Setting your company up for success in the growth phase can come with some challenges — especially during onboarding.
While the main focus of customer onboarding shouldn’t be money, some focus must be shifted to ensure that you don’t lose money during onboarding. Ignoring this could be detrimental to the future and sustainability of your business.
First impressions matter more than ever. Yet, too often, companies stumble when it comes to customer onboarding — a crucial juncture where new partnerships are born or broken. You’re not alone if you’ve ever found your sales, implementation, and onboarding teams marching to different beats.
In a world where customer experience reigns supreme, these five tips can turn your customer onboarding process from a potential pitfall into a powerhouse of success. It’s time to unite your teams, define your process, manage resources wisely, embrace technology, and put more emphasis on the value of your team members. With these steps, you’re not just fixing a process — you’re shaping a reputation of excellence. The journey begins here.
1. Get Sales, Implementation, and Onboarding Teams In Sync
The sales and implementation teams must work together. If your onboarding or implementation teams only hear about a deal after it’s been made, it’s too late.
Without real-time dialogue between teams, your sales team might make promises the implementation team cannot meet, and the implementation team might consistently underperform, overrun costs, and grow frustrated.
By having the sales and implementation team working concurrently, your company can set accurate deadlines, offer painless discovery periods, and over-deliver on promises to your customers. This is imperative to the long-term growth of your company and the trust you build in your services.
If your teams continue to work independently, with little to no overlap, you’re losing money on costly implementations that could be more efficient and effective.
2. Clearly Define Your Onboarding Process
Is your customer onboarding process a patchwork or artwork? GUIDEcx COO, Harris Clarke, advises that teams need to regularly walk through their own onboarding process.
“You know what your process is, but you don’t know how it feels,” explains Clarke. “Spend the time to go through your customer onboarding process one or two times a year so you can fully experience it first hand. You will learn more doing this exercise than almost anything else you do all year — your customers will thank you.”
If each implementation team member follows a standard method, you’re creating artwork. But if each team member is winging the process or doing it from memory and adapting it as they see fit, you have a problem. You’re creating an inconsistent customer experience.
In order to save money on implementation, your team needs to implement your customers the same way each time, or at least a majority of the time. Some projects will have their own nuances, but keep track of those in a template, and if they occur repeatedly, you’ll have a new process outlined for those situations.
Consider using a universal template in the rollout of software so that you can spot-check the team to ensure they are rolling out new customers in a consistent manner. But remember, templates are living, breathing documents. Your team should check the actual process against your templates as you go through implementations.
Consistency is key across your team; otherwise, you’ll start to incur huge costs due to your team’s improvisation and lack of insight. When working with an undefined process open to interpretation, it won’t just be their fault but also management’s lack of guidance.
3. Focus on Internal Resource Management During Onboarding
Implementation needs to be smooth for your customer. If your team is overstretched, they will start to make mistakes. These mistakes go on to impact and frustrate your customers.
If you do not have enough dedicated staff to implement customers on time seamlessly,
you’re running against the tide. In the growth phase, sales and product development are most critical. However, these are closely followed by a dedicated implementation team that can help your company scale and grow in the direction you wish it to.
As your sales increase, a customer onboarding solution can help your implementation team members handle more easily as you scale. Better still, customer onboarding software has built-in time-tracking and resource management to help you keep track of team capacity.
Before hiring new staff, consider using technology to streamline processes and automate manual tasks for your onboarding team to save time, money, and effort.
4. Use Modern Systems and a Digital Onboarding Solution
You need to know and explore the best software for your team. Collaboration, communication, flagging, timelines, templates, and structure result in better implementation systems for your team and your clients. Digitizing onboarding improves the customer experience and makes it easy to offer real-time, automatic updates rather than lengthy phone calls.
In the modern B2B landscape, your customers’ expectations are changing. If you’re not utilizing the right tools to meet the demands for fast, transparent, communicative onboarding, you’re wasting time and money and frustrating your new customers.
As a company in the modern world, focus on getting the right tools to reflect that and make your life easier.
5. Put More Emphasis on the Value of Your Onboarding Team
Don’t overlook your customer onboarding team — the unsung heroes shaping initial experiences. Boost their role through training and empowerment, fueling their sense of contribution. Be sure to track and share metrics that demonstrate how your team impacts onboarding, customer success, and retention.
But this isn’t just internal; it’s about offering fee-based implementation services that showcase their value. If you don’t invest in your onboarding and implementation team, why should your customer? This dual approach enhances internal worth and customer perception. By investing in your onboarding team, you’re orchestrating a lasting symphony of value, fostering loyalty, and driving sustained growth.
The Blueprint for Success in Customer Onboarding
In the world of top-tier organizations, success hinges on a clear strategy.
You need to forge an unbreakable link between your sales and post-sales teams to ensure a seamless customer journey and create a consistent process for customer experience. Once you foster a culture of continuous improvement, your teams will leave behind what no longer serves them or their customers. Finally, embrace purpose-built tools for efficient onboarding and set the tone of mutual respect from the start by assigning value to implementation.
As you navigate your own path, consider these tips. The key lies in blending teams seamlessly, streamlining processes, embracing tools, and nurturing a culture of excellence. It all starts with a foundation of respect and evolves into a journey of growth. Your company’s path is unique, but these tips can help light the way to long-term success.
About the Author: For the last 20+ years, Jeff Kushmerek has been working with companies to make continuous improvements to Customer Success and Professional Services teams that are needed. He also advises on how everything from Product to Presales influences the crucial first steps that impact customer satisfaction and retention. This led to the founding of Infinite Renewals and its mission to help B2B SaaS companies grow and scale by fortifying post-sale teams and processes.
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