For any business model which comes “as a service,” customer success is a journey to be nourished and nurtured. During this journey, “Customer Onboarding” is one of the essential phases, which sets the tone of the engagement in the long term.
Customer Onboarding is a journey, if you make it happen with a customer first approach, customers will always intend to stay with you.
What is Customer Onboarding?
Signing a subscription contract and expecting the assured value addition sets the customers at the level above as compared to other user groups.
Customer Onboarding is a continual journey of getting customers aware of the product features end-to-end to instill the sense that the product will fulfill their business goals.
This must be an ongoing journey revisited after every milestone and implementation stage.
Why Customer Onboarding?
If the customer already has paid for the product, you already have done the product onboarding, and the customer knows the knowledge base which can be used to get the most out of the product, then why does customer onboarding even exist?
- Customer-first approach
- Reduce churn and improve the retention
- Convert product trials to purchase
- Plant the seeds of customer advocacy
How do we do it? Best practices
Analyze the patterns of Product Trial
In most cases, customers prefer to evaluate the products before they tend to buy them.
- Understanding the trial utilization patterns helps gauge the customer’s interests and case-based business needs.
- This can help to shape the strategy of product walkthroughs and tailor-made demos.
KYC - Know your customer
Know your customer beforehand so this becomes easier for you to know who could be the right audience or stakeholder for agenda-specific discussions or meetings. Try to understand who precisely from the client is playing these roles.
- Project sponsor
- Project owner
- Important stakeholders from technical and non-technical backgrounds
- Implementation partners
Send an email with a welcome message with a short note. This email can contain
- Welcome message
- Links to essential toolkits such as Documentation
- Customer Success team member’s email ids in CC
Let your customer know your customer success team
Its significant customers know certain critical people of the engagement. Get your CS team introduced to the team along with the responsibilities and capacities they can help.
- Account Manager
- Customer Success Manager
- Technical Account Manager
- The management team for any escalation paths
Sign-in, Sign-up, and respective provisions
Reaffirm if the client has done specific, mandatory, and fundamental steps. This will also need to have internal collaborations.
- Ensure your customer representatives (and the team) have signed and can sign in without issues.
- Make your customers aware of the required provisions of the product or services and access level to the same.
The engagement model and accurate delivery of the same is the key. From welcome emails to check-in emails to understand how the onboarding is going, just-in-time communication keeps the customers engaged.
Set the mutual cadence of the meetings - the cadence of such meetings could be
- Every alternate day for the first week
- Every week for the first month
- Bi-weekly till the end of the first quarter.
- Post first quarter - revisit this cadence and set it up accordingly.
Sense of value proposition
Value proposition from the investment made is the high-priority outcome that any customer would like to see, and it starts happening from the beginning of the engagement.
- This further cements the bridges with trust and confidence.
- This also sparks a push towards getting customer advocacy, which is further strengthened as the engagement progresses.
The initial state of product introduction brings up many common questions. Hence handy links to the knowledge base can be a big help for customers to be autonomous. You can ensure the customer knows and have access to
- Product documentations
- Community-driven discussion forums
- Any broadcast channel
- Links to the case studies
Visually rich functional product walkthroughs bring magic to the engagement as this connects the product features with the customers' business needs.
- This also helps give customers the impression of the right decisions as something happening in front of their eyes brings business sense into the picture.
- It gets more accessible for customers to relate their business needs with the features demonstrated.
Tailor-made use case-specific demos
Product demos cannot limit only to their core feature.
- Tailor-made and use case-specific demos to attract the customer's attention
- It helps in getting confidence from customer stakeholders.
- Sets the ground for utilizing the product features to achieve the goals
- It makes the customers feel special and brings those wow moments in the engagement cycle.
Unblock the blockers
Where there is a feature - blockers ought to get into the picture.
- Meticulous attention to the blockers faced by customers and serious efforts to eliminate those make the onboarding and product adoption smooth for customers.
- This triggers more happening engagement and a sense of co-creation for customers.
Give quick wins and recognitions:
As customer onboarding is, a continuous journey should not hold us back from offering cheers.
- Quick wins and recognition are always necessary to give the customers confidence that they are progressing in the right direction toward meeting their business goals.
- These quick wins could be as simple as completing the proof-of-concept or advancing toward the following learning objectives. Wins, recognition, and appreciation set the mood for the clients' next-day actions on the product.
Launchpad and Launch
Ensure customers have the best launchpad for their upcoming launches. Your assistance could be of significant value -
- Check the implementation readiness
- Help in designing the go-live scripts
- Help in preparing the DACI / RACI matrix
- Help in standardizing the deployment flow
- Help in forming the roll-back process
- Assistance in smooth launch
Treat it as a Journey and not an outcome
A journey makes us feel about going towards the desired aim but also lets us know the importance of everyday progress.
It’s the same way for Customer Onboarding too. Build a Strategy, perform it, see the results, revise, improve, check with customers, and repeat the flow.
Customer Onboarding is a journey. If you make it happen with a customer-first approach, customers will always intend to stay with you.