Great Onboarding Converted Me

I shared my thoughts on the importance of customer onboarding in previous posts (see here and here). Those posts were inspired by poor experiences related to products I was interested in purchasing. Today I had the opposite experience.

My friend wanted to meet at a particular coffee shop he’d heard about. I meet people at coffee shops regularly but never buy coffee or tea. They just haven’t been my thing, but I’m happy to support the business by grabbing a juice. I had no plans to do anything different today. Little did I know that was about to change.

As soon as we walked into this shop, we were greeted and given an impressive education on their products and the history of the company. They highlighted how they were different from competitors, gave us personalized recommendations, and allowed us to smell samples. I was impressed and intrigued. I’d never had an experience like that at a coffee shop and decided to try one of the recommended teas. My expectations were still low.

My buddy and I both were blown away when we got our drinks. He’s an entrepreneur too, so we immediately nerded out on breaking down why we thought this coffee shop would do exceptionally well. We concluded that in addition to having high-quality products, they’d done a phenomenal job of onboarding people who are new to coffee or tea. They made it easy to try something you otherwise wouldn’t through education, personalized recommendations, and sampling. All within the first minute or so of walking through the door.

This shop did an amazing job and gained two new customers in the process. I have zero desire to try tea anywhere else, but I’m looking forward to my next cup at this shop! My experience today demonstrates the power of onboarding for a business different from tech—a brick-and-mortar retail store with a physical product. Make it easy for your customers to try a great product and you’ll win!