Garrett O'Brien

Key Reasons Onboarding Software is Essential to Business Continuity and Client Satisfaction

When you sell complex software products, the onboarding period is one of the most critical points in your client-company relationship. It sets the stage for whether or not the client will see success with your products, and how quickly you can get them to a positive time-to-value (TTV). A shorter TTV allows the client to see a return on investment sooner, often a key factor in renewal decisions. 

The challenge for many companies is streamlining the onboarding process to avoid missing critical steps and improve the experience for everyone. Having the right onboarding software is essential. It allows you to create a standardized process that can be tweaked for each client and keeps everyone on your team on the same page to deliver on time—a critical aspect of allowing for business continuity on your end and satisfaction on your client’s end.

 

Increase Overall Client Retention

It’s a well-known fact that it costs more to obtain new versus retain existing clients. By some estimates, it’s five times more expensive to attract a new client than to keep a client on board. Additionally, an increase in client retention of just 5 percent can boost profits anywhere from 25 to 95 percent so it’s a great investment for business continuity. 

The onboarding process is usually the first interaction your clients have after the sale is complete, so having a smooth onboarding process where you deliver on time and get the client set up to succeed can dramatically increase your chances of retaining those clients in the long term. 

 

Reduce Frustration (on Both Sides)

If you don’t have a well-developed client onboarding process, there are a lot of things that can be frustrating—both for your clients and for your team. 

The things that most clients find frustrating in the onboarding process include: 

  • Lack of communication or team accessibility
  • Missed deadlines and delivery dates
  • Unclear goals or lack of measurable goals
  • Onboarding that takes too long
  • A “cookie-cutter” approach that doesn’t take into account a client’s unique needs
  • Overpromising and underdelivering

Internally, there are also concerns with poor onboarding processes. Some of your team’s biggest complaints might include: 

  • Lack of communication among team members 
  • Lack of communication to clients, leading to excessive emails and phone calls with clients asking what’s going on
  • Roadblocks and silos within the company that cause delays
  • Overpromising to the client, which leads to internal stress to deliver the impossible

All of these things can lead to frustration for your team and your clients. The right software can solve many of these issues. GuideCX offers: 

  • Simple project plans to streamline onboarding that can be customized to meet each client’s needs
  • Project-level communication that’s stored for the life of the project–keeping everyone in your company, and members of your client’s team, on the same page. 
  • The ability to assign tasks easily to internal team members and clients to keep the process moving, with automated email reminders or Slack notifications when tasks are overdue
  • Automated reports sent to the client via email. Updates give them everything they need without over-communicating, eliminating the need for phone calls, meetings, or individual emails. Easy-to-follow progress reports show clear deadlines and set realistic expectations

Find out more about how GuideCX can eliminate client frustration, remove roadblocks, speed up implementation, and improve satisfaction for everyone. Try our free 14-day trial now!

Why Client Relationships Should Be Your First Priority During Onboarding

Many companies focus a lot of time, energy, and resources on attracting new customers. After all, new customers are the lifeblood of a business, right? Well, sort of. While it’s important to bring in new customers in order to keep growing, focusing too much effort on attracting new clients without an equal amount of effort on keeping your existing customers means you won’t really grow. At best you will tread water, and at worst your company will actually shrink over time, perhaps until it’s not really viable at all anymore.

While relationships are important throughout a customer’s journey, there is one time when they are more critical than others: during your onboarding process. This is your first chance to make a good impression with a client, and it’s likely to be a lasting impression.

 

Build Trust

When the sales process is complete and it’s time to move into the onboarding phase, there are usually a lot of new players on both sides. Your sales team hands off a new client to your onboarding and customer success team. Over on the client-side, the decision-maker(s) who signed the contract will probably hand things over to an implementation team who are going to use your product day to day.

Focusing on the relationship with your client from the start helps to build trust between these two teams, creating a solid foundation to build on. If your onboarding process feels purely “transactional,” and you are just checking off the boxes, that will have ramifications when your client’s contract is up and they’re evaluating whether they should renew or go with a competitor.

 

Increase Engagement

One of the most important aspects of onboarding is helping clients reach their “aha” moment when they see the value and benefit that your software can provide. The more you can get clients to engage with your products early, the shorter that time-to-value (TTV) will be. The onboarding process offers a unique opportunity to guide your new clients toward the most valuable and effective tools within your software. They are likely to be excited about what you can offer, so this is the key time to help them engage with your product.

 

Avoid Churn

The more focus you put on building quality client relationships during onboarding, the more engaged your clients will be, and the more likely they will see success with your products. When clients sign a contract to start using their software, they do so with the expectation that it will meet their needs. Onboarding is when you get to prove them right, and successful onboarding where you build trust and a long-lasting relationship can prevent churn in the future. As Rei Inamoto of AdWeek put it, “Design your company—and the relationship with clients—to be something people can grow into, instead of grow out of.”

To find out more about how GuideCX helps you build better client relationships during onboarding, contact us today to schedule a demo.

Things that Should (and Shouldn’t) Be in Your Knowledge Base

How well does your knowledge base perform for your clients? The “knowledge base” is a critical element of every SaaS company, and most have some type of information portal or repository where people can find articles or help—after all, six in 10 consumers say they prefer a self-service tool for simple inquiries, according to an American Express survey. But it’s an often overlooked aspect of customer relations, and not every company has taken the time to optimize their knowledge base because they don’t realize what a critical tool it is for customer success.

If it’s time to revamp your knowledge base (or build it from scratch), here are some things to include, and a few things to stay away from.

 

What You Should Include in Your Knowledge Base

There are a lot of different types of content you can include in a knowledge base, and the exact right amount of each type depends a lot on your customers and your products. However, at a basic level most will include:

  • Welcome or introductory information
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
  • Glossaries and definitions
  • Process guides with step-by-step instructions
  • Product demonstrations
  • Instructional videos
  • Webinars and trainings (live or recorded)

Every knowledge base should also include some very simple information on how users interact with your software or services. For example, helping people quickly reset their password, providing some basic information on pricing and services, or answering a quick question about how to perform specific tasks within your software program.

These types of information are often simple enough that they shouldn’t require a call to customer service, and helping people find the information can save your team a lot of time and effort by avoiding unnecessary phone calls.

Another critical piece of a knowledge base is the “search” feature. While you can list some frequently asked questions, it’s critical that you have a robust and effective search capability on the site to help people find important information. Make sure every piece of information you and your team upload is tagged with keywords to facilitate searches.

 

What to Avoid in a Knowledge Base

While there are very few instances where providing more information is actually negative, there are some things to avoid in your knowledge base for an optimal user experience.

  • Don’t require customers to sift through a lot of information to find what they need
  • Avoid dumping all your articles, guides, and how-to videos without clear and logical organization
  • Include a variety of learning tools (videos, live or recorded trainings, webinars, written guides, and more) and not just a single option (like all FAQ, or all text-based brochures)
  • Don’t assume all the information anyone would ever need is there, ask your customers (with a quick yes/no survey) if your knowledge base provided what they need, and if it didn’t, add more resources

Knowledge base websites can be a valuable tool to help your customers in the onboarding process and beyond, but it must be designed in a way that meets customers’ needs. Find out more about how you can create a better onboarding experience overall with GuideCX software.

The Difference Between Client Onboarding and User Onboarding

Many people use the terms “client onboarding” and “user onboarding” interchangeably, but there are some key differences between these two things. Understanding the differences can help you choose the right onboarding software to meet your needs as you bring in new customers.

 

User Onboarding

User onboarding consists of a set number of steps that get a person set up to engage with your product. That often includes things like setting up a username and password and sending some basic instructions or short videos on how to start using your software program. It may also include helping people set up things like preferences or permissions within your system. In general, it’s a pretty quick process to get them up and running. For many companies, it doesn’t require an entire project management software, just some simple automated communications.

 

Client Onboarding

Client onboarding, on the other hand, is often a longer and more in-depth process than user onboarding. It’s usually going to take several weeks (perhaps even months, depending on the complexity of your product or service), and it’s a time when your onboarding team establishes and builds a relationship with a new client.

Your client onboarding process may include one or more steps to help with user onboarding. For example, if clients are preparing to use your accounting software program, one of the steps in your overall client onboarding process might be to set up all the usernames, passwords, preferences, and permissions within the system for the individual users. However, your full client onboarding process goes far beyond just giving out usernames and passwords.

In order to build this relationship, it’s essential that your team can communicate with the new clients throughout the process, complete all your tasks on time, and provide a five-star experience so the new clients are ready to succeed.

 

Time-to-Value

One of the key features that differentiates user onboarding from client onboarding is the concept of time-to-value (TTV). For more complex products or services, part of your onboarding goal should be to help the client see the value or ROI potential as quickly as possible. The sooner you can get clients to their TTV point, the more likely they will be to stay with you for the long term. Every company should know the point where clients achieve that TTV, but if you don’t, take a step back from your onboarding to figure it out using data from past clients who stayed or left, or by reviewing the key benefits and differentiating features of your product.

Successful client onboarding often includes user onboarding, but it’s more about building a relationship than just setting up a user in your system.

GuideCX improves your client onboarding process with a project management software that facilitates effective communication for internal and external teams, automates certain parts of the process for speedier time-to-value, and provides transparency to improve team member accountability. Find out more by contacting us for a demo today.

How GuideCX Can Improve Your New Customer Experience

The traditional processes for onboarding new clients are broken. If you are a company that brings on new clients, you probably already know this, but you continue working with emails, spreadsheets and clunky project management software because there isn’t a better option. The onboarding process is the first impression for many people and the time when new customers cement their opinion of your company and products. In fact, the customer experience you offer during implementation is, in itself, one of your products, so starting off on the wrong foot will affect your ability to retain clients in the long term.

At GuideCX we realized the process was broken and set out to make it better. Here are several ways that our client onboarding software can improve onboarding, and by extension, your new customer experience.

 

Better Engagement

One of the biggest pain points in implementation can be a lack of engagement and communication. While some onboarding work happens internally, if you don’t keep clients informed through the process, it can make them feel in the dark and result in escalations. How many times has the contract signer called the salesperson who calls the team to find out where things stand? GuideCX ends that. It allows you to add clients and internal stakeholders as users without paying for more licenses, so they can see the entire process. All parties get automatically notified even without logging in on critical matters like overall status, who has the ball and what is overdue, and holding up progress.

 

Scaling and Automation

You may have someone leading your onboarding team(s) today that is incredible. She or he probably knows onboarding for your products inside and out, juggling the responsibility of each team member and keeping the process moving along. Let’s scale that person’s impact! Creating a standardized process (to the extent that you can) helps you manage all the chaos that onboarding can bring—failure to have a standard process makes it hard for your team to identify bottlenecks and improve your customer experience across the board.

If you have several members of an onboarding team or several departments involved in the process of bringing on new clients, this is essential to keep everyone on track and be able to deliver on time, increasing time-to-value and setting new customers up for success. Templates in GuideCX allow you to do just that. This introduces a level of automation that relieves stress for everyone, accelerates project timelines, and increases your team’s bandwidth. With GuideCX running in the background, assignments and reminders are sent to the right people at the right time with the right information.

 

Customer Experience in 2020

Your clients and stakeholders are used to having seamless consumer experiences where they can track their packages, flights, and even pizzas. Give them that same experience with their onboarding and it will pay dividends far beyond a successful implementation/onboarding experience. You can significantly decrease the number of calls and emails asking for status updates, requesting information from clients, or requesting reports for high-level stakeholders and decision-makers on both sides. Let clients see the entire process, completion dates, and get automated reports for anyone on their team with GuideCX.

Find out why our clients are reporting faster timelines, more bandwidth, and fewer escalations by scheduling a demo with GuideCX today.

How “Proof of Concept” Helps Sell Your Product During Onboarding | GuideCX

When your sales team first engaged with a client, they were discussing ways that the products and services you provide can meet a need. They may have identified certain pain points or other gaps that are holding a client back from realizing their own potential. Once the sales team convinced the client that your product could give them the things they need or feel they are missing, they signed a contract and handed the account off to you. Now your job as the onboarding team is to prove that the product can do what they want it to.

 

Proof of Concept in Onboarding

Your clients are going to come into the onboarding process with a lot of ideas about how your product can help them achieve specific goals. The critical role of your onboarding team early on is to identify what those goals and ideas are, demonstrate how your product can meet those needs, and give clients the appropriate tools and training. Your processes need to be structured in a way that gets each client to the realization that your product can do what they want and it is what they thought as quickly as possible.

 

Best Practices During Onboarding

Structure your onboarding in a client-centric (as opposed to feature-centric) way to help them get to that first “aha” moment as quickly as possible, and to motivate them to keep moving through the onboarding process. That means understanding some of the stages that your new clients will go through and meeting their needs at each step.

  • Stage 1: Initial excitement and intrigue – clients are excited about the prospect that your product offers, so capture that excitement with an initial kickoff meeting and some initial communications to get them connected to your product (logins, etc.)
  • Stage 2: Interest and testing – they begin using your software so these onboarding steps should include customized or personalized training to show them the features and benefits that are most likely to solve the issues they have. Have clients do some of the work in this stage so they become invested in the product.
  • Stage 3: Desire to learn more – this is where your clients have seen the benefits that the product can provide and want to dive deeper into how it can help. That means you need to provide more in-depth training suited to their needs.
  • Stage 4: Commitment and success – clients have seen first-hand how beneficial this software can be and have experienced one (or more) “aha” moments where they see the value and potential. Provide them with case studies and best practices to further refine the way they use the product.

The sooner you can get them to Stage 4 the better, because they are more likely to purchase additional products, renew their contract, and recommend your product to others.

Proving your value is critical during the onboarding stage. Clients who don’t see an immediate value or ROI during the onboarding phase are less likely to stick around. Find out how GuideCX can help your team show proof of concept sooner in onboarding and keep more of your clients.

Onboarding Strategies When Your Clients are Medical Companies

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., especially when it comes to tech. An industry that was slow to adopt technology has recently started to see the value it can provide for better patient care and cost savings. If you sell products to medical companies, including providers, it’s important that your onboarding process is structured in a way to get the company, clinic, or providers up and running as quickly as possible.

 

1: Create a Plan

Medicine moves quickly, and since time is important in patient care, most providers, administrators, and clinics don’t have time to waste on a long, drawn-out onboarding process. They purchased your software with the hope of using it to care for patients, and your task is to get them to that point as quickly as you can. Having a clearly outlined plan with realistic timelines can help everyone stay on task.

 

2: Automate and Streamline

One of the biggest challenges in medicine is the lack of time—on the clinical side providers need to spend their time with patients, and on the administrative side, there are significant time demands for everything from hiring and medical billing to accounts receivable and working with payers. Automating as much of the onboarding as possible, and streamlining the things that you need from their team and yours can help you deliver quickly without putting undue stress on your new clients.

 

3: Communicate Throughout the Process

One of the best things you can do is set up systems to communicate regularly with your clients about what you need from them, and where the onboarding process is at any given time. With GuideCX you get a tool that:

  • Sends automated reports to anyone on your team or the client’s team
  • Allows you to create tasks for both your internal team and the client
  • Offers transparency for everyone on your team and theirs to see where the onboarding process is today, and what (if anything) is holding you up
  • Creates real-time projections for onboarding completion based on progress

Having all this built into your software means your team doesn’t have to spend time compiling this information manually, waiting for someone on the client’s team to deliver necessary information, or getting frustrated emails from executives who want to know why something wasn’t delivered on time or isn’t done yet.

Technology has the capacity to vastly improve medical care, and if you offer medical clients something that will help them in that space you need to ensure that onboarding goes smoothly so they can use the product to benefit their patients or their operations. Schedule a demo to see the GuideCX platform in action and learn how it can help.

Proven Strategies to Increase Your Client Onboarding Delivery Rate

Delivering on a promise is the goal of every business. While it’s important to deliver on your promises throughout a client-company relationship, it’s especially important at the very beginning during onboarding. Moving someone from excited prospect to effective user as quickly as possible is one of the key factors in creating long-term clients. Here are a few proven strategies to reduce time-to-value and increase your delivery rate during onboarding.

 

1: Know Your Client’s Goals

One of the first keys to creating value for your clients is to understand exactly why they purchased your product in the first place. What are the short-term and long-term goals they want to achieve, and how can your product help them get there? Once you know that you can effectively tailor your onboarding to meet those needs and help your clients see the value of your software sooner than later.

 

2: Automate What You Can

Next, automate as much of your onboarding possible. This removes the chance for errors, missed tasks, or things that just “fall through the cracks” when you are doing most of your onboarding manually. An important note here, though, is that you don’t want your clients to feel like they are just a number or an account code, so make sure you have an onboarding software platform that allows you to personalize and customize the process for each client (without losing the efficiencies of automation).

 

3: Create Standard Workflows

One of the biggest problems in the onboarding process is a lack of standardization. That means each individual onboarding team member is doing it his or her own way. When you’re small you may be able to get away with this, but as you scale up it becomes impossible to deliver an exceptional client onboarding experience if everyone has their own unique way of doing it. It’s also impossible to train a new team member on how to onboard clients because there isn’t just one way it’s done.

This also opens you up to the danger of having a key member of your team leave, which creates gaps and often it’s your clients who suffer the most (and eventually get frustrated and decide to leave) as a result of those gaps.

 

4: Communicate Constantly

Reducing the time-to-value for your clients and getting through onboarding means communicating in an effective way with everyone on the team. That includes:

  • Tasks and assignments for each team member
  • Status updates for managers and clients
  • Reporting on overall progress for your CEO or executive management
  • Keeping information about the project contained in one place

If your current process involves sending 10,000 emails from the start of onboarding through the end and hoping everyone on the team kept up with every conversation, it’s time to upgrade.

The GuideCX platform was built to help you streamline and improve your client onboarding. Find out more about how it can reduce overall onboarding time by an average of 30% when you schedule a demo today.