Customer retention is a critical metric for any business. Customer churn is expensive in terms of time and money, but loyal customers contribute to your organization’s revenue and efficiency. Experts suggest that acquiring a new customer is between 5 and 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing customer. And high churn rates can impact morale and even harm your company’s reputation in your industry.
So if you want to improve your customer retention rates, where should you start? Evaluating long-term customer satisfaction is important, as is continually improving your products and services based on feedback. However, 50% of all churn happens in the first 60 days. So it’s crucial to identify issues that occur during customer implementation. Addressing onboarding problems can significantly impact immediate and long-term retention rates.
What Is Customer Implementation?
Also called onboarding, customer implementation refers to the time between the sales handoff and the date when your product fully “goes live” for the customer. In many cases, the implementation process involves delivering your product to the customer, training their team to use it, and helping them deploy it fully into their workflow.
Large companies may have a dedicated customer implementation team. In smaller companies, onboarding tasks may be handled by the customer service department. Inviting key stakeholders to help develop and optimize your onboarding strategy is crucial.
To improve customer implementations, ensure all internal stakeholders are clear on their individual and collective responsibilities. Likewise, identify external stakeholders involved in the process. Success requires coordination between your team and your customer’s team.
How Your Implementation Process Affects Retention
Developing a thorough, efficient, and effective implementation process is crucial. You’ll want to ensure your implementation teams follow best practices for superior customer onboarding. The overall experience, especially during onboarding, can determine whether your customers stay — or leave for your competitors. According to one survey, 32% of customers say they’d leave a brand they loved after a single bad experience. And nearly two-thirds (59%) would leave after several bad experiences. If onboarding is slow, confusing, or frustrating, your clients may leave before they can fully experience your product’s benefits.
Conversely, an excellent implementation experience allows you to make a strong first impression that encourages your clients to stay for the long haul. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of survey participants list customer experience as a critical factor in their purchasing decisions. Furthermore, 42% of customers would pay more for a “friendly, welcoming experience,” and 65% say that a positive experience with a brand is more influential than advertising.
An efficient, comprehensive implementation process ensures that customers immediately experience your product’s benefits. The sooner they get to see the return on their investment, the more likely they are to stay with your brand. A better implementation experience benefits your company, too; a 5% improvement in retention can increase profits by 25% to 95%! Furthermore, increasing onboarding efficiency gives your team more capacity to onboard additional customers sooner.
Benefits of GUIDEcx and Customer Onboarding Software
How to Streamline Customer Implementation for Better Retention Rates
How do you build an onboarding experience encouraging customers to stay with your company? It’s all about prioritizing efficiency and efficacy simultaneously. The goal is to develop an implementation strategy that moves quickly but still ensures that the customer is completely satisfied and ready to experience all your product’s benefits as soon as possible.
Understand what success means to your customers
Customer success is a critical outcome of a successful customer onboarding strategy. But you can’t help your customers reach their goals if you don’t know what those objectives are! Make sure your implementation team understands each customer’s goals from the beginning.
Ideally, it’s best to get this critical information from the sales team, but you can also request additional information on goals and pain points from your customers during the sales handoff. Once your onboarding team is clear on a customer’s objectives and measures of success, they can optimize the implementation to reach those goals.
Identify all stakeholders
Successful implementation is a collaborative process requiring buy-in from your customers and onboarding team. Before the implementation process begins, identify all the internal and external stakeholders who will be participating. You need this data before you build a comprehensive implementation strategy.
Once you’ve identified everyone involved, ensure they all know how to communicate during the process. Phone calls and email chains are inefficient and prone to errors. The GUIDEcx platform keeps communication in one place, allowing users to quickly comment on tasks and use @ mentions to connect with points of contact.
Delegate responsibilities effectively
You’ve identified all the stakeholders and created a reliable communication strategy; now it’s time to identify each person’s role in the implementation process. Start by assigning tasks to your team members, and then clarify your customers’ responsibilities in the implementation process.
Oftentimes, onboarding gets delayed when external stakeholders are unclear on their role in the process; when they don’t complete their tasks on time, it limits your team’s ability to stay on track. So make sure you clearly define the parts of the process that require your customer’s input and then clarify how their participation impacts the success and timeliness of onboarding.
GUIDEcx includes customizable templates and integrated dependency logic that simplify task management. Our platform also makes it easy to see how work is distributed among your team members. You can ensure no one is overburdened or underutilized.
A lack of transparency is one of the most common — and significant — onboarding issues. If you’re giving only internal stakeholders a start-to-finish view of the process, your customers won’t know exactly what’s going on or what’s coming next. Without insight into your team’s process and workflow, the customer can’t see whether their project is moving forward or when they can expect to reach the next milestone. This lack of transparency can quickly lead to frustration and disillusionment; from the customer’s perspective, nothing is happening.
The solution is to increase transparency and give customers a strategic view of the entire project. This doesn’t mean you must give them a full window into your internal tasks, comments, and metrics. Instead, give them the critical details they need: a view of the project’s “roadmap,” their responsibilities in each stage, and an accurate end date that’s updated in real-time when tasks are completed or delayed.
Make sure your customers understand how their work affects the overall project timeline. It’s also vital to allow customers to see your team working, completing tasks, and moving forward. If they can get all this information themselves by glancing at their dashboard or the project timeline, it eliminates the need for them to contact your team to request status updates or clarify their responsibilities and expectations.
Tedious manual work can significantly slow the implementation process and increase the risk of human errors. Of course, many aspects of implementation require a hands-on approach. But things like status updates, task notifications, reminders, and dependency creation can easily be automated to decrease your team’s workload and minimize miscommunications and errors that can occur during repetitive, “mindless” work. Even simple automation can significantly improve efficiency and give your team more time to focus on the tasks that require their expertise.
Gather feedback and make improvements
Once you’ve developed a standardized implementation process, it should be fairly quick and easy to customize it for each client, especially if you use templates and automated project management tools. But creating that process isn’t the end goal; it’s just the start of a continual cycle of identifying inefficiencies and making changes to optimize implementations.
Track your team’s work on each implementation project to identify consistent roadblocks or bottlenecks. If there are times during each project that repeatedly get delayed or have problems, analyze those aspects of the process to identify and fix the underlying causes. Likewise, solicit feedback from your team members about their experience during the process. They may have critical “inside information” that you can use to optimize things going forward.
It’s just as important to evaluate your customer’s experience during implementation. And don’t just wait until the process is complete to ask for feedback! You’ll miss out on critical details that might be forgotten when onboarding ends. If you aren’t monitoring the process continuously, you won’t be able to see and address problems and delays quickly, which increases the chance of the customer becoming so frustrated that they leave.
It’s a good idea to request feedback after each milestone. Using GUIDEcx, you can access integrated customer satisfaction (CSAT) tools to gather critical feedback and react to problems quickly and effectively.
GUIDEcx Empowers Our Customers To Realize:
Reduction in Onboarding Time
Increase in Project Manager Capacity
Fewer Onboarding Meetings
On-time Delivery Rate when 5+ Users are Invited
GUIDEcx Facilitates Exceptional Customer Implementations
If you want to increase retention, start by optimizing your customer implementation process. Creating an outstanding onboarding experience allows your customers to reach ROI quickly and increase your team’s capacity to onboard more customers faster. Improving your implementation strategy involves clearly identifying stakeholders, improving task management, developing transparent communication, and reducing manual processes via automation.
GUIDEcx is a dedicated customer onboarding solution that facilitates an efficient onboarding process for your company and customers. With our platform, you can automate notifications and keep everyone on track with real-time forecasted end dates. Project management features increase transparency, and integrated CSAT tools make it easy to gather feedback and address problems quickly. Book a demo today to learn more about GUIDEcx and how it can support better customer implementations!
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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.