Inside CrewFire's Onboarding Process: Our Key to New Customer Success

Alan VanToai

December 10, 2020

At CrewFire, we take our onboarding seriously. Starting from day one, we position our customers to be in a spot where they can take ownership of their brand ambassador program and get on track to launching a powerful program with profitable results.

It has taken some trial and error to get a process that feels just right (we are still learning and adjusting as we go!) but we have found an approach to onboarding that ticks all of the boxes.

So, we wanted to share that process with you! Today, we want to talk about our onboarding process, how we got to where we are today, the tooling we use, and the lessons we have learned along the way!

So, let's hop into it!

Onboarding at CrewFire

Onboarding at CrewFire is broken down into a mix of self-based learning and Zoom calls.  We have created a process that is extremely flexible.

No brand is bound to our process, meaning we give them the flexibility to decide how intense they want their onboarding to be.

Some  people feel sufficient with one onboarding call and the self-based learning materials, while others like to have a couple of face-to-face meetings before they launch their ambassador program.

We have broken our onboarding process into six simple steps:

  1. Discover: We have each new customer take an onboarding survey where we ask a variety of questions, including their goals for the program, social media channels they will use, etc.
  2. Prepare: Gather and customize all onboarding materials to fit the brand and deliver one clean file to each customer prior to onboarding.
  3. Call: We have our first onboarding call during which we guide our new customers through the CrewFire app.
  4. Check-in: After your first onboarding call, don't just forget about our customers. We make sure to schedule check-ins, getting feedback, and give support.
  5. Feedback: Second onboarding call - Q&A, feedback, and coaching.
  6. Launch: Go live and continuous support!!

Onboarding Materials

For some brands, hosting an ambassador program is a brand new strategy for growth while others have been going strong and just want to conglomerate all of their activities and ambassadors in one uniform place.

Whatever the case might be, we want to set each brand up for success!

With that, we have created tons of onboarding materials that can help guide each brand by example, including:

  • An extensive welcome packet that guides each brand through all parts of CrewFire, linked to articles from our Knowledge Base as well as our CrewFire 101 Training Video series
  • Recruiting materials such as video scrips and landing page best practices
  • Admin templates such as creating a welcome post and a brand handbook
  • Community management best practices and prompts

Some call it maticulous, we call it thoroughly preparaing our customers for success! 😉

We want to ensure each brand feels comfortable, ready, and excited for this new chapter of growth!

The Customer Controls the Onboarding Call

One lesson we have learned through trial and error and tweaking our onboarding process is that we never want to have our onboarding calls be one sided.

Aka, people don't want to listen to me talk for 45 minutes!

So, we transitioned to the process of having the customer control the call. This is a strategy we developed with the goal of putting the customer in the driver's seat and letting them walk through CrewFire as we coach them by pointing them in the right direction.

So, when we hop on a Zoom call, we have the customer share their screen and we walk them through the app. We are ready with our pointers to guide them through CrewFire. This helps new customers to get more comfortable with the app and get more hands-on experience using CrewFire.

It is also great for Q&A as we host our first onboarding call. As the new customer is getting comfortable with CrewFire and taking control of the conversation, they will have more autonomy and ability to ask questions as they come up in the moment.

This new method has been used to much success!

Successful Onboarding Tools

We are only as strong as our most powerful tools that we use to streamline our operations and make sure onboarding is smooth as butter.

Tooling with CrewFire has been something we have dialed in so that our workflow is solid and our customers get the best experience possible!

Below are the tools we leverage at CrewFire that help us deliver a seamless onboarding process, everytime!


Each new CrewFire customer takes an onboarding survey. These surveys help the customer success department analyze the customers needs and goals so that together, we can make obtainable KPIs and track metrics of a successful ambassador program.

Airtable has helped us keep all onboarding surveys in one unified place.


Before we switched over to Notion, we would simply send a Google file link to new customers that contained all of their new onboarding materials.

There was one limitation though. Google Docs and Drive are great, but the missing piece was the ability for customers to interact with their onboarding materials.

We felt limited with a traditional "pen and paper" method that Google Docs delivered, so we looked for a platform that could provide more polish and some advanced features for our customers.

So, we moved all of our onboarding over to Notion! We are HUGE Notion fans here at CrewFire. And Notion has been able to deliver that interactivity that was simply missing from Google Docs.

One of our favorite parts of using Notion is the ability to create a super useful checklist that each brand can use to keep track of all the tasks they need to set up leading to launching their ambassador program.

This helps keep them on track and prepared to host a successful ambassador program!


Another tool that we use to keep the team on track is Asana.

Asana has offered many wonderful benefits that our team utilizes daily, but when it comes to onboarding, it helps keep us organzied and to know when to schedule followups and do check-ins.

We are able to move our new customers along through onboarding and ensure we don't skip a beat with them! This checklist makes sure we help position each brand for success starting from day one.

CrewFire Onboarding Best Practices

We have done a lot of trial and error to find the best process, so we wanted to share our knowledge of onboarding, share our best practices, and talk about some of the errors we made along the way!

Here are some of the best practices CrewFire has developed for onboarding success:

1. Start the onboarding process as soon as the new customer signs up

2. Give them flexibility

  • Some customers like several calls while other feel comfortable with just one, so play it by ear and give them the opportunity to decide

3. Try to think of any resource that could be them be successful and create it!

  • For us, we created ideas for activities, best practices for recruiting, and so much more!

4. Find ways to delight them!

  • Finding items that you can deliver to your customers that will make their lives easier
  • For example: we deliver recruitment social media graphics to each new customer!

5. Make sure there is an even amount of conversation during onboarding

  • Don't wanna take the whole time, make sure they feel heard and ask them questions
  • Have a positive rapport and build those relationships

6. Let your customers lead and put them in control

  • If they are new to using your type of product, set meaningful goals, and KPIs together!
  • For example: some brands we work with have never hosted a brand ambassador program before, so the software and concept are new

Onboarding Lessons We've Learned

We couldn't have landed on these best practices without learning some lessons and testing new ideas along the way.

Here are the lessons we have learned that have helped us create the killer onboarding process we have today!

  1. Create a space that fosters engagement from clients: This is KEY!
  2. Create onboarding materials that are exciting and not dry: Add gifs, personality, graphics, images, and break up the text a bit.
  3. Give the customers more ambiguity: Practical onboarding will always be stronger than theoretical onboarding.
  4. Focus on the onboarding enviornment: Create an environment where they can learn instead of just watch
  5. An engaged customer is a good customer: Even if they are always telling you how your product could evolve or what items could be improved, these are the types of customers you want (and need) to keep pushing your prodcut to evolve
  6. Welcome the feedback!! While the feedback might not always be the best, it shows that they are consistently using the product and finding those necessary holes for you. These holes will only make your product stronger

But, the biggest lesson we have learned is don't be married to any one single process.

As the SaaS space evolves, so does the onboarding process.  Don't get stuck in your ways and keep an open mind and a sharp eye for evolving best practices from others in the industry!

What Does Your Onboarding Process Look Like?

Onboarding takes many forms, and we hope that you find the best process for you! This is how we have organized our onboarding process, how will you organize yours?

Tell us your onboarding success secrets and best practices!

Ready to turn your customers into your army of brand ambassadors? If so, check out CrewFire's epic demo video to see how you can drive more referrals, word-of-mouth, and user-generated content for your Shopify store.

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Alan VanToai

Co-Founder of CrewFire


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