It is critical that at each phase in the customer success lifecycle, you are engaging your customer with the goal of retaining them. Onboarding is a vital part of this customer retention focus, however, an onboarding process that is too lengthy or complicated can sour customer relationships early on. It is important to identify ways to shorten and simplify onboarding so by the end of the process, there are a repeatable series of clear, logical steps that turn a new customer into a loyal customer. A digital onboarding process can do just that—accelerate onboarding by methodically teaching your customers how to master your product and begin experiencing value in an efficient, straightforward, and personalized way.
Efficient Onboarding is Critical
A digital onboarding process enables the customer to quickly learn how to use the product and independently incorporate it into their daily workflows, reducing the time to value.
Digitizing the onboarding process makes it repeatable, scalable, and easily accessible. This means you can track onboarding progress in real-time and automate personalized, proactive engagements across your entire portfolio that keep large numbers of customers on track to mastering your product as soon as possible.
The Importance of Time To Value
The digitization of business has given rise to a customer-centric market typified by subscription agreements. This model spreads the cost of digital solutions across years of repeating contracts, meaning the bulk of value is now found in customer retention just as much, if not more, than in customer acquisition.
Today’s customer expects personalized, on-demand services that bring immediate results. If they do not receive this immediate value, there are competitors ready to show them an easier alternative. Retaining a customer’s business means providing value early and clearly demonstrating a link between your product and the growth of their business.
A digital onboarding process helps do this by decreasing onboarding time.
Digital Onboarding Processes Minimize Delays
Digitizing the onboarding experience standardizes the process and enables CS teams to track customer progression, send timely and relevant messages, and anticipate future needs.
By following the steps outlined below, CS teams can ensure a simple and efficient onboarding process:
- Share sales data with the CS team to ensure a smooth handover
- Identify your internal goals for onboarding and how you will measure them
- Define the customer segments you want to track closely
- Scale digital communication with customers
- Develop playbooks for your team to standardize your approach
- Ask for customer feedback and make sure to close the loop
- Review your impact and test new methods
1. Share Sales Data with the CS Team to Ensure a Smooth Handover
Ensuring your customer experiences a smooth handoff across departments is essential to their customer satisfaction. By kickstarting onboarding early, you reduce the time needed to be spent repeating information. Capturing, sharing, and analyzing customer data can help with this process, as that information forms the backbone of the customer-specific goals and KPIs that give clear shape to the onboarding phase.
Using a CS platform to collect a wide range of information enables the easy tracking and digitization of data from other stakeholders. This is especially useful, since sometimes valuable information is lost when an account transfers from one team to another. A comprehensive handover from Sales to the CS team ensures the onboarding process reflects the customer’s unique business goals, expectations, and motivations and that the customer experiences a seamless handoff.
2. Identify Your Internal Goals for Onboarding & How You Will Measure Them
Clearly identifying internal onboarding goals builds product momentum in the early days of onboarding. These goals should have a clearly defined method of measurement and be tracked from the beginning to ensure the CS team is aware of the customer’s progress every step of the way. There are multiple benefits to this tracking process, including:
- The ability to identify which customers need help
- The ability to see bottlenecks
- The ability to easily report on team goals
- The ability to measure the effectiveness of your onboarding processes
To get a comprehensive view of your customers, consider tracking the following metrics:
- The average days spent in onboarding
- The number of support tickets opened
- Revenue delayed in onboarding
- Usage after onboarding
- CSAT/NPS Scores
3. Define the Customer Segments You Want to Track Closely
With so much data at your fingertips, it is important to filter and analyze groups of users or accounts to stay ahead of behaviors and deliver success. With a CS platform, you are able to segment customers to identify groups with specific characteristics or customer health scores—allowing you to stay goal focused, establish an early warning system, create specific messaging and support plans, and easily identify customers who might need more attention. This ability to quickly access and analyze customer data through segmentation is critical in enabling CS teams to make data-driven decisions.
4. Scale Digital Communication with Customers
Scaling digital communication allows your CS team to remain cost-effective while maintaining a quality relationship with each customer. By using customer segments, digital communication can help send the right message at the right time. Here are just a few examples of how you can leverage a digital touch:
- Welcoming new customers and providing them with introductory materials to help them adopt your product
- Reaching out with encouraging follow-ups reminding them of key actions and trainings
- Sending offers that align with behavior patterns to maintain engagement
- Scheduling personalized training with a CSM or advertising times for public training sessions
- Reporting on value experienced/progress made that month
- Following up on NPS with next steps which might include reviewing any issues with a CSM or asking the customer to leave a review on 3rd party sites
By automating communication based on what is known to be effective, your CS team can optimize their resources.
5. Develop Playbooks for Your Team to Standardize Your Approach
A customer is delayed in onboarding and hasn’t met with a CSM in some time—what do you do? This is just one scenario your team should be prepared for. It is important to take time to map out the different use cases that can occur during onboarding and develop a playbook for your team. This way, you can automate your playbooks with CS software to help guide your team on next steps and ensure everyone is using the latest best practices.
Automated playbooks can help your team with the following:
- Initiating a handover from Sales to CS
- Alerting CSMs on critical deadlines and the customer’s current progress
- Updating on critical support tickets recently opened
- Following up with CSAT/NPS scores
This will ensure your CS team easily stays on top of their work, meets critical deadlines, and, most importantly, that no customer falls through the cracks.
6. Ask for Customer Feedback and Make Sure to Close the Loop
Customer feedback is critical to improving your product and ensuring your onboarding experience is satisfactory. Collect customer opinions through customer-initiated feedback (escalations or comments), enterprise-initiated feedback (NPS, CSAT, and CES scores or responses to other high-contact engagements), and customer-monitoring feedback (goal-based assessments of product use and effectiveness). Customer responses, or even lack of responses, to email campaigns, for example, let them flow through a proven chain of interactions that provide detailed information on their experience and automatically prompts tech touch or high touch engagements.
Make the most of customer feedback by using it to identify pain-points, improve your product, trigger the appropriate CSM response, or turn a happy customer into a customer advocate. Always close the loop on feedback by ensuring the issue is taken care of or the promoter is surfaced for advocacy efforts.
7. Review Your Impact and Test New Methods
Your customers are always changing, so digital onboarding practices must constantly be reviewed and improved upon to meet the ever-changing needs of customers. CS teams should regularly review customer feedback, product usage metrics, transactional data, support tickets, escalations, demographic, and behavioral data to ensure that they are aware of where each customer is in the onboarding process and what they need. CS teams should be ready to pivot processes based on these data findings in order to continuously deliver value to customers and ensure they smoothly progress through the onboarding process.
Launch a Digital Onboarding Process
With a Customer Success platform in place, you can implement a digital onboarding process that ensures every customer gets the same personalized, proactive experience when they begin their journey with your product.
Digital onboarding introduces efficiencies that make it possible to scale personalized engagement across a portfolio. The seven steps we have outlined ensure you can maximize your resources while ensuring your customers feel seen, heard, and supported.
Totango’s easy to use platform gives you the power to create a digital onboarding process without losing sensitivity. In these challenging times, you can’t afford to buy before you try. Get started for free today.