You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Your new client onboarding process could be that chance.
When you deliver an exceptional onboarding experience, you build trust that will last far beyond the process.
Your new clients will be clients for life. But a bad onboarding experience will leave customers looking for a way out, even if they are happy with your product or service.
“If that initial onboarding experience isn’t good, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth,” said Harris Clarke, VP of operations at GUIDEcx. “Even if the client signed a year contract, that bad taste is going to be there a year later, and the renewal is much less likely. Whereas if I can really nail that experience—if I can get customers up and running and I know what success is for them—then my customers get everything they need and they are more likely to stay.”
Are you ready to make clients for life? (Of course you are!) Here are five ways to improve your client onboarding experience.
1. Lay out the process from beginning to end.
Before get started with anything else, make sure everyone has a clear picture of the onboarding process. All the steps should be clearly laid out from start to finish.
Make sure to consider the following:
What milestones will you track?
What do you need from your customer’s team?
When will you complete the project?
- What is your team going to do for them?
You should organize this information in whatever format makes the most sense for you and your customer. An email, a slide deck, a Gantt chart or a spreadsheet works. The key is to make sure everyone knows what to expect before you get started.
Pro tip: Make sure what you outline in this step is realistic and achievable. Don’t set deadlines you can’t meet or make promises you can’t keep.
2. Define what successful onboarding looks like.
One of the most important things you can do as a project or customer success lead is to understand what success looks like for your customer. Don’t assume that you know what it is. Success will look different to each customer.
Take the time to define what success means to your customer. What will keep them motivated and excited throughout the customer onboarding process?
How do you do that? Ask what they want to accomplish, why they bought your product or service, and what they are hoping to get out of it.
Pro tip: Customers might not articulate their idea of success right away, so keep coming back to these questions until you have a clear answer.
3. What product features sold your customers?
Was there something in the sales call or demo that really stuck out to them and got them pumped to work with you? Or are there specific features or capabilities they want to know more about?
This is a good time to share what features you like. Also the features that will help your customer meet their goals and objectives.
Pro tip: Don’t forget to check in with your onboarded customer post-implementation. Ask what they like most about your product and what additional features they’d like to see.
4. Identify stakeholders and their role in the client onboarding process.
A good implementation process needs to include everyone who has a stake in the project. This includes
Your internal onboarding or implementation teams
Your customer’s teams
The salesperson who sold your customer
Any third-party vendors/contractors who may be contributing
Talking to your sales team can help identify who should take part. They knew your customer first! GUIDEcx research found that 61% of projects with one person involved complete on time.
Pro tip: The customer contacts that your sales team works with to create the deal are not always the contacts you’ll work with to onboard your solution.
5. Reduce anxiety with transparency.
A client onboarding software solution makes the onboarding process so easy. No one has to think about what comes next or who handles it. Automated task reminders move everyone through the process without unnecessary delays. Anyone can log in to the system any time and see exactly where everything stands.
That kind of transparency, visibility, and predictability goes a long way in reducing anxiety for customers. No one likes to be in the dark about what’s happening with their implementation. The time you save with automation—and not having to constantly talk your clients off the ledge—can now be put towards building long-term relationships with your clients. This will keep them happy for life.
Pro tip: Ditch manual processes and spreadsheets. Give your clients a better experience with purpose-built client onboarding and implementation software.
To learn more about how you can improve your client onboarding experience, visit our blog.
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