Peter Ord

Founder and CEO of GuideCX, Peter has revolutionized the implementation experience by providing the world's most advanced tools for creating a seamless and unforgettable onboarding experience for your customers.

Are Onboarding Questionnaires Hurting Your Customer Experience?

The new client sales handoff to the customer success team in charge of client onboarding is one of the most crucial times in a new client relationship because it provides an opportunity to build a relationship, and it can set expectations for all your future interactions.

There is a lot of information online about onboarding, and a common piece of advice is to send out a questionnaire to new clients. Questionnaires can provide good information and valuable insight, so we’re not here to tell you they are all bad. However, there are some best practices to make sure you get the questionnaire right so it doesn’t end up hurting your initial customer experience more than it helps.

 

Tip #1: Keep it as simple as possible

Most companies send out an onboarding questionnaire before they even schedule a kickoff meeting, which means it’s literally the first interaction you will have with a new client who just signed a contract. In many cases, it’s also the first contact with the person who will oversee the implementation, and that’s not always the same person who participated in the sales process and signed the contract. If you send them a 27-page document that takes an entire day to fill out, you could sour the relationship before you even have a chance to get it started. Ask the questions that are necessary, but don’t overwhelm them with a big assignment right off the bat.

 

Tip #2: Don’t make clients repeat themselves

There is a good chance that your sales team has been working with the client and building a relationship for a while. During that time, the sales rep may have gathered quite a bit of useful information about the clients’ goals, past solutions they have tried that didn’t work, and reasons for choosing your software right now. Make it part of your sales-to-implementation handoff to transfer this internal knowledge to your onboarding team so you can avoid asking questions in your onboarding questionnaire that were answered during the sales process. Clients won’t feel like they are constantly going over the same information time and time again, and it will make your company’s operations appear seamless for a new client.

 

Tip #3: Get specific when necessary

While you do want to keep the questionnaire simple, you still need to gather information that is as specific as possible about the client’s goals, competitors, target audience, budgets, and deadlines. Ask these questions to ensure you stay on track during onboarding and your deliverables meet their expectations.

 

Tip #4: Don’t combine onboarding with a “satisfaction survey”

Now isn’t the time to include questions about how they heard about you, why they selected your company, or how satisfied they were with the sales process. That can come in the form of a satisfaction survey once the onboarding is complete.

Onboarding is your chance to set the stage for your entire client relationship. Make sure every step—from onboarding questionnaires to your project management software—move you in the right direction with new clients. Talk to GuideCX to learn more about how we’re improving the experience with better client onboarding software.

Customer Experience is the New Frontier for Companies to Succeed

The rise of technology and solutions has created a divide between companies and consumers. More and more companies are jumping on the bandwagon of using automation that may have a short-term benefit of cutting costs or speeding up some process, but in the process they lose the connection to their customers.

As Generation X consumers quietly move into positions of power, they are exerting significant influence in the market with an estimated $200 billion in annual spending power. They may not be as splashy as their Baby Boomer predecessors, or garner the same attention as the Millenials who came after them, but they built an interesting bridge from growing up in a pre-technology age, then adapting to today’s digital world.

They put a higher priority on customer experience and curated, conversational interactions with companies, but they are not alone—in fact, 73% of customers say they believe experience is an important factor in purchasing decisions. Unfortunately only 12% of consumers think brands are doing personalization well.

This leaves a significant opportunity for companies to foster relationships through personalization and connection with their clients. For many companies, the onboarding process is your first, best chance to start that connection.

Where Traditional Onboarding Gets it Wrong

Onboarding usually falls into two categories:

  • Complete automated onboarding that takes a “cookie-cutter” approach. This can create efficiency for your onboarding team but leaves clients with no connection to your company. A 2016 Accenture survey found that 83% of people prefer to deal with a human rather than use digital tools for customer service, so too much automation alienates new clients from the start.
  • Disorganized onboarding where your team has to reinvent the wheel every time. You may have more interaction with clients, but this approach usually takes longer, risks missing steps along the way, and the end result is a frustrated client who is more likely to leave.

The problem for many companies is that they cannot find the tools to allow them to automate and maintain a connection to the client. Most project management tools focus on internal processes while leaving your clients out in the dark. Every minute that passes where you don’t communicate with clients during onboarding is a minute that they start thinking about leaving for a competitor.

The Best of Both Worlds

Automation isn’t the enemy, and in fact, is an essential part of a streamlined and effective onboarding process. But automation that seeks to improve the customer experience through meaningful connection with your brand is what will set you apart in the coming digital age. The GuideCX platform was designed with these two things in mind:

  • Using automation and technology efficiently to reduce the amount of time you spend onboarding new clients and shortening time-to-value (TTV)
  • Maintaining a personal connection to clients so you can show them how to achieve the outcomes they envisioned when they first decided to buy your product

Now is the time for companies to shift their focus to workflows that prioritize customer engagement and personal interactions. That is what will set you apart as we move to the future. Schedule a demo of the GuideCX platform today to learn how we can boost your client engagement.

Peter Ord

4 Tips to Expedite Your Client Onboarding Process

How well do you manage that moment of truth when your sales team hands off a new client to customer success or onboarding teams? If your company is still muddling through client onboarding, struggling with manual processes, or consistently running into frustrations and roadblocks that slow down the process, you may be harming your client relationships in the long run. That makes it harder to keep clients from leaving once their current contract is up.

One of the biggest complaints from companies during onboarding is the time it takes from start to go-live—being able to deliver a quicker time-to-value and completing your onboarding on time according to the schedule you provide at the beginning can significantly improve your clients’ views of the entire onboarding process. Here are five ways you can expedite your onboarding process.

 

1: Standardize the Process

Few things can slow down your onboarding as quickly as the chaos of not having a process. This is especially important as you scale up or grow your company—you want people to have the same quality experience with every onboarding team without missing a step or having things fall through the cracks. Failing to create a standard process leaves so many variables that could easily derail onboarding at every stage.

 

2: Create Templates for Teams to Follow

Once you have your process in place, create an easy template that everyone can follow. When you have the right software (like GuideCX) you can use templates as a starting point, then tweak it to get a customized experience for each new onboarding. No two clients are exactly alike, so you don’t want it to feel like a cookie-cutter experience, but you also need to have a structure for your team to ensure quality and consistency.

 

3: Use Digital Tools Whenever Possible

If your current process requires a lot of paperwork or manual entry (for example, in the financial industry where you need copies of identification, paper applications, loan documents, etc.) that can slow down the process. While not everything can be digitized, there are a lot of tools available now that allow for secure transfer of information and the ability to verify documents, so explore digital tools that give you more flexibility and streamline your processes for collecting information.

 

4: Automate Reporting

Clients want to know what’s going on with their onboarding process. If you don’t have tools that help you automate that reporting, someone on your team is going to spend a lot of time compiling reports and sending this to the appropriate people. In the absence of manual reports, someone will be fielding a lot of calls or emails asking for progress updates. Instead, find a software solution that automates reporting to all the key stakeholders within the process so everyone knows exactly where you stand and when it will be done.

If your current client onboarding software can’t do all these things, contact GuideCX today to learn more about how we are helping companies improve the process with simple and effective onboarding project management tools.

These Critical Steps Will Streamline Campaigns for New Clients

What does your current onboarding process look like right now? If the answer is that you don’t have a process, or your process lives inside one of your team members’ heads, that’s a recipe for losing clients—and the most successful businesses are those that foster loyalty instead of focus on continual new client acquisition. After your sales team closes a deal, your onboarding process needs to prime them for success, and the only way to do that is with a process that you can replicate and optimize. Here are a few tips to streamline your process.

 

Write it Down

It might seem like writing down every step of your onboarding process is a waste of time, especially if you are a small company. But even if you have amazing onboarding now, not having a written process is a recipe for eventual failure because:

  • Team members who own the process could leave the company or get promoted
  • As you grow and scale up your onboarding process, onboarding quality becomes a function of how well your team is trained and can vary
  • You cannot identify gaps or challenges in a process that isn’t defined, scalable, and replicable

Once it’s written down you can create a basic onboarding template that can be tweaked and customized to meet each individual clients’ needs but follows the same basic structure.

 

Set Client Expectations Early

The term “onboarding” can mean a lot of different things, so it’s important to talk to your clients early and often about what they can expect (that’s much easier to do if you have a standard process, by the way). Once everyone knows what to expect from the process, you’re less likely to get sidetracked with client requests that result in work that your team doesn’t normally do during onboarding. It also ensures that what you deliver is exactly what the client expects, limiting frustration and disappointment later.

 

Let Everyone Take Ownership of Their Part

Onboarding is a team effort, not just internally for your people, but also with the client. It requires everyone doing their part to complete tasks on time so you can move forward with the next steps. Make sure everyone knows their assignments and let each person take ownership of their piece of the overall puzzle. This is much easier with a platform like GuideCX, which allows you to add clients to your onboarding project management tasks so they can see the tasks they need to own.

 

Communicate Frequently

Finally, streamlining onboarding requires good communication. If you’re relying on a string of emails with 25 people cc’d and hoping that everyone meets deadlines and stays on task, good luck. Your project management software for client onboarding needs to include built-in (and automated wherever possible) communications about progress, reporting, upcoming and overdue tasks, and any other critical information.

GuideCX is designed specifically to streamline your client onboarding. Find out more about how our platform can help you by scheduling your demo today.

Do You Know Where Your Weak Links are in Customer Onboarding?

Not everyone likes to talk about their weaknesses, but when it comes to onboarding, identifying the weak links in your process could be the difference between long-term client retention and significant levels of churn that stunt your company’s ability to grow. The problem for many companies, though, is not that they don’t want to know their weak links, it’s that they don’t have a good onboarding process to be able to identify the weak links and correct them. That’s where a top-notch client onboarding platform can help.

 

Standardize Your Process

Standardization is critical to be able to show what is happening, why, and to find ways to make improvements. When pharmaceutical companies are testing a new drug, they collect vast amounts of data on every aspect of a patient’s treatment, give the same dose of medication to all 10,000 people in a study, then control for all the variables and report on what happened. If they didn’t have that level of strict standardization, they could never know whether the medication was what helped a patient, or if it was any number of variables.

To find the weak links in your onboarding you need a process that gives you the same information about each client. Having a short checklist that includes things like sending logins and an automated welcome email are not the same as an onboarding process.

 

Have Clear Duties and Responsibilities

One of the biggest challenges in onboarding, especially in larger organizations, is the chance that important tasks are forgotten, missed, or lost in the handoff from sales to client success. Having clearly defined responsibilities reduces the chance of things “falling through the cracks.” Having transparency to show everyone on your team and your client’s team who owns what, when it’s due, and what is currently overdue, significantly increases the chance that everyone on the team will deliver their part on time.

 

Plan for Turnover and Transitions

Another significant challenge that many companies do not account for in onboarding is the chance that someone on your onboarding team (perhaps someone who holds a high-level role) will leave the company. It happens all the time, and if all the onboarding processes, tasks, information, and responsibilities were in that person’s brain, the rest of your team is left scrambling to pick up the pieces. That stalls the onboarding process and leaves your clients unhappy and likely to leave.

Your onboarding software can provide you with a wealth of data that allows you to review what happened in each client onboarding process and see where there is room for improvement. Find out how the GuideCX has changed the way that companies onboarding by offering more standardization, better processes, increased transparency, and improved communications among internal and external teams.

Does Your Knowledgebase Help or Hurt New Clients During Onboarding?

A knowledgebase is not just a nice thing to have, it’s essential to provide information to your clients on how to use your software. It’s a delicate balancing act of how-to knowledge combined with what-is information so your clients can use your software to achieve their goals. Here are some best practices to create, organize, and maintain your knowledgebase so it helps, rather than hurts, the onboarding process.

 

Writing for Your Audiences

Knowledgebase content is created with the goal of helping customers learn how to use your products effectively or troubleshoot problems they encounter along the way. But if that content comes from internal teams who write from an internal perspective, it may not hit the mark. Your clients may have trouble understanding the information, especially if it’s overly technical. Think about your audience when you create content and write from their perspective (if you’re wondering whether it’s too technical, ask your clients for feedback).

 

Find the Right Delivery Method

The next step is to figure out how to best deliver information to your audiences, and often it’s not going to be just a single way. Everyone learns in different ways, so for some, it’s helpful to read about a problem, for others screenshots or visuals help, and for others a video with a demo is the only way they can really absorb what you’re trying to communicate. You don’t need to create everything in every format, but you should create a variety of content to appeal to as many people as possible.

 

Make it Self-Serve

Most of your clients will want to have the information available to consume at their own pace, so forcing them into a schedule where they have to do certain things at certain times probably won’t work. Rather than in-person or live training, consider recorded webinars or courses that people can navigate based on topics or what step they are on in a process. Provide the information they need to find the knowledgebase articles, then let them decide how and when to consume it.

 

Use Real-World Examples

Best practices from other successful clients or case studies from your customers can help new clients see how others are using your software to achieve outcomes. These are often a great supplemental piece to other how-to articles and training during onboarding. If possible, segment these by industry or by goals and outcomes so new clients can find the ones that will most benefit them.

 

Get Organized

Finally, make sure your knowledgebase is organized in a way that people can navigate it on their own and that makes sense—a concept known as information architecture. Think of it the same way you do your public-facing website from a user experience perspective, providing intuitive pathways to find information and helping people get what they need without 15 clicks through a website.

Onboarding is a time when your clients are learning everything they can about your products and your company. Your knowledgebase is a critical touchpoint in the onboarding process to demonstrate your value and help them get up to speed.

Tips from the Pros on Achieving Onboarding Success

Onboarding for new clients is essential to set the right expectations and get your new clients on the path to success. But how do you know if your onboarding is working? Having a standardized process to follow is a good first step, but simply checking the right boxes doesn’t mean your clients are coming on board ready to use your software to reach their goals. The GuideCX team has put together some tips to help you achieve onboarding success.

 

1: Build a Genuine Relationship

For many companies the sales process is entirely separate from the onboarding—that is true for your company, which has sales reps who hand off new clients to a client success our onboarding team. It’s also often true for your clients, who have an implementation team that is separate from the decision-makers who purchased your product. That means everyone in the onboarding process is starting from scratch, and it’s the ideal time to build a genuine relationship.

Having a relationship means your client will feel like they can communicate with you about the challenges they face during the process, and let you know (truthfully) when things are not going well so you can correct it. No onboarding process will ever go 100% smoothly, and honest communication about the inevitable roadblocks or unforeseen challenges gets you through it without residual bad feelings.

 

2: Manage Expectations

It might sound cliché but setting expectations from the start is essential in tracking onboarding success for each client. Having clear goals that everyone understands, and everyone working toward the same things, helps your team determine whether you are getting there with your clients. Salespeople often make promises during the sales process, and sometimes they aren’t completely realistic once you get to implementation, so being clear with everyone helps you avoid misaligned goals.

 

3: Understand Customer Stakeholders

Your customers purchased your product because they believe it can help them achieve something specific for their business, so your job is to understand who the stakeholders are on the client-side and what they hope to achieve. This allows your team to move their onboarding team in the right direction to achieve those goals. Once you do achieve a goal, make sure you help the right people at your client company get credit for the success.

 

4: Get Small Wins Early

Some implementations will take a long time, but it’s critical that you still find ways to achieve small wins in the interim. Your team can do this by:

  • Being hyper-responsive to the client throughout onboarding
  • Completing small or simple tasks quickly to get some early deliverables to the client
  • Reporting on progress toward larger goals

These things build trust early and help you tackle some of the harder or larger deliverables together once you’ve already established a relationship.

At GuideCX, we know how important the onboarding process is, which is why we’ve developed a software platform that makes that process easier for your team and your clients. Find out how we are changing the way companies onboard new clients by scheduling a demo today.

How Client Onboarding Software Can Enhance Collaboration for Remote Employees

Collaboration is a key ingredient in any team effort, but it’s especially important when it comes to client onboarding. The first few days, weeks, or months that a client is working with your company are the time when you make your critical first impression. Much of the churn can be traced back to failures in the onboarding process. On the flip side, getting onboarding right can help create long-term client satisfaction.

With so many technologies and tools out there today, the ability to effectively collaborate with one another remains one of the hardest for all those software platforms to get right. When you throw in remote work (especially in today’s environment, when many companies and teams were thrust into that setup with little or no preparation because of the COVID-19 virus), those challenges are amplified.

 

See the Big Picture

For many teams, collaborating effectively means you need to see the big picture. While everyone has specific tasks and roles, knowing where a project is and being able to get a high-level snapshot of current progress, as well as what’s holding the project up, can help you work together to get the entire onboarding process done sooner.

 

Accountability Matters

Another important part of a collaborative client onboarding process is the ability to keep everyone accountable. When tasks are only visible by a single manager or small leadership group it’s easy for people to miss tasks and deadlines. But when everyone on a project can see what’s holding things up, your team members and your clients are more likely to stay on top of their own tasks. Even a few missed days here and there can significantly delay a project, so keeping everyone on task and on time matters.

 

Reporting Tools

How much time do you spend right now trying to communicate about the status of a project? For many people, the answer is too much time. Some of the biggest time wasters are:

  • Tracking down the status on a task when a client calls to ask
  • Coordinating tasks from two separate teams working on separate parts of onboarding
  • Keeping bosses and clients informed about what’s happening and when the onboarding will be done

If your software platform can automatically generate reports on what’s happening and when you can save a lot of time and avoid manually compiling the information.

 

Keep Clients in the Loop Too

Finally, collaboration needs to happen with your clients as well as your team. Most software platforms only allow internal team views, which means clients are in the dark during the process (unless they’re getting those manual reports). Software that allows clients to see the entire process and stay up to date keeps everyone informed and allows coordination no matter where you are working.

Find out why our clients say GuideCX is setting the new standard in client onboarding, and making it easy to collaborate (remotely or in-person) to welcome new clients.