Mark Mitchell

Breaking it Down – Why Simplicity Wins in Client Onboarding – Part 2

In part one of this blog post we talked about simplifying things for your clients during onboarding by opening up better communication channels and improving accountability. Now we’ll talk about why (and how) to simplify things for your team.

Onboarding processes can be complicated, long, and messy, and without a plan in place you could fall into common traps like going way past a deadline or failing to get clients to their “first win” quick enough for them to see the value. Having a plan is critical to streamline the process, and the right project management software can take that plan to the next level.

 

The Project View

The first step to an onboarding process is to create the project. If your PM software requires that you do it from scratch every time, you’re wasting valuable time at the start of the project. Creating a template, then having the ability to customize for individual clients’ needs, will jump-start your onboarding. Another key feature in project management software is the ability to see the entire project from start to finish, plus how far along you are with each step, so team members stay on task and the entire onboarding stays on track.

 

Communication & Reminders

Traditional project management software usually has internal communication tools, but leaves the clients out of the loop. Someone from your team has to manually reach out via email or by phone to keep them informed and to request specific information throughout the process. GuideCX actually integrates client communication—they get usernames and passwords and can even login if they would like. You can set up automated reminders and assign tasks that clients need to complete so they get a notification when something is due. They can view and complete tasks through email without ever logging in, so clients who are less tech-savvy or who just don’t want to have another software program to manage can still be accountable and stay on track. Plus you’ll never need to answer an email or call from clients asking “where are we at with onboarding?”

 

The Roadmap

Everyone who is part of a project can also see the “roadmap”, which shows every step of onboarding, who is assigned (on the client-side and your company side), and the projected date for completion. When everyone knows where you’re going, it’s much easier to get there. Progress bars show when someone’s working on a task, when it’s complete, and how far along you are with each step.

Plus you can see an entire birds-eye view of all your projects, including a timeline view, so you can balance your team’s workload appropriately when you have new clients come on, and set expectations that are achievable.

Simplicity is about helping your team and your clients achieve the outcomes for onboarding by maximizing efficiency and minimizing frustration along the way. The simpler you can make it for everyone, the more likely you can retain great clients and great team members. Find out how GuideCX has taken a traditionally broken and complex onboarding process and simplified it for you and your clients by scheduling a demo today.

Breaking it Down – Why Simplicity Wins in Client Onboarding – Part 1

The onboarding process for many companies is not a simple one—it involves a lot of team members taking a new client from 0 to 100 so they can effectively use your software or service. Project management, especially for onboarding with complex software or services, can be a difficult and messy process. It would be wise for companies to think about onboarding from the perspective of Albert Einstein:

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

There are actually two sides to each onboarding process—the client-side and your internal onboarding—and each should be as simple as possible to maximize time-to-value and set the stage for a long and beneficial relationship.

 

Simplifying the Client Side

During the onboarding process, clients basically have three questions:

  • What product did we purchase?
  • Where are we at with onboarding?
  • Who has the ball (who needs to take the next step)?

The problem with most project management software is that it doesn’t have any visibility for the clients. Your team may be diligently working on getting all the pieces in place, but the client has no idea what’s going on.

 

What product did we purchase?

Does it surprise you to hear that clients have this question during onboarding? Many people assume that when your sales team hands off a client they already know what they are getting and how they will use it. But in many companies, the decision-maker who signs the contract with sales is a completely different person from the one who will actually implement and use the software or product each day.

Your onboarding process should be treated like a second sales process to:

  • Reinforce key features
  • Showcase simplicity and ease of use
  • Focus on the things that the client needs or wants
  • Answer any questions that come up from the people who will use the product

 

Where are we at with onboarding?

Most project management has internal communication tools but fails to keep the clients looped into everything that is happening. That leaves clients completely in the dark wondering if anything is going on, or creates a string of endless “reply all” emails that are impossible to follow for everyone involved.

 

Who has the ball?

Without good communication, clients also have no idea who needs to take the next step. When there is little visibility and no accountability, your team may be waiting for a client to take the next step, and the client has no idea they are holding up the project. Once you all figure it out, everyone is frustrated by the delays.

GuideCX is the first onboarding software that actually allows clients to see an overview of the project, timelines, and assignments so they know exactly what is going on and who is responsible. That keeps everyone accountable, and virtually eliminates calls and emails from your client asking for status updates.

In part two of this blog, we’ll talk about simplifying things on the internal side for your team. In the meantime, contact us to schedule a demo and see how our software can improve your onboarding.

Why You Should be Capturing Client Onboarding Information Digitally

A lot of things have gone digital, and in most cases capturing information digitally is an easier and more efficient way versus paper documents. Client onboarding is no different, and the ability to capture a lot of the information you need from clients digitally can reduce onboarding time and may even help improve financial companies’ risk and compliance management as well.

 

KYC, CDD, & AML in Client Onboarding

During client onboarding, there are several different things that your company is required to do to ensure that the person or entity you are working with is legitimate and that they don’t pose a risk for money laundering or other illegal activities.

  • Know Your Customer (KYC)
  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML)
  • Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD)

These are essential during the onboarding process, but they don’t end once your client is onboarded fully. You need to continue monitoring clients, regularly reviewing their finances to ensure that there are no red flags for risk or compliance issues. Beyond just the legal requirements to monitor this information, ongoing reviews also allow you to expand your existing relationships by inviting them to try new products and services.

When you capture the information you need for your client digitally, you can comply with all the requirements and laws during the onboarding process, and also store that information for the future. Once your onboarding team completes the process, they can easily hand off the necessary information to your monitoring team as well as your sales team. It turns your onboarding process into a tool for managing clients’ lifetime value instead of just a one-time effort to check off a box when you’re done.

 

Better Automation

Right now many companies that work in the financial services industry don’t have the right tools to automate much of the onboarding process. That means they are still processing a lot of information manually, which slows down onboarding and leads to frustration on the client-side as well as the onboarding company side. Moving these things to a secure online platform can be a differentiator in the onboarding process that leads to higher levels of client satisfaction. Digital transfer of information also allows you to automate more of the processes in onboarding, saving on staffing costs and overhead for more people to process things manually.

 

Set Yourself Apart

Financial institutions today are aware of the significant market forces that require innovation—competition, regulatory scrutiny, cost of overhead—but onboarding offers an opportunity to set yourself apart from the beginning, creating a better client relationship and helping you overcome challenges. The more you can offer online tools that make onboarding easier for clients (and your team), the happier everyone will be.

Find out how the GuideCX client onboarding platform is changing the game for financial institutions to allow a smoother onboarding process and better data management.

Understanding Lifecycle Management in Client Onboarding

For many companies, client onboarding and client lifecycle management (CLM) are two separate and distinct processes–where onboarding is viewed as a process to get the client’s information, perform KYC checks, verify information, and get a person set up with an account login. But effective CLM should actually be just an extension of client onboarding, with the two tied together to create an opportunity for managing an overall client relationship in the long term and not just getting them set up with the right logins.

 

The Importance of CLM

Client lifecycle management is one of the most critical components of a financial relationship. It centers around the idea of having a comprehensive and requirements for the future as well. When this is viewed as a completely separate function from onboarding, you’re not taking advantage of an opportunity to use information you have about your clients to optimize their experience with your products and services from the very beginning.

A better understanding of CLM and its integration into your client onboarding process also allows you to use information about where your clients want to go to advance your product, creating more and better features or offerings to meet those needs.

 

Using Onboarding to Improve CLM

During your onboarding process for new financial clients, you are required to conduct certain checks and reviews:

  • KYC – Know Your Customer
  • CDD – Customer Due Diligence
  • EDD – Enhanced Due Diligence
  • AML – Anti-Money Laundering

These checks can actually provide a lot of insight into your clients, and allow you to open up new discussions about what they want and need from your products. Many of these processes can be automated and integrated into your onboarding with the GuideCX platform, but it’s important not to let the information you gather go to waste and to use it effectively beyond the onboarding process.

The more information you have available, the better you can conduct ongoing data refreshes, due diligence, and upselling or cross-selling opportunities in the future. You can also use this information when new regulatory requirements come up in the future. The more your information is tied together, the better you can provide intelligence and insight to other members of your team with continuous onboarding.

Having the right tools to enable you to integrate your ongoing CLM with onboarding is essential to provide a better client experience initially and into the future. Find out more from GuideCX by scheduling a demo.

Personalize Your Client Experience to Build Long-term Relationships

In 1998 when Amazon was still just an online bookstore, owner Jeff Bezos told the Washington Post, “If we have 4.5 million customers, we shouldn’t have one store. We should have 4.5 million stores.” Today, Bezos is the richest man in the world thanks to Amazon, which has expanded to sell basically everything you can imagine and accounts for about 50 cents of every dollar spent online. One of the biggest factors behind the success of Amazon is how personalized it is—the company uses information on everything you search and buy to create a better user experience next time.

For companies that are working with new clients, personalization should be one of your highest priorities. A cookie-cutter approach to the onboarding process can lead to a poor experience and could be the reason you’re experiencing high levels of churn. Personalization creates a lasting relationship and makes every client feel valued, increasing retention, upselling potential, and revenue, but it goes beyond just putting a person’s first name in your auto-generated welcome emails.

 

Use Data You Have

Your team (whether during the sales process or during the kickoff process for your onboarding) is probably collecting a lot of data about your clients, including their role in the company, goals, and more. Use this information to personalize the things you send them. For example, if you know that the CFO is getting weekly reports on the progress of onboarding, include information about the return on investment, or other critical financial data.

 

Cater Your Communications to Their Goals

Every onboarding blog out there has instructions on getting information up front about your clients’ goals. When you get this information, it shouldn’t just get stored somewhere in the software, it should be at the forefront of how you work with each client. Catering your communications to show how every step of the onboarding process is getting them closer to achieving their stated goals reinforces your value over and over.

 

Create Custom Templates

Every onboarding process might have a similar structure, but each client will be different, which means you should customize their onboarding templates and tasks to make sure you’re meeting their specific needs. You may even have a series of templates that you can pull from that allow you to create a truly unique experience for each new client based on behavior, goals, industry, and more.

 

Provide the Right Help

If you have a knowledgebase, use your onboarding process as a time to send them specific information that will help them make the most of your product. Don’t just send a blanket link to the landing page of your knowledgebase, create custom training and link to the most valuable pieces of information.

Personalization is one of the most critical parts of your onboarding, and it’s not always easy to do if you don’t have the right tools. GuideCX can help you create a completely unique experience for your clients while streamlining the backend processes so you can work efficiently.

How to Successfully Guide Educational Organization Clients Through Your Onboarding

The educational system in the U.S. is in the midst of a tech boom of sorts right now, as new companies emerge that are finding ways to use technology to help students learn in innovative and exciting ways. The educational system is also overwhelmed with sales pitches from everyone who wants to get in on the learning game—online courses, observation tools, data solutions, guest speakers, software platforms, and more.

When you manage to cut through the clutter and an educational organization purchases your software, the onboarding process is a critical make-or-break time to get them up to speed.

 

Understand Your Audience

The education field is demanding, and everyone from teachers to administrators are constantly pulled in a million directions. That means you have to create an onboarding process that is tailored to help them reach time-to-value and get started with your product as quickly as possible. It doesn’t mean you should oversimplify onboarding to the point that they don’t get good training or are not prepared to use the platform, but it does mean moving quickly and being efficient.

 

Understand Their Internal and External Motivators

Often educational environments—especially public schools—have multiple audiences they are accountable to, including students and parents, administrators, budgeters, and state, local, and federal regulators. Effective onboarding means not just knowing who these various audiences are, but also how to help your clients show the value of your product to people who probably were not involved in the process but who have a vested interest in making sure limited budgets are spent wisely.

 

Involve Everyone at the Right Level

Sometimes the person who makes the final decision to purchase your software or product won’t be the best person to train everyone. Talk to your clients about who will be using your software, and how, so you can involve the right people in onboarding and training directly. At the same time you don’t want to keep the technical implementation team out of the loop, so having a client onboarding program that allows you to create customizable roles for multiple people on the client-side means everyone can stay informed, get trained, and integrate the new software into their workflows in a meaningful way. You may also need to coordinate with professional development leaders or others to brainstorm how to integrate your products into existing systems that are already in place.

 

Create Customized Onboarding

No two educational organizations are alike, so having the ability to customize your onboarding process without losing the efficiencies of standardized workflows and templates is essential to help your clients achieve time-to-value sooner. Tailor your onboarding for whatever management structures and philosophies exist:

  • Slow and deliberate to avoid disruption
  • “Move fast and break things”
  • Top-down hierarchy and decision making
  • Collaborative decision-making with committees and workgroups

The right onboarding process will feel like a true partnership and lay the groundwork for a beneficial long-term relationship. The wrong one will leave clients feeling like they were thrown on a moving treadmill and expected to just start running. Create a better onboarding process with GuideCX.

Communication Challenges During Onboarding When Team Members Work Remotely

With more and more people taking their work home (as much as 75 percent of the workforce in some hard-hit areas of the country), communication has become a bigger challenge for people used to working in close offices and spaces together. Communicating effectively with someone who works in the next cubicle or a nearby office is often much easier than trying to coordinate virtually on various platforms.

The problem for a team trying to continue with client onboarding is that your work needs to continue on a schedule. Some of the most common challenges that come up in an onboarding process with a primarily remote workforce can be solved with the right software, though.

 

Templated Tasks with Customizable Alerts

If much of your onboarding process was happening manually by getting your assignment in a team meeting or ad-hoc by getting random emails, then going remote presents a big challenge. People may be unaware of the tasks that they are assigned or may not understand how their piece of the puzzle fits into the larger onboarding process as a whole. Your client onboarding project management software should have easy and intuitive templates that allow you to assign the same tasks and roles to the same people for every new project, helping them stay focused on what needs to happen and so nobody misses a critical step.

Once team members are assigned, it’s vital that they know what the task is, and when it’s due. With customizable alerts, you can alert everyone on the team, including your clients, when they need to submit an item or perform a task to keep your onboarding moving forward. These alerts are easy to create in the GuideCX platform, and can even be inserted into templates so you won’t need to manually set them up every time.

 

Collaborative Tools in the Platform

Collaboration is always a key ingredient in a successful onboarding, but it’s even more important that your client onboarding software supports it when you are not working in the same physical location. With tools like simple file sharing, reporting, notes, and chat, you can keep everyone connected on the entire project as it moves from start to finish.

 

Everything Together in a Single Place

One of the biggest challenges for teams working remotely is the sheer volume of software platforms out there that you could (and maybe already do) use. Trying to juggle conversations in Slack, Microsoft Teams, Salesforce, and more requires means that communicating almost entirely virtually it’s essential that you have it all together. It’s better to find a client onboarding software that allows you to keep all your critical communications in one place, so nobody misses anything.

Working remotely is a challenge for any team, but it’s the new normal for now and may be for a while. Schedule a demo to find out how GuideCX can improve your remote work and collaboration in your client onboarding.

How Long Should Client Onboarding Take? – Part 2

In part 1 we talked about the actions that should take place in the first week of onboarding. Here are some general timelines to maximize the first 30, 60, and 90 days.

 

End of Week 1: Kickoff Meeting

Schedule a kickoff meeting with your client as quickly as possible after meeting with your sales team for the handoff. This gets your clients started when they’re still excited. During that meeting you should:

  • Review the contract and set expectations for deliverables
  • Ask questions or get clarification on client goals and expectations
  • Provide a concrete schedule (with deadlines) for the onboarding process
  • Discuss what they can expect from you and what you need from them

 

Days 7-30: Internal Setup

A lot of what happens after a client kickoff meeting happens internally, but that doesn’t mean it should seem like a black hole to them. Unfortunately, this is where many companies fall short. They meet with a client and then work behind the scenes on getting things set up, but may go weeks or longer without communication to the client. This leaves clients feeling frustrated and abandoned.

A better process would involve a platform that allows you to assign all the relevant tasks to your team to do that behind-the-scenes work, but with complete transparency, so the client can see what is happening and when it will be done. Many platforms don’t give you this level of transparency, and that’s part of what makes GuideCX different.

 

Days 31-60: Training and Feedback

Now that your client is set up in the system, the next step is to provide them with resources for training. Leverage your knowledge base, tutorials, and other resources, as well as in-person or online training to get them up to speed.

During this time you should also be checking in regularly with the client to answer any questions they have that they may not have known to ask during the sales process or at your initial meeting. Having set times (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) for calls can streamline this and keep your team organized and on task without being overwhelmed with questions.

 

Days 61-90: Achieving the “First Success”

The sooner you can help your client see a “first success” with your platform, products, or services, the more likely they will become a long-term client. How quickly you achieve that will vary based on a client’s needs and the average time-to-value with your products and services. For some companies this will happen sooner than 60 to 90 days, others may take over 90 days. At the very least, make sure you provide feedback, reports, and other information to show how they are steadily moving toward that first win.

 

Change the Way You Onboard

The time it takes to onboard your clients will vary based on what your company offers, but a 90-day plan to achieve success and customer satisfaction can go a long way toward retention. Learn how you can streamline onboarding and make it easier and more transparent on both you and your clients with GuideCX.