How to Create a Sucessful Onboarding Process
After implementation, onboarding is the next phase in your customer journey. Onboarding and implementation are both designed to get your customer on the platform and happily using it, as quickly as possible. Though we’ve separated our best practices into separate blog posts, it’s important to remember these phases are part of the broader customer journey.
When done correctly, onboarding fosters adoption by providing training, learning customer goals, and recommending best practices. When users have a deep understanding of your product and how to apply it to their use case, they’re empowered to achieve their goals. This empowerment is key to driving adoption and, ultimately, success through the use of your product.
As onboarding lays the foundation for long-term success, it’s important that customer success has a clear process to follow. Transparent, consistent communication with your client is perhaps the most effective onboarding tool in your belt. When you’re scaling quickly, details that make a big difference to your user can easily slip through the cracks. You need a roadmap for you and your customer to keep onboarding painless!
So, how do you ensure proper onboarding happens every time, with every customer? Even if you do your part perfectly, how do you manage busy customers who may have bigger priorities than learning a new software?
To help you navigate these waters, we’ve compiled our best tips, tricks and timesavers for a successful onboarding!
- Review steps taken during Implementation. You’ll want to forecast any possible customer concerns or roadblocks. If the implementation team is separate from CS or CS is not directly involved in the process, do internal due diligence.
- Make sure technical set-up is complete.
- Schedule a call or create an email template to handoff the relationship from implementation team (if they are separate) and transition to onboarding.
- Ask for their feedback on the implementation experience
- Follow up on any potential roadblocks
- Introduce them to the onboarding process. There are a few key points you’ll want to hit in this communication:
- Re-express enthusiasm for having them onboard. Be personable, but also be yourself. If you aren’t a “Woo hoo” – er, simply expressing that you’re looking forward to working together can go a long way.
- Reiterate the timelines you established during your sales handoff. Give an update on your progress to date – if you’re ahead or behind schedule, and why this may occurred.
- Share an outline of the onboarding process. Give them the broad overview of how onboarding will progress. If you have a particularly complex process, it may be appropriate to give a quick presentation on this process. This outline should illustrate each step needed to complete onboarding, the stakeholders involved and confirm the timelines established during the handoff.
- Clearly outline each of the action items necessary for a successful onboarding. Tell them what steps you will be taking to ensure a successful onboarding and explain key action items for them to complete. Share the ‘why’ of all these steps. Keep it as succinct as possible, to avoid client fatigue and waning enthusiasm.
- Recommend best practices for their specific use case. How prescriptive you’re able to be with your recommendations depends on your volume of clients. Build defined processes for your customer journey in each segment to help you scale theserecommendations.
- Clearly establish a product champion or internal advocate. This is a person who is an early adopter of your platform. Theyunderstand the benefits of using it and are enthusiastic about achieving their goals. Your champion will be critical to widespread, long-term adoption.
- Develop a cadence for monitoring product usage data. If you’re telling your customers to upload data or begin testing features, double check that they’re actually doing so. If you have a tool to do so, set up alerts around specific features that signal a healthy user. Your goal is to spot warning signs early on and keep customers on track.
- Know what it means to be “fully onboarded”. What this point is and how you get there may vary greatly across customer segments. Remember that just because a customer is successfully onboarded doesn’t mean your job is done! They’re still early in the customer journey.
- Set expectations for communication going forward. Let your customer know how often you will be in contact and the purpose of your communications. By asking your customer’s permission to engage regularly, you build a stronger relationship and create easier access to your stakeholders.
- Ask for feedback. Learn what they thought of the process and what can be improved. Collecting feedback can take many forms, such as surveys, NPS campaigns, broad email inquiries, and one-to-one conversations. Consider which is most appropriate for your customer success model, based on how in-depth your relationships are, the number of accounts you own, value of thoseaccounts and scalability.
Transparent, consistent communication throughout the customer journey is the customer success manager’s best friend. Creating this structure during onboarding allows you to onboard accounts smoothly, operate more efficiently and scale your book of business.
We hope these tips have been helpful for you. Stay tuned for our next posts, where we team up with Mike Peach from Pendo to cover the next phase in the customer journey: Adoption.