Eliminating Churn: The Case for a Better Onboarding Experience

One of the largest problems facing software companies today is the question of how to reduce and eliminate churn. Companies spend millions on customer support teams, trainers, and account managers in order to reduce cancellations and retain customers for the life of the account.  While providing world-class customer service is absolutely paramount in today’s business climate, many companies fail to realize that the seeds of cancellation are often sown during the onboarding process – that fragile period of time between the execution of a contract and the completion of installation and training.

The onboarding period is a time when a disconnect often occurs between the expectations set by the sales rep and those set by the implementation manager. Due to a lack of efficient and easily repeatable processes, there is often a breakdown in communication between the client, the sales rep, and the onboarding team. This not only leads to friction between internal departments but also causes confusion, frustration, and a loss of trust on the part of the client. Unfortunately, this negative experience frequently leads to unhappy customers, cancellations, and unrealized revenue.

In many ways, this breakdown in communication is due to the lack of effective task management tools available to project managers in charge of onboarding. Most traditional project management tools are built for internal users, forcing project managers to manually manage the client-facing portion of the install process with spreadsheets, checklists, and hundreds of emails and calendar invites.  This becomes a cumbersome process that leads to missed deadlines and delayed revenue realization.

Fortunately, companies can now use the onboarding process as a unique opportunity to establish a stronger relationship with the client by building trust on both sides and by setting a positive tone for the life of the account. By utilizing a client-facing task management tool such as GuideCX, project managers can quickly establish an open forum for communication between all parties, maintain a clear timeline for install, and communicate effectively with clients through email templates, checklists, and automated reminders. Not only does this drastically increase efficiency for the overworked project manager, but the visibility all stakeholders now have into the complete onboarding process drives accountability on the part of the client, leading to faster implementation and quicker realization of revenue.  Highly intuitive user experience also leads to increased customer satisfaction and higher net promoter scores.

Rather than focusing primarily on customer support and account management after install, software companies need to realize that a great onboarding experience is the best way to begin a strong and productive relationship between the client and account manager and is a vital piece of the retention puzzle!

Peter Ord