Customer retention and churn prevention starts at the beginning of a customer’s journey with your company in onboarding. This crucial first interaction time between you customer, your product and your team establish the groundwork that can jumpstart success or accelerate failure.
Before we jump into the five signs that you might need to revamp your onboarding process, let’s first take a look at what your onboarding should look like.
A good customer onboarding process should…
- Provide a clear roadmap – From the onset of your customer relationship you should share a strategic plan that outlines where you are going, and the steps needed to get there. This can also serve as a tool to keep everyone on the same page throughout the process.
- Establish realistic expectations – Discussing and agreeing upon expectations early-on is very beneficial to both sides and will help to eliminate unpleasant surprises later down the road.
- Set specific objectives and timelines – You should set very clear objectives that are measurable against your goals as well as a timeline. You will also want to work with the customer to get data on prior performance if available, so you know the baseline you are working from.
- Focus on your expertise – You know your customers and you know your product and the combination of the two should make you the expert and feel empowered to advise and guide the customer along the way.
- Be personalized – Be sure you gather information from Sales and do your research before you talk to the customer to make sure the whole experience is geared towards their objectives and needs that have already been shared in the sales process.
So, now that we know what your onboarding process should look like, let’s look at some signs that would indicate you might need to revamp your onboarding process.
- You cannot explain your onboarding process in one minute. Your onboarding process needs to be clear and concise and not overly complicated. If you can’t explain it in a way that makes sense in one minute, then how are you going to ask and expect your customer to follow along in the process?
- It is exactly the same for every customer. All of your customers are not the same. If you take each customer through the exact same script, you’re probably going to miss uncovering information about their needs, which will lead you to miss opportunities for adding value and quick wins during and after the onboarding process.
- You don’t have an internal transition process. How can we ask your customers to trust in your processes to correctly onboard and manage them effectively, if there is a disconnect after the sales process and beginning to work with the Customer Success team? They should know that everything that was discussed and agreed upon during the sales process was fully documented and the Customer Success team had been briefed and is able to seamlessly pick up and start the onboarding process.
- You have not changed your onboarding process at all in at least a year. Onboarding involves processes, people, and products. At sometime throughout the year it is very likely that each one of these components will evolve. They might evolve independently or all at the same time, but the main thing is they will change, and your onboarding process should incorporate these developments.
- You do not track any KPIs around your onboarding. Do you know what your onboarding timeframe is? In other words, on average how long does it take your customers to onboard? This is your early warning sign. If you have that number, then you can measure whether or not your process is working and you can also break that out across segments, to see where you might need to adjust.
Building an onboarding process takes a lot of time and effort and it can sound daunting to have to go back to the drawing board to rework and update your process, but keep this in mind- you don’t have to change everything all at once. You could pledge to review it every quarter and make small changes to the process quarterly so it’s not so overwhelming.
What you want to strive for is to think of your onboarding as an adaptive process. So, when something changes within your organization, you take the time to think about how it will impact your customers in the onboarding process and then you make the tweaks necessary.
If you nail onboarding you are setting your customer up for success and smoother sailing from that point forward. So, put in the time to really assess your organization’s onboarding effectiveness.
To learn more about how to streamline onboarding to reduce churn – view this on-demand webinar.
Customer Success Around the Web
- Grow SaaS Customer Retention With a Giving Mindset – Read about how you can build customer retention with equal parts value and gratitude.
- 7 Things You Might Forget in Your Customer Welcome Emails– Find out what your onboarding emails might be missing.
- 4 Steps to Develop a Proactive and Confident Customer Success Team– Check out these four essential items that will help you develop your team.