company.” And because retaining a customer is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones, understanding a customer’s lifetime value can be a big motivator to implement and improve customer success strategies.

Support Ticket Response Time

Tracking the time it takes your customer service team members to respond to a support ticket is a helpful number to know — and an easy issue to improve with the right strategies in place.

The data shows that 46% of customers who contact a customer support team expect companies to respond in less than four hours. That sounds reasonable enough, right? However, a recent SuperOffice survey found that 62% of companies do not respond to customer emails.

Talk about frustrating! Blanc says, “The majority of tickets created by customers won’t be about how good your product is. These customers may face technical issues, and we know patience has limitations.”

It might sound simple, but responding to and helping customers when they have an issue is a great way to build loyalty. Set a timeframe and track how long your customer service team takes to respond to customer support tickets. Then, use this information to help plan your improvements.

Feedback Volume and Quality

When tracking support ticket response time, pay attention to the kinds of feedback your customer service teams receive and the quality of the feedback. Messages of praise let you know your company is doing something right. However, negative feedback indicates a customer success issue.

Blanc says to ask yourself this: “How many suggestions do you get from customers? And most importantly, which suggestions are the most asked?

Collecting and analyzing customer feedback can point to a breakdown in your customer service pipeline.

Net Promoter Score

Did you know that 90% of customers say they consider reviews before making a purchase?

It’s true. And, not only that, but 74% of customers find that reading reviews and ratings is the best way to learn about a product or service.

So, what your customers say about your business to others is vitally important to customer success. Terrible ratings and reviews will deter new customers from taking a chance with your company.

That’s why it’s helpful to know your company’s net promoter score. Royal says a net promoter score can “assess customer loyalty and likelihood to recommend your product or service to others, providing insights into overall satisfaction and advocacy.”

If your net promoter score is unsatisfactory, then you know you have areas of improvement to work on.

How Maturity Affects Performance

Understanding the frustrations of your customers and wherein the customer pipeline issues occur is necessary for your customer success team.

One of the most significant benefits of a customer success maturity model is that it creates alignment between your customer support team members.

Royal says it “establishes a unified direction for the entire team, ensuring everyone understands and works towards the same customer success goals.” With defined goals and responsibilities, your customer support team can work cohesively to support your customers.

Second, strategically working to improve specific benchmarks, such as ticket response time, helps increase customer retention.

According to Blanc, customer retention is the highest priority. Blanc says, “Retention is the new black, as with every business worldwide. Once you understand where your customer maturity is at and create actionable processes to improve it, the retention rate will increase.

A third benefit of a customer success maturity model is that it places the customer at the center of all operations. Royal says it “cultivates a customer-first approach throughout the organization, strengthening customer relationships and loyalty.

According to Blanc, customer loyalty is important because “the more mature your business is regarding customer success, the better the relationship with your customers. We often underestimate word-of-mouth, but it can be the most important acquisition channel.”

How to Use the Customer Success Maturity Model (+Expert Tips)

how to use customer success maturity model

Focusing on your customers’ success is critical to the success of your business. If you lack a customer-centered approach, here are five steps to create and implement your customer success maturity model.

1. Assess the current situation and identify areas of improvement.

Before you can establish and implement improvement strategies, you need to first understand where your customer service stands.

Shehla Yamani, an experienced customer success leader, suggests assessing the current situation is vital to creating a successful customer success maturity model.

Yamani says that “by discerning their current stage, teams gain insight into their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. This awareness enables them to tailor their strategies and actions accordingly, facilitating a smoother transition towards higher levels of maturity and effectiveness in delivering customer success.

Take the time to assess your current situation and brainstorm relevant metrics that will help you gain insights into your customer success performance. Think about tracking metrics like churn rate, retention rates, and ticket response times to name a few.

These metrics will provide valuable insights to your customer success team, identify areas of needed development, and provide a baseline for improvement.

2. Establish a customer support team.

Whether you’re a brand new company or you’ve been grinding away for a while, you need to establish a team of employees dedicated to taking care of the needs of your customers.

Having a dedicated team focused on ensuring the success of your customers is paramount to improving your churn rates, customer retention rate, ticket response times, and achieving your company’s goals.

Blanc thinks a dedicated team is the key to a company’s success. Blanc advises the following: “Don’t be afraid to invest time and money if you use a customer maturity model. At Submagic, 30% of our team is dedicated to customer care, and we always follow new trends and processes to be closer to our clients while growing and reaching our product goals.”

3. Create an action plan.

Once you’ve established a team of customer service professionals, it’s time to brainstorm a clear action plan to help you and your team reach your goals.

Using the baseline benchmarks that you’ve collected, define clear, achievable objectives that your team can work on to implement and improve. It’s important to remember that your objectives should be SMART goals — or specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

SMART goals can help your team stay on plan.

4. Measure and monitor success.

The results of your customer success maturity model likely won’t flourish overnight. Instead, you’ll need to measure and monitor your objectives to see any fluctuations in your benchmark metrics.

Royal understands the necessity of keeping a pulse on your customer success maturity model. He says, “Make it a habit to periodically check in and recalibrate where your company stands on the maturity model. Customer expectations, market trends, and your own team’s skill set are always in flux.”

And since expectations, market trends, and skills sets are constantly changing, it’s okay to make changes to your customer success goals, too. The important thing to remember is that a maturity model is meant to help you improve your customer success, and the best, most relevant improvements come from continuously monitoring customer data.

5. Promote a customer-focused culture.

It may take a while and a lot of trial and error, but as you learn what works and what doesn’t, encourage your employees to keep a customer-centric mindset. Ultimately, your customers and their experience should be at the forefront of every business decision you and your team make.

Your Customer’s Success is Your Success

No matter where you are in your business — whether you’re a new company or an established brand — you can take the necessary steps to implement a customer success maturity model to continue the success of your business.

Besides, the heart of every successful business is happy, successful customers. And by creating and implementing a customer success maturity model, you and your team can help turn your customers into loyal champions of your brand.

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I was disappointed when Zulily closed abruptly last year, but at least I only had discounted TOMS at stake, not my teeth.

Back in December, SmileDirectClub customers were shocked to learn that the company had gone out of business overnight. No one notified customers, many of whom were halfway through their dental alignment. There were no refunds and no continuation plan other than “Contact an orthodontist. Good luck!”

That’s a perfect example of how not to manage a business closure. Closing a business can be a personal and very difficult decision. It also isn’t unique — 20% of businesses close within the first year, and 50% within the first five years.

Amidst all the logistics and financial to-dos, how you treat customers during a closure will cement your reputation and legacy for years to come. Follow this guide to learn the best way to wind down your business while doing right by your customers.

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Closing your business? Good customer service still matters.

So, you’re closing your business. Why, then, should you care about customer service or customer success? Here are a few reasons you should shutter your business with customer care and professionalism.

1. Your business still exists in some form.

Sometimes, you may close just one location in a chain or one business concept under a parent company. In this case, you need to continue to serve customers well so you can retain them at one of your other locations or businesses.

In other cases, your retail business might be simply moving online. There’s a common trend I’ve noticed in the past few years. Remember Brookstone? They closed their 100 mall stores in 2018, but you can still buy your massage chairs and shiny-but-unnecessary gadgets online. How about Pier 1, Papyrus, Dressbarn, Payless, or Gymboree? It’s the same story.

Payless Shoes online store

Image Source

Even if your business closes, your brand, intellectual property, and customer list may have value you can monetize — as long as you don’t kill your brand value in the closure process. Take Overstock.com, for example, which purchased the Bed, Bath, and Beyond brand after it closed. If you’re selling your practice or moving entirely online, you want to hold on to your reputation.

2. Maintain loyalty for your next venture.

Many famous entrepreneurs — including Bill Gates, Sir Richard Branson, Colonel Harland Sanders, and Milton Hershey — all had failed businesses before finding success. If you want to start another business down the road, don’t burn all your bridges now.

3. It’s the right thing to do.

Most business owners have a reason for being in business outside of simply the money. Chances are you’re proud of what you’ve built, and you’ve enjoyed serving your customers (at least, some of the time). If you own a local business, think of the impact that closing poorly would have on your community and neighbors.

Customer Service Dos and Don’ts: Tips for Going Out of Business the Right Way

To navigate this tricky transition, follow these dos and don’ts of going out of business well.

business closure tips

Do: Communicate with customers.

Whenever possible, send customers an email or letter notifying them of your decision. Share as much of the reasoning and story that you feel comfortable telling, but make sure that the message is succinct and clear. For instance, don’t send a vague email subject line like “Thank you for supporting us.” Send more than one message with urgent keywords like “Final reminder” or “Last day in business.”

Don’t: Tell customers too early.

If customers still owe you money, you want to make sure you can collect as many of your outstanding invoices as possible before announcing you’re shutting down. And, of course, don’t let your employees find out at the same time as everyone else. Tell your team first.

Green Bean Delivery business closure

In the example above, local grocery delivery company Green Bean Delivery shared their announcement with customers a week before closing. This gave customers just enough time to receive their final deliveries, contact customer service if needed, and shop the closeout sale. Notice how they reinforced their mission and thanked customers for their longtime loyalty.

Do: Anticipate customers’ FAQs.

Before sending an announcement, try to anticipate as many customer questions as possible. This way, you can avoid answering a flood of queries, answering the same questions over and over again. Share as many practical details as you can, including:

  • Your final date in business.
  • Any changes to your hours or operations in the meantime.
  • Whether pending orders will be fulfilled or refunded.
  • Whether you’ll honor returns, gift cards, and vouchers.
  • How customers can export their files or records, if applicable.
  • If you have another location, how to transfer over.
  • Inventory sales for discounted shopping.
  • Any continuity details, such as a new owner or referrals to competitors.
  • How to contact customer service or check order status.

Don’t: Overpromise or overexplain.

While you want to give sufficient detail and value, don’t overpromise. If you don’t have the cash flow to honor returns or gift cards, don’t say that you will. You don’t need to overexplain. Simply state your policy.

It’s also ok to admit any details you don’t yet know. Take, for instance, this business closure email from online whiteboarding platform InVision. The CEO’s letter hits all the right notes, including a clear timeline and how to export your documents.

The email explains that one of its tools, Freehand, has been acquired and will be continued in some form by the new owner. However, they’re careful not to give too much detail since the data migration plans are still in development.

InVision Business Closure Email to Customers

Do: Offer promotions to convert and retain customers.

If you have remaining locations or are moving your business online, incentivize customers to keep shopping with you.

Gabrielle Marie Yap, Culinary Entrepreneur and Senior Editor at CarnivoreStyle, shared how she handled closing a restaurant location a few years ago.

“We reached out via email, social media, and even put up notices at the closing site, thanking them for their patronage and explaining the reasons behind the closure,” she recalls.

Yap said her company wanted to incentivize customers to visit their other locations.

“We offered special deals and discounts exclusive to those affected by the closure. Whether it was a free appetizer or a percentage off their bill, these little perks made customers feel appreciated and encouraged them to give our other spots a try,” Yap says.

Ultimately, the feedback and insights they learned through the experience helped them strengthen their existing locations.

Don’t: Let morale slide.

It’s understandably difficult to keep your staff positive when they’re losing their jobs. But, business closures are often made worse by employees badmouthing the owner or posting insider stories on social media.

You can avoid many issues by paying your employees all wages that are due and severance if possible. Then, lead by example to serve customers with professionalism until you switch the lights off.

“I’ve found that keeping staff motivated with a customer service focus helps retain employees needed to wind down smoothly,” shares Will Yang, head of growth and marketing at Instrumentl. “It’s about finishing strong.”

Yang notes that when he closed his retail store, his team celebrated customer and community until the last day. “Though bittersweet, we all left proud. The care we showed customers remained our legacy,” Yang says.

Do: Hold your head up high.

Closing a business holds a lot of emotion — you might be disappointed, crushed, or even relieved. No matter your emotional state, walk away knowing that you did what few people are willing to do: take a risk to build something. No business closure is truly a failure when you delivered value to customers and learned something from it.

Saying Goodbye to Your Customers

Closing your business is one final chance to thank customers for going along for the ride of a lifetime with you.

I know that I carry a fondness in my heart for many restaurants, stores, and bookstores that are no longer in business. Depending on your industry, customers may have marked important milestones with your business, like a first date with their spouse or buying a wedding dress.

Throwing a final inventory sale or open house can give customers a chance to say goodbye, take photos, and share their good memories.

When you communicate clearly and transparently, anticipate customer FAQs, and treat customers and employees with respect in these final days, you’ll earn respect and loyalty for whatever chapter comes next.

crisis communication