High-Touch vs. Tech-Touch Customer Onboarding:

The SaaS market is to reach USD 908.21 billion in 2030, at a CAGR of 18.7% during the forecast period, 2023-2030 according to Fortune Business Insights. and 99% of businesses use at least one SaaS solution. This means that there are a lot of competing SaaS solutions and your customers won’t hesitate to take their businesses elsewhere if you are not able to provide the support they need.

But this also means that the market is growing, and it is growing fast. So whilst customers are expecting more from you and the competitiveness is growing, you are also growing your customer base and will be welcoming more and more clients to your platform, but how can we do this right?

The first impression a customer has of your product can significantly impact their satisfaction and loyalty. In the realm of customer success, onboarding is that crucial first step—a journey that sets the tone for the customer's experience with your product. Amidst the myriad of software solutions available today, businesses must navigate the challenge of providing an onboarding experience that not only educates but also engages the customer. This is where the concepts of high-touch and tech-touch onboarding come into play, each catering to different customer expectations and needs.

The high-touch model is synonymous with personalized attention and support. It's about providing customers with a dedicated success manager who guides them through the onboarding process, ensuring a deep understanding of the product and addressing any issues that arise. This approach is particularly effective for complex solutions or high-value customers who expect a level of service that goes beyond the standard.

Conversely, the tech-touch model relies on automation and digital tools to deliver a scalable onboarding experience. Through targeted emails, in-app tutorials, and AI-driven chatbots, this approach enables businesses to efficiently onboard a large number of customers, personalizing the experience at scale through segmentation and analytics.

High-Touch Onboarding: More Than Just Hand-Holding

Choosing a high-touch route means that, as a Customer Success Manager (CSM), you're deeply involved in the customer's learning curve. This involvement ensures they achieve a solid understanding of your product right from the start. But it's more than just about knowledge transfer; it's about making each customer feel uniquely valued.

When do we choose for a high-touch onboarding model

In a world where marketing often serves as a company's outward face, your customer success team is the heart and soul of the customer experience. They are the human face of your brand to your customer base, embodying the values, empathy, and expertise your company stands for. In this light, high-touch customer success—and by extension, onboarding—becomes not just sensible but essential under certain conditions:

  • Complex Product Offerings: If your product or service has a steep learning curve, intricate features, or requires detailed setup, high-touch onboarding is indispensable. It ensures that customers can navigate the complexities of your solution with ease and confidence.
  • Valuable Customer Segments: For your most valuable customers, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't cut it. These customers often have unique needs and high expectations. High-touch onboarding allows you to cater to these specific requirements, ensuring a seamless and satisfactory product experience.
  • Differentiation in a Competitive Landscape: In a market crowded with alternatives, your commitment to customer success can be a significant differentiator. High-touch onboarding shows that you're willing to go the extra mile to understand and solve your customers' unique challenges.

In essence, high-touch onboarding is about crafting a customer journey that's not only informative but also deeply reassuring. It's a way to show your customers that behind every product, there's a team of people committed to their success. This approach doesn't just lead to better product adoption; it lays the groundwork for a lasting relationship based on trust, satisfaction, and loyalty.

As you lead your team towards more personalized customer engagement, remember: the goal of high-touch onboarding is not just to educate but to empower. By making your customers feel valued and understood, you're not just building a customer base—you're building a community.

Crafting your high-touch customer onboarding strategy

Creating a high-touch customer experience is essential in today's market, especially for complex software solutions where customer engagement and satisfaction are critical to success. For customer success leaders, such as Heads of Customer Success, Chief Customer Officers, and Directors of Customer Success, implementing a high-touch onboarding model is paramount. Here’s a guide combining and refining the key elements from the provided texts to help you create an impactful high-touch onboarding experience tailored to your audience's role:

  1. Align Onboarding Goals with Customer Objectives: Initiate the onboarding process by identifying your customers' specific goals and aligning your efforts to meet these objectives. This ensures the onboarding experience directly supports what customers seek to achieve with your product.
  2. Customize the Onboarding Experience: Tailor the onboarding journey for each customer based on a thorough understanding of their needs, industry, and use case. This personalized approach ensures a more relevant and engaging experience from the outset.
  3. Facilitate Multichannel Engagement: Engage customers through their preferred channels during onboarding, including email, SMS, and app notifications, to provide support and guidance in a way that's most convenient and accessible for them.
  4. Assign Dedicated Onboarding Specialists: Provide each new customer with a dedicated onboarding specialist or team. This ensures personalized, hands-on support tailored to each customer's unique context and requirements.
  5. Incorporate Continuous Feedback Loops: Actively seek and incorporate feedback throughout the onboarding process to adapt and improve the experience in real time. This approach helps in addressing any concerns promptly and reinforces the customer's decision to choose your product.
  6. Track and Measure Onboarding Effectiveness: Use specific metrics to gauge the success of your onboarding process, such as time-to-first-value, customer satisfaction, and early usage patterns. Regularly analyzing these metrics allows for ongoing refinement of the onboarding experience to better serve future customers.

By concentrating on these six areas, the onboarding process becomes a highly effective, customer-focused journey, ensuring new users not only understand how to use your product but also recognize its value in achieving their goals

Tech-Touch Onboarding: Scaling Customer Success

Tech-touch onboarding leverages technology to provide a scalable, efficient customer onboarding experience. Unlike high-touch onboarding that relies on personalized, one-on-one interactions, tech-touch strategies use digital tools and automated processes to guide customers through the onboarding process. This approach allows for the management of a larger volume of customers simultaneously, ensuring they receive timely support and resources to start off on the right foot with your product. But not only your customers should be notified and put to action at the right time, your customer success team benefits from this as well!

When to Opt for a Tech-Touch Onboarding Model

Tech-touch onboarding is particularly effective in the following scenarios:

  • Broad Customer Base: Ideal for products with a large user base where personalized onboarding is not scalable.
  • Straightforward Solutions: When your product or service is intuitive or less complex, requiring minimal guidance to get started.
  • Resource Efficiency: When aiming to provide an onboarding experience that is both cost-effective and resource-efficient, particularly for SaaS businesses with freemium models or lower price points.
  • Customer Preference for Self-Service: Many users prefer to explore and learn at their own pace, making tech-touch solutions like online tutorials and self-service portals highly appealing.

Best Practices for Implementing a Tech-Touch Customer Onboarding Model

  1. Automate the Welcome Process: Use automated emails or in-app messages to welcome new customers, providing them with essential resources and next steps to kickstart their journey.
  2. Develop Comprehensive Self-Help Resources: Create an extensive library of how-to guides, FAQs, tutorial videos, and webinars. This enables customers to self-serve and solve problems independently, enhancing their learning experience.
  3. Utilize an Intelligent Knowledge Base: Implement AI-driven support tools such as chatbots to offer real-time assistance and guide users to the right resources, improving the efficiency of problem resolution.
  4. Offer Personalization at Scale: Use customer data to personalize automated communications and resource recommendations. Even in a tech-touch model, personalization can significantly impact customer satisfaction and product adoption.
  5. Encourage Community Engagement: Foster a community where users can share experiences, solutions, and best practices. Peer support and user-generated content can greatly enhance the onboarding experience.
  6. Monitor Usage and Engagement Data: Analyze customer interaction with your onboarding materials to identify popular resources and potential bottlenecks. Use this data to continuously improve your tech-touch strategy.


Tech-touch onboarding offers a scalable way to efficiently onboard a wide range of customers, meeting them where they are with the flexibility to learn at their own pace. By integrating technology into the onboarding process, you can ensure that customers have the resources and support they need to successfully adopt and use your product, even without direct, personalized guidance. Implementing these best practices allows customer success teams to effectively manage larger volumes of customers while maintaining a high level of satisfaction and engagement.

Integrating High-Touch and Tech-Touch Strategies: A Hybrid Approach to Onboarding

Combining high-touch and tech-touch strategies for customer onboarding offers the best of both worlds—personalized support where it's most impactful and scalable, automated interactions for efficiency and consistency. This hybrid approach allows businesses to tailor their onboarding process to fit the diverse needs of their customer base, ensuring that every user feels supported and valued from the start. Here’s how this integrated model can come to life, especially in the context of software onboarding:

High-Touch Elements:

  • Setting Personalized Goals: Begin with a one-on-one session between the customer and a dedicated Customer Success Manager (CSM) to understand the customer's specific objectives and set actionable goals for using the software.
  • Providing Personal Demos: Offer live, personalized demonstrations of the software's key features and functionalities, tailored to the customer's expressed needs and interests. This ensures they understand how to leverage the software effectively for their unique situation.
  • Dedicated Customer Success Manager: Assign a dedicated CSM to each high-value customer, providing them with a direct point of contact for queries, support, and strategic advice, ensuring they feel continuously supported.

Tech-Touch Enhancements:

  • Timed Interventions Based on Usage: Leverage analytics to monitor customer engagement and trigger timely interventions, such as helpful tips or encouragement, when usage patterns suggest potential confusion or disengagement.
  • AI and Automated Messaging: Implement AI-driven tools and automated messaging based on specific triggers, such as reaching a new milestone, to deliver relevant information and support without manual intervention.
  • Insights for Customer Success Managers: Utilize the data gathered from tech-touch interactions to provide CSMs with valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and potential issues. This information can be incredibly useful for preparing personalized agendas for customer meetings, ensuring that discussions are relevant and productive.

Example of the Hybrid Model in Action:


In conclusion, customer onboarding presents businesses with a crucial opportunity to make a positive first impression and set the stage for long-term satisfaction and loyalty. The discussion of high-touch versus tech-touch onboarding highlights the importance of understanding customer needs and preferences in crafting an effective strategy.

High-touch onboarding, characterized by personalized attention and support, is essential for complex products, valuable customer segments, and differentiation in competitive landscapes. It focuses on creating a reassuring customer journey that fosters trust, satisfaction, and loyalty, making customers feel valued and understood.

On the other hand, tech-touch onboarding leverages automation and digital tools to provide a scalable and efficient onboarding experience, suitable for broad customer bases, straightforward solutions, and resource efficiency. It meets customers where they are, allowing them to explore and learn at their own pace while ensuring timely support and resources.

The integration of high-touch and tech-touch strategies through a hybrid approach offers the best of both worlds. By combining personalized support with scalable automation, businesses can tailor their onboarding process to meet the diverse needs of their customer base effectively. This integrated model ensures that every user feels supported and valued from the outset, ultimately leading to improved customer satisfaction, engagement, and product adoption.