Breaking it Down: Why Simplicity Wins in Client Onboarding


The client onboarding process for many companies is not a simple one—it involves a lot of team members taking a new client from 0 to 100, so they can effectively use your software or service. Project management, especially for onboarding with complex software or services, can be a difficult and messy process. It would be wise for companies to think about onboarding from the perspective of Albert Einstein:

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

There are actually two sides to each onboarding project — the client side and your internal onboarding. Each side should be as simple as possible to minimize time to first value and set the stage for a long and beneficial relationship.

Simplifying Client Onboarding for Customers:
Three Key Questions

During the client onboarding process, clients have three questions:

  1. What product or service did we purchase?
  2. Where are we at with onboarding?
  3. Who has the ball?

The problem with most project management software is that it lacks visibility for the clients.

Your team may be diligently working on getting all the pieces in place, but the client has no idea what’s happening.

1. What product did we purchase?

Does it surprise you to hear that clients have this question during onboarding? Many assume that when your sales team hands off a client, they already know what they are getting and how they will use it. But in many companies, the decision-maker who signs the contract with sales is a completely different person from the one who will implement and use the software or product each day.

Your client onboarding process should be treated like a second sales process to:

  • Reinforce key features
  • Showcase simplicity and ease of use
  • Focus on the things that the client needs or wants
  • Answer any questions that come up from the people who will use the product

2. Where are we at with onboarding?

Most project management has internal communication tools but fails to keep the clients looped into everything happening. That leaves clients in the dark, wondering if anything is happening, or creates a string of endless “reply all” emails that are impossible to follow for everyone involved.

how to ensure a successful customer onboarding experience

3. Who has the ball?

Without good communication, clients also have no idea who needs to take the next step. When there is little visibility and no accountability, your team may be waiting for a client to take the next step, and the client has no idea they are holding up the project. Once you all figure it out, everyone is frustrated by the delays and lack of efficiency.

GUIDEcx is the first onboarding software that engages your customers and allows them to see an overview of the project, timelines, and assignments so they know exactly what is happening and who is responsible. That keeps everyone accountable and virtually eliminates calls and emails from your client asking for status updates.

Simplifying Client Onboarding for Your Team

Now we’ll discuss why (and how) to simplify things for your team with onboarding software.

Onboarding processes can be complicated, long, and messy, and without a plan in place, you could fall into common traps like going way past a deadline or failing to get clients to their “first win” quickly enough for them to see the value. Having a plan is critical to streamlining the process, and the right project management software can take that plan to the next level.

1. The Project View

The first step in the onboarding process is to create the project. If your PM software requires that you do it from scratch every time, you’re wasting valuable time at the start of the project. Creating a template, then being able to customize it to project management for individual clients’ needs will jump-start your onboarding. Another key feature in project management software is the ability to see the entire project from start to finish, plus how far along you are with each step, so team members stay on task, and the entire onboarding stays on track.

2. Communication & Reminders

Traditional project management software usually has internal communication tools but leaves the clients out of the loop. Someone from your team has to manually reach out via email or phone to keep them informed and request specific information throughout the process. GUIDEcx integrates client communication—they get usernames and passwords and can even log in if they would like. They can also view and complete tasks through email without logging in. This way, clients who are less tech-savvy or don’t want to have another software program to manage can still be accountable and stay on track.

You can set up automated reminders and assign tasks that clients need to complete so they get a notification when something is due. This is one of the main benefits of digitizing your client onboarding process. Plus, you’ll never need to answer an email or call from clients asking, “Where are we at with onboarding?”

3. The Roadmap

Everyone who is part of a project can also see the “roadmap,” which shows every step of onboarding, who is assigned (on the client and your company sides), and the projected date for completion. When everyone knows where you’re going, getting there is much easier. Progress bars show when someone’s working on a task, when it’s complete, and how far along you are with each step.

Plus, you can see an entire birds-eye view of all your projects, including a timeline view, so you can appropriately balance your team’s workload when new clients come on and set achievable expectations.

Simplicity is about helping your team and clients achieve the onboarding outcomes by maximizing efficiency and minimizing frustration along the way. The simpler you can make it for everyone, the more likely you can retain great clients and team members.

Talk With a Guide Today

Discover how GUIDEcx can help you improve efficiency by reducing your customer onboarding timeline and increasing the capacity of your project managers. Our unparalleled professional resources and unwavering commitment to excellence support our industry-leading customer onboarding solution.