Imagine you’re hosting an incredible party and you’ve invited your favorite people as guests. Your guests arrive and present their invitation, but you’re not there to greet them. Instead, you leave your guests alone to wander the party by themselves. You never speak with them. In fact, you completely ignore them. Your guests leave the party wondering why you invited them in the first place and begin to question if you really are the friend they thought you were.
That same feeling is how a new customer feels when they’re “invited” to the products and services of your business but are not properly transitioned through a thoughtful onboarding process. Onboarding clients is essential to the success of your business and the customers they serve. If you’re wondering how your industry or company can implement successful customer onboarding, here are seven client onboarding tactics and examples of them in action.
1. Trim Onboarding Process Time
One of the greatest challenges of onboarding is designing and implementing the steps for completing the process. A client onboarding protocol can take many steps and is often cumbersome and time-consuming. It is essential for companies to identify the purpose and necessity of each step and look for ways to trim the process.
Looking at your current process, how many steps would you currently list: 20, 50, or more? Can you say with full confidence at this moment that all those steps are necessary? Could they be combined, streamlined, or altered to decrease the number of tasks you currently use? If so, how much time would that free up for your company to use on other projects? These are deep questions every business should consider.
In reviewing their lengthy onboarding process time, PathologyWatch needed a way to streamline a protocol that took more than 100 steps. At the time of review, their process involved several team members and was extremely complex. PathologyWatch recognized they could be more efficient in their use of time. In looking for a platinum onboarding experience for their clients, they turned to customer onboarding software.
Using this software, PathologyWatch was able to group and cut tasks into a final task list of 30 steps. This shorter and more efficient process has trimmed their two- to three-month onboarding time to just two weeks. Cutting out unnecessary tasks and merging others made the overall project more manageable. This has allowed the company to focus more on client retention and sales objectives.
2. Boost Project Manager Capacity
Your project manager for the client onboarding or client success team is likely tasked with tracking resources and time, as well as designing a cohesive implementation process. Without software to guide project management, excess hours are spent reviewing spreadsheets, notes, and more to ensure all tasks are completed and hours are billed properly. When managing projects manually, the project manager often loses valuable time tracking the project that could be better spent improving systems and the overall client experience.
Example: Safety NetAccess
Keeping everyone accountable and on task is a key strength of client onboarding software. The struggle to find a project management system that delivers all of the desired features for your business can seem daunting. Safety NetAccess found themselves in this very situation as they worked to manage over 100 projects, 90 percent of them being client-facing. With the desire to provide the best customer experience possible, everything landed on the project managers’ shoulders. Due to this, workflows were not scalable for growth.
By implementing a single system that allowed the team to track and record data in one place, Safety NetAccess was able to streamline their process and alleviate some of the project manager’s responsibilities. Project managers within the organization can now manage up to 60 projects at any given time, increasing the company’s efficiency by 25 percent. As Richard Stokes from the company stated, “Being able to organize that under one system has been incredible.”
3. Decrease Meeting Length
In a Harvard Business Review study on meetings, 71 percent of senior managers said that meetings are unproductive and inefficient. While not every meeting is unproductive or inefficient, this study does point out that some meetings may need to be trimmed from the day’s schedule. But how do you determine which meetings should be cut or how to trim the length of each meeting?
In trying to determine how to best implement 50 new customers at a time, App-Garden met frequently to discuss the coordination of the customer onboarding process. Recognizing there were stalls in their system, they needed a solution that allowed fewer people to manage implementation. At the same time, they needed to ensure none of the work fell through the cracks.
Implementing client onboarding software allowed a single manager to implement four times as many projects as before. In addition, they found their meeting time had decreased by 86 percent. Meetings that were once two hours in length are now 30 minutes or less. The customer success team now has additional time to devote to improving the customer’s experience.
4. Improve Customer Service
First impressions are everything, and if you miss the opportunity to show your customer they are important to you and that you are there to help them achieve success, they will soon look elsewhere for that help.
How do you know if your customers are unhappy? One way is to look at the churn (customers who leave your company for another) and turnover of clients. Another is to read reviews about your business via social listening or through review apps. What are your customers saying about you? Bad service reviews, while frustrating, can be a powerful tool to help you find ways to improve.
Using reviews left in Salesforce, NEOGOV recognized there must be a better way to interact with their clients and leave a great first impression. By defining a concise onboarding process and its accompanying expectations, they realized they needed a stronger implementation software. With these goals and strategies now in place, team members have been empowered to give their clients an incredible first (and lasting) impression.
Improve the overall impression of your organization’s products and services by ensuring no customer is left behind. Pay attention to what customers say about you, and then look for ways to improve those services. A concisely defined onboarding process will ensure you provide the best customer service experience possible to each and every client.
5. Implement a White-Glove Service
White-glove services are customized offerings to personalize the customer experience. Businesses that establish these individualized relationships with their clients need customizable systems and templates.
If you offer these high-end services, it is likely that your current process takes a great deal more time than a standardized service approach. Is there a way to marry both the best service possible with time-saving processes?
AgriSync, a customer service platform designed to help agricultural businesses and equipment dealers with ticketing and remote support, believes strongly in providing these specialized services to their clients. However, this led to onboarding process times of at least two to three months.
In looking for ways to trim their service time, AgriSync looked for options that would allow them to implement a more “hands-off” approach. Using customizable templates allowed them to continue to offer their white-glove service but quickly shortened their onboarding process time.
According to Cheri Klussendorf at AgriSync, “Some customers need handholding. With GUIDEcx, we don’t have to disrupt our processes to help them. On the platform, each task is a specific feature, you can still offer white-glove service, and scheduling meetings only involves the click of a button.”
Some customers need handholding. With GUIDEcx, we don’t have to disrupt our processes to help them. On the platform, each task is a specific feature, you can still offer white-glove service, and scheduling meetings only involves the click of a button.
— CHERI KLUSSENDORF—
6. Add to the Sales Team Resources
In order to increase your client base, you need resources to grow your sales team. This can’t happen when resources are being spent in other areas, such as lengthy client onboarding processes or cumbersome data-sharing programs. As the sales and customer success teams work in tandem with one another, each group looks for ways to trim the fat, giving them additional resources for new hires.
Many businesses begin their client onboarding with the use of simple tools such as Google Sheets. While Google Sheets is a good place to start, it definitely has its limitations. Data within Google Sheets can be difficult to sort, analyze, and track. As your client list grows, you’ll need a more robust system to track and onboard clients.
Alleva, an electronic medical records (EMR) platform, ran into these same issues as its business began to grow. Recognizing that their current onboarding process of six months was taking much too long, they turned to onboarding software that streamlined their processes. Since implementing this system, their sales team has doubled. Using less-costly systems allowed them to allocate resources to these additional hires and support their company’s growth.
7. Increase Productivity
Using manual systems to onboard clients creates bottlenecks in the process, which slows down the overall productivity of the customer success team. This can leave a business feeling like they are drowning in onboarding tasks. If you’re struggling to keep up with the enrollment of new clients, you’re in need of a more efficient onboarding process.
Propertybase struggled with this very issue as they onboarded 36 new clients at a time in a process that took over an hour, twice a week for each customer. As their day filled with client calls, productivity in other areas began to diminish. Some customers waited up to two and a half weeks before the onboarding process even began. Propertybase recognized something needed to change to ensure customers got the immediate attention they deserved.
By implementing client onboarding software, Propertybase was able to improve customer service, streamline the onboarding process, and increase productivity. With the capability to automate tasks and review operational data all at once, agents can now concentrate on selling without missing out on a lead.
Client onboarding works when you have the right tool to streamline the process, include all team members, create transparency, and guide the process. Ensure your clients feel like guests of honor by providing them with the best customer experience possible. To learn more about how GUIDEcx can help your business successfully increase productivity, improve customer service, and boost project capacity, schedule a demo with one of our onboarding specialists.
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