In 2017, a Taiwanese hiker was discovered after being missing for 47 days on the most treacherous mountain in the world: Mt. Everest. He and his wife had decided to ascend the mountain without a guide and became lost after a powerful snowstorm. Without a guide or a porter, Liang Sheng-Yueh was forced to live off the water and salt he was carrying until he was rescued.
Even in good weather, climbing Everest is no small feat. The average time to climb is six to 10 weeks, with two months being a standard. Months of planning go into a climb, and guides and porters familiar with the mountain are recommended to make the journey. In that sense, not much separates an Everest climber from an organization striking out on its customer onboarding journey. Much like a hiker without a guide on a challenging ascent, organizations lacking a defined set of customer onboarding goals and objectives can become lost and frustrated.
If you find that your sales-to-implementation processes aren’t hitting the mark, it is highly likely that you don’t have the right goals and objectives or have yet to set them. Goal-setting for customer onboarding can be an excellent exercise for discovery and a deeper understanding of your organization and customers’ needs. Let’s dive deeper into why you need customer onboarding goals, how to define and craft those goals, how to implement those objectives, and how to measure the success of those goals.
Why Do You Need Customer Onboarding Goals and Objectives?
Why is setting target objectives so important? One study found that unclear goals contribute to 37 percent of project failures. Not having a clear set of objectives is the most common factor for failed projects. Just like the hiker who successfully ascends the mountain, alignment of purpose is critical for your entire team if your company is to achieve its customer success goals.
A goal or objective can be defined as a desired result. It is the ambition or aims toward which effort is directed. What is it that you’re trying to achieve? What is the target?
Your organization’s mission statement is a great place to start when determining your customer onboarding objectives. Succinct organizational mission and vision statements can help guide the process of setting goals and help maintain alignment throughout the entire company. At GUIDEcx, our mission statement ultimately drives all of our objectives and goals, stating, “We help people work better together.” Our focus has always been “How can we better serve our clients and, in turn, help them serve their own customers?” This is our overarching goal and objective each time we interact with a client.
A SMART goal is a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Keep this in mind when setting each of your objectives. Here are some examples of SMART customer onboarding goals that can help you achieve success for yourself and your clients:
- The customer completes the onboarding process in six weeks.
- After implementation, the customer achieves at least a 35 percent increase in a project management capacity.
- The customer onboards 25 new clients each month.
- The customer increases the number of promoter NPS (net promoter scores) totals by 25 percent upon onboarding completion.
- The customer streamlines onboarding tasks from 30 tasks to 15 tasks for completing onboarding.
Goals act as signposts, guiding your teams at important junctions that help get your company (and ultimately your customers) to the right destination. The customer onboarding process can feel adrift and unanchored without identifying and formulating these objectives.
How to Define/Craft Customer Onboarding Goals
A written goal increases its chance of success by 42 percent. As you are crafting your objectives for your customer onboarding process, here are some key steps to follow:
- Identify your current onboarding process, strategy, and desired future state. Start by mapping out your current process. Then dive deep and ask team members and clients if there are missing steps you need to include. If there are gaps between reality and your vision, you can now more easily refine your objectives to help you get there.
- Enumerate what is entailed in your commitment to others. Ask yourself and your team, “What have we promised, or what do we owe to our customers, employees, shareholders, and community?” These promised results can range from top-line revenue to sustainability goals to increased efficiency. Your mission and vision for your goals don’t just affect your company—they affect the lives of everyone your company touches.
- Follow SMART goal-setting principles. Review your current goals (if you have them). Do they follow the SMART goal methodology? Is your objective truly achievable? Is it specific, and does it include ways to measure success? If not, then recraft that goal to ensure it follows these principles.
- Gather support and buy-in, starting with leadership. Then spread your vision, goals, and objectives throughout each department to help support implementation. At GUIDEcx, our leaders make it their mission to ensure every employee knows how to contribute to the company’s vision by following our organizational and customer onboarding goals.
Redefining our mission and vision statements in 2022 was a key milestone at GUIDEcx. We have always been a mission-driven company, but codifying our mission and vision into defined goal statements was an excellent way to determine what we could do better and how to move forward more productively and positively.
How to Implement Customer Onboarding Goals
Now that you’ve worked together within your organization (with customer input) to map your process, identify gaps, and create SMART goals, how do you implement those goals?
- Spread the word. Only 16 percent of low-level employees understand organizational goals. Make it a priority that everyone from the CEO and CMO to the customer success team knows how their responsibilities contribute toward achieving the company’s vision and goals. If your employees aren’t sure of your customer onboarding objectives, sales goals, and customer success targets are likely misaligned.
- Provide support. At GUIDEcx, we provide customer onboarding software, and our goal is to help our customers give their clients a seamless and positive onboarding process. If our team members don’t have access to the resources and support to provide that experience, the client isn’t getting the desired experience, which means our objectives aren’t being fulfilled. This shows a lack of alignment with the organization’s strategy. What systems must your organization implement to support all team members in achieving these goals?
- Review frequently. Reexamine even those elements that you take for granted. Maybe your CFO has continued with a certain budgeting policy because that’s how the previous CFO did it. But is that policy harming your customer service? If your mission is to distinguish yourself from all your competitors with your customer service, that’s a problem. Identify roadblocks, reward successes, and implement changes when necessary. As industries, organizations, employees, and customers change and grow, your goals may also need to adapt. Stay flexible enough to pivot when the situation calls for it.
Perhaps you are already implementing these strategies. If so, a few tweaks may be all that is needed to ensure that your objectives support the organizational alignment you’re seeking. If you’re not currently doing these things, then it’s time to make a plan. Determine now how you will do so and when you want to start.
Customer Onboarding Metrics to Measure Success
Most companies only analyze about 12 percent of their data, and yet data can indicate success or pending failure. Your target objectives help to align your entire company under one strategic purpose. But how can you know if your organization is aligned with that purpose?
By defining specific customer onboarding KPIs (key performance indicators), you can start recording and analyzing wins, losses, and potential opportunities for change and improvement.
Here are some KPIs we suggest that you track:
- Onboard Completion Rate
- Customer Adoption Rate
- Customer Response Rate
- Net Promoter Score
- Engagement Rate
- Net Revenue Retention
- Time to Value
While measuring these metrics is important, these numbers mean nothing without analysis. For instance, if you see an increase in churn, dive deep into the “why.” Is there something you can do to lower this number and increase customer retention? What if your NPS is slipping? Again, do your homework to understand the reason for the change. By analyzing the data you’ve collected, you can improve your processes and deliver the experience that customers have come to expect. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, so let these numbers drive change within your organization.
GUIDEcx Can Help
GUIDEcx puts customer success at the forefront of their service by guiding clients through setting goals and optimizing their onboarding process, delivering products and services more efficiently, and speeding up time-to-value for customers. The GUIDEcx platform makes it simple to invite, guide, and engage internal and customer teams on a project with task automation, transparent project views, and quick access to tasks and status updates.
GUIDEcx can help guide you through these processes, so contact us today to schedule a demo.