You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
The customer onboarding process is the first impression that starts the path toward success or failure. Successful client onboarding will drive customer retention rates, shorten the time it takes the customer to get to the point of value, improve client relationships, and, as a result, lead to more referrals. Failure in the onboarding process leads to unhappy customers, increased customer churn, and, ultimately, lost business and revenue.
But how do you know if it’s time to redesign the onboarding process? It starts with evaluating what your steps look like, knowing how to measure onboarding success (including the most important metrics to track), and knowing what a successful implementation looks like.
What Does Your Customer Onboarding Process Currently Look Like?
A difficult client onboarding experience is one of the top contributors to customer churn. Are you seeing unacceptable churn with your new customers? New customer adoption rates low, leading to low renewal rates? Could it be that your current process isn’t currently working? Understanding where your process currently stands is the starting point for any onboarding process redesign.
“You have to have a clear understanding of your process today,” says David Thompson, Mid-Market Sales Director at GUIDEcx. “While things may adjust on a case by case basis, you should be able to explain at a high level to your team and your customers what to expect. You’ve got to know what the roadmap looks like.”
In order to assess the current state of onboarding, you need to know the following:
- The complete list of tasks for onboarding
- What each task includes to be considered “complete”
- A workflow of the onboarding process from start to finish
- How long each task typically takes
- Who is ultimately responsible for each task
- What software integrations are currently being used to track the onboarding process
For a more complete guide of onboarding, you may consider creating an onboarding process checklist. This will help you identify that you have gathered all the information necessary to analyze your process. If your organization currently has a template or workflow they are currently using, start there and assess if any steps are missing, need to be updated, or need to be eliminated.
Now that you’ve gathered all the details of your current process, let’s discuss if it’s time to redesign your customer onboarding process.
Is It Time to Redesign Your Customer Onboarding Process?
When analyzing your current process, there are some important questions that can serve as key indicators that it’s time to redesign your customer onboarding process. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, then the time has likely come.
Are you consistently missing promised delivery expectations?
Timely Delivery: Delays in onboarding can be a major disruption to the customer experience and result in a lack of profitability. If you are not delivering in a timely manner, you have to evaluate the reasons why, which may include the need to redesign your onboarding process.
Has your product evolved or expanded since you last evaluated your onboarding process?
Product Evolution: It may be time to account for those changes and any additional steps required to get the customer to the point of value.
Is your company in a growth phase and experiencing an upward shift in volume?
Change in Volume: It may be tricky to scale up the number of customer onboards with the same staff and processes.
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then it’s time to take a second look at your current onboarding process.
When asked what the biggest challenge is for redesigning a customer onboarding process, David says, “It’s a paradigm shift. You have to let go of the handheld control that everything is done because I’m having to manually get it done.”
Recognizing that the organization or team has outgrown its current process and needs to adjust is a step in the right direction to increasing customer success and improving the customer experience. Regular evaluation of your onboarding process and consideration of a redesign are healthy for companies at every stage of growth.
Have you operationally shifted the way you are delivering to your customers?
Operational Adjustments: Maybe your company had a single customer service organization that handled the entire onboarding process and now you are considering adding an implementation team. Maybe you are a member of the executive team of a small company that handles everything and you are considering adding staff to support customer onboarding. Regardless of scope and scale, adjustments in operations should come with an evaluation of the onboarding process.
How to Measure Client Onboarding Success
In addition to the questions above, there are also several key metrics that indicate if your current customer onboarding process is working or needs an update. Use these measurements to identify where problems in the process might exist:
- Engagement: Highly engaged customers buy your products 90 percent more frequently, and they spend 60 percent more with each transaction. Closely tracking the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer satisfaction (CSAT) rates will help you understand if your clients are onboarding successfully and highly engaged with your brand.
- Churn Rate: It’s particularly important to measure customer churn during the first year after onboarding. Customers that have a difficult experience with onboarding are more likely to move on to another product or service—74 percent of customers who face challenges in the onboarding process say they would take their business elsewhere.
- Client Happiness: The previous two metrics will tell you a lot about your customers and how happy they are engaging with your product or service. But you can also ask them directly through customer satisfaction surveys and at each stage as you engage with them in the onboarding process. One way to quickly and easily measure client happiness is through the implementation of the GUIDEcx CSAT (customer satisfaction tool), which is now available. The CSAT tool gives a more complete picture of the customer experience and can be measured after a milestone or when the project is complete.
- Referrals: Happy customers are most likely to refer their friends and business associates to your brand. Are you measuring referrals? Do you see the dividends of your successful onboarding process? If not, it may be time for a redesign.
Learn more about how to measure and quantify these key metrics in this helpful article.
Essential Components of a Successful Onboarding Process
We have considered how and when to evaluate your onboarding process and the indicators that will help you measure if you are succeeding or failing. Now, let’s look at what a successful onboarding process looks like. With the top-rated client onboarding software, GUIDEcx has a proven and tested method for delivering successful implementation, having completed over 250,000 projects. Here are four keys for a successful onboarding process:
- Level Up the Customer Experience: You have to understand the points of pain for your customer and how your product and service provide a solution to those challenges. Then ask, “Does our onboarding process get them to that point of value quickly enough?” A successful onboarding experience shortens that time-to-value window. It makes the steps simple for the client while also providing a positive personal interaction.
- Automate Communication: Some onboarding experiences can require up to 50 or 60 steps. Each of those must be clearly communicated. By automating the communication process, you reduce the risk of something falling through the cracks and leading to a poor customer experience. Clear, automated communication also helps decrease implementation time and increase efficiency.
- Forecast Risks: The customer experience can come with a lot of anxiety. Transparency in the onboarding process can help alleviate that stress. Helping your client understand their risks and walking them through them helps set the stage properly at the beginning of the customer journey. As you successfully bring your clients to the point of value, you will ultimately see fewer of those customers turning to your competitors’ products or services.
4. Measure Efficiency: The best way to assess how long your onboarding takes is to measure milestones, products, and customer types. Calculate your internal costs. How much do you spend when onboarding a new customer? Measure the effectiveness of your teams. Is there someone on your team that generates the highest customer satisfaction? What can you learn from their experience?
GUIDEcx Can Help
Working to improve your client onboarding process pays off. Recent research by Dimension Data finds that 84 percent of companies that say they are working on improving the customer experience have seen an increase in revenue. It starts by evaluating your current process, tracking key metrics that indicate success or failure, then following the four keys to a successful onboarding process.
“GUIDEcx is a game changer as far as project management goes,” says Ann Mooney, head of implementation at Epion Health. “It ‘destroys timelines’ by eliminating redundancy, delivering consistency, and creating expectations for the team and the client.” Beating their previous onboarding timeline by 60 days after implementing GUIDEcx, Epion Health is just one of GUIDEcx’s success stories.
Kount, an Equifax company, cut customer onboarding time by 43 percent and increased capacity by 40 percent. GUIDEcx continues to lead the industry in assisting customers to boost project manager capacity, reclaim human and time resources, and build a transparent onboarding process.
If it’s time for a redesign, GUIDEcx can help using its client onboarding and project management platform.
“We have a major advantage,” says David Thompson. “We know how to successfully onboard because we’ve done it more than anyone else. We understand your struggles because we’ve been there before, and we know how to guide you out of them.”
Schedule a free GUIDEcx demo today to learn how we can upgrade your first impressions.
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