Most companies have experienced a situation where they delivered exactly what the customer needed, but in the end, the client was still unhappy with the outcome and dissatisfied with the process. Usually, it’s because the client had certain expectations about what would happen during onboarding, and your onboarding team—for whatever reason—missed the mark. The most common reasons it happens are:
- Making promises during onboarding you can’t keep.
- Delivering a cookie-cutter software program or training that isn’t customized for the client’s individual needs (or not knowing the client’s unique needs in the first place).
- Missing deadlines and/or not completing the onboarding process on time.
- Not providing proper training to allow the client to achieve their desired outcome, or not involving the right people at the right time on the customer side.
- A lack of communication between the purchasing team and the onboarding team. Those implementing may not even understand what was purchased.
One of the most important parts of the onboarding process is being able to manage your client’s expectations from the start. That way you can deliver the exact product and services they need, on the promised timeline. Research from McKinsey & Company found that even small improvements in touchpoints during the onboarding journey can dramatically improve the chance that a client stays with you in the long term. The client onboarding software you use will play a critical role in your ability to properly manage expectations throughout onboarding.
Create a Detailed Plan and Onboarding Schedule
As your new client enters onboarding, one of the first things you should do is set clear expectations for the onboarding duration and schedule. This is especially critical in longer onboarding processes. You need to be able to maintain a high level of client engagement and excitement throughout the process so they will adopt your software and successfully use it to achieve their business goals. Making them wait weeks or months without any clear delivery date (or constantly moving the date back) will probably destroy any excitement they had at the start.
Assign Clear Tasks and Roles
Your team needs to know their role in the onboarding process, but clients often have a role to play as well. One thing that can dramatically delay an onboarding process is waiting on clients for information or data. Most project management platforms only allow you to assign roles to internal team members, but GuideCX allows you to add clients to the process (without added user licensing fees) so you can assign them tasks along the way. They’ll get reminder emails or other notifications on platforms such as Slack when something is due, which can keep the process moving.
Progress reports are a great way to keep everyone on the same page, provide information about any delays that come up, and motivate your internal team and your client’s team to meet their task deadlines. GuideCX offers automated reports that show where the onboarding process is, and what still needs to happen. These can be scheduled to send via email to anyone on your team and your client’s team (including higher-ups who aren’t involved in the onboarding process but have a vested interest in the outcome). This takes a significant amount of manual work off your plate but still keeps everyone in the loop. Plus it can cut down on all those phone calls and emails from the client asking for a status update, and give you a chance to explain any delays.