A Quick-Start Guide to Low- and High-Touch Onboarding Outreach Using Plays

onboarding

Customer onboarding has a long-lasting impact with deep ties to a customer’s likelihood to churn. Whether through automated or manual monitoring, Customer Success must remain hypervigilant during onboarding to ensure customers stay the course.

Creating a well-defined outreach strategy ensures Customer Success consistently connects with customers throughout this pivotal phase. To show what this outreach may look like, we’re sharing an example of a low-touch (a mostly automated interaction) and high-touch (many personal touchpoints) onboarding Play from ChurnZero. Since onboarding greatly differs by product and market, we made these examples high-level and nonspecific to demonstrate the basis of an onboarding Play while being inclusive of a broader audience.

And to make sure we’re on the same page, let’s explain a Play.

In ChurnZero, a Play automates messaging and tasks based on a user or account’s engagement metrics. Even if you don’t have ChurnZero (although why would you want to go through life like that?), you can use these Play examples as a guide to plan your customer onboarding workflows and communications.

In this seven-step Play, we’ll provide examples showing how onboarding may differ between a low- and high-touch Customer Success model.

Step 1

Low- and high-touch: conduct preliminary research
ChurnZero Action: Create a Task and add it to your Play to receive a reminder alert

Do preliminary research before reaching out to the customer. Create a Task in ChurnZero to:

  • Connect with your Sales Executive to conduct a knowledge transfer (read this for tips on the Sales to Customer Success handoff)
  • Follow the company on Owler to receive news alerts about them, such as funding, layoffs, and new executive hires
  • Connect with the company on social to show you have a vested interest in staying updated on their campaigns, activities, and events

Step 2

Low- and high-touch: engage the account
ChurnZero Action: Create an email and add it to your Play to automate sending

Focus on the initial wins made during the customer’s sales process. Identify and reiterate why the account purchased to keep their needs top of mind and their momentum going.

Low-touch: Email the customer and immediately outline expectations for their first few days with your organization as well as step-by-step instructions on how to access resources that will help them manage, execute, and achieve their goals.

High-touch: Email the customer reinforcing the account’s purchasing decision and quickly identify that you’ll need to connect to maximize their investment and achieve their goals.

 

Step 3

Low-touch: reiterate resources
ChurnZero Action: Create an In-App Message and add it to your Play to automate sending

Using In-App Messaging, send the customer a step-by-step plan to reiterate what you’ve previously emailed them. Ideally, your message will also include a video that clearly explains their recommended next steps and reminds them how to access the resources they’ll need to be successful. (Note: although it may feel redundant, repetition is key to learning. You can’t assume your audience thoroughly or consistently pays attention to and reads your messages in the beginning of your relationship.)

High-touch: schedule the welcome call
ChurnZero Action: Create a Task and add it to your Play to receive a reminder alert

Call your customer within one day and emphasize again that they’ve made an excellent decision and that you’re excited to schedule the meeting. Recommend scheduling the meeting instead of having it on-demand so that you can effectively prepare.

 

Step 4

Low-touch: reiterate best practices
ChurnZero Action: Create an email and add it to your Play to automate sending

After a day or two, email your customer and share progress benchmarks to illustrate the actions that your most successful customers have typically completed by this time or step. Offer them access to best practices from your knowledge base.

High-touch: conduct the welcome call
ChurnZero Action: Create a Task and add it to your Play to receive a reminder alert

The customer is now feeling confident in their decision. Use your welcome call as an opportunity to set clear, realistic expectations with the customer. Review their original goals to confirm if they’re still accurate and up to date. Commit to mutual timelines and objectives for the relationship. Before you end the call, schedule your next meeting on the spot instead of planning to coordinate through email.

 

Step 5

Low-touch: deliver a video
ChurnZero Action: Create an In-App Message and add it to your Play to automate sending

Using In-App Messaging, create and send an educational video that breaks down your product’s more advanced features. Thank your customer for using your solution and make it clear that you welcome their feedback and questions regarding areas where additional support or training are needed.

High-touch: welcome meeting follow-up
ChurnZero Action: Create an email and add it to your Play to automate sending

Reiterate your initial points from the welcome call, and in clear and concise steps, outline the customer’s next steps and required action items. Restate their goals as they described them since you’ll need to point back to this during future calls and business reviews.

 

Step 6

Low-touch: call the customer
ChurnZero Action: Create a Task and add it to your Play to receive a reminder alert

Even though most of your customer interactions have been low-touch, you can still incorporate a human element or touchpoint. For instance, if the customer encounters configuration issues during their setup, call them to offer your assistance. This supportive outreach will go a long way with how your customer perceives your organization and services.

High-touch: send a friendly reminder
ChurnZero Action: Create an In-App message and add it to your Play to automate sending

Using In-App Messages, reach the customer while they’re actively using your solution to recap the resources you sent in your previous email. Take this opportunity to lightly remind them that you have expectations before your next interaction.

Step 7

Low-touch: offer guidance
ChurnZero Action: Create an email and add it to your Play to automate sending

Email your customer with the recommendations you have for their account. Include a few bullet points outlining common tasks, next steps, and future considerations. You can create an exhaustive list and tailor as appropriate for each account.

High-touch: reiterate goals and expectations
ChurnZero Action: Create a Task and add it to your Play to receive a reminder alert

For a high-touch customer, restating their goals and expectations is a critical practice to follow at the start of your partnership. You don’t want to progress two or three months into the project and become misaligned on their initial priorities and plans. It’s OK to have regular meetings, even if it’s just a 10-minute catchup to ensure your meeting (and hopefully exceeding) your customer’s expectations.

 

Final thoughts for low-touch customers

  • Frequently promote the internal resources made available to customers
  • Set expectations by providing customers with a checklist or timeline
  • Add human elements to a low-touch campaign
  • Make instructional information sent via email easy to digest with bulleted list
  • Personalize templated emails based on a customer’s feature sets


Final thoughts for high-touch customers

  • Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone—your customers want to hear from you
  • Set expectations by providing customers with a checklist or timeline
  • Restate goals and expectations for each interaction, and outline clear next steps
  • Lean on in-app communication to provide additional resources
  • Ask yourself if you’re truly headed down the right path to meet your customer’s defined goals

For more customer onboarding insights, check out these resources:

 


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Fighting Churn is a newsletter of inspiration, ideas and news on customer success, churn, renewal and other stuff and is curated by ChurnZero.

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