Excellent onboarding experiences lead to higher customer retention. First impressions count; drop the ball and you’ll find a poor experience hurting your growth.
We work with B2B SaaS companies to optimize their customer onboarding process, time and time again we hear the same challenge:
How to scale your onboarding process to keep up with growth while maintaining customer satisfaction?
These six tactics can be implemented at different stages of your growth to help you scale your own customer onboarding process sustainably:
1. Standardize critical steps
Everyone should do this regardless of size.
Smaller teams often rely on individuals “just knowing” and remembering steps to onboard new customers. Reliance on human best endeavours may be fine in a small businesses. However, as the team grows, and the company adds more products/services and the volume of customers simultaneously dealt with increases maintaining a consistently delightful onboarding experience becomes more of a challenge.
Defining critical steps as an onboarding template will cement this as institutional knowledge and catch things from falling through the cracks. This common plan is essential when growing the team. It will reduce the time it takes for a new starter to master the process.
You must introduce rigour. Your customer onboarding process should be methodical and repeatable. This is the key to sustainable growth.
2. Define a common language
When every customer is following the same journey, it becomes clearer when discussing each stage each customer is in. You will start to identify issues where a customer has not reached a certain stage or milestone by a particular date, or where customers struggle to progress.
Establish this common language by defining a customer onboarding template. The template will ensure your processes and critical steps are completed and provides a common language for the team.
Maintaining a master task template allows best practices to be maintained and iteratively enhanced. As you identify best practices from your most successful customers your templates can be tweaked to prioritise those aspects of the product that will deliver real value to your customer.
3. Accelerate time to value
We have learnt that prioritising certain aspects of the process means the customer gets earlier gratification. This early gratification can ripple through the team and have an incredibly positive impact on the initial sentiment of the product.
Identify the magic moments and ensure the customer reaches those as soon as possible.
When we are implementing Taskfeed into a new customer we will help them to set-up Templates and External Sharing as two of the first steps. Templates allows the customer define their onboarding plan to be built out automatically for each customer and External Sharing lets them share that plan with the customer as a branded link. The combination of these two items is often gives the customer a real buzz and sets the tone for the product.
4. Understand the process for each product
An inevitability of a high-growth startup is product diversification. A change in your product lineup introduces challenges for the onboarding team to identify which product the customer bought and in what configuration. The onboarding team then has to define a plan for each customer based on the products and services sold.
Creating product-specific templates and automating the creation of the onboarding plan based on these products will save hours, reduce errors and confusion.
An effective solution we have seen is to create “base” templates for common project activities (the head and tail of the project, like kick-off and wrap-up) and then product-specific templates, which layer on top for specific products or product categories.
5. Identify specialisms
When you are small, it is common that one person will manage the entire customer onboarding process. As customer requirements become more specific or customer segments demand a different type of skill-set, then you may want to start hiring specialists.
As these specialist functions develop you will come up against new challenges; for instance, collaboration and hand-off between teams can often be difficult.
6. Engage your customer in the plan
A considerable part of the process is working with the customer. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes, they want to know what is required of them and when.
If possible share your onboarding plans with your customers. By doing so you will further strengthen the likelihood of a successful onboarding project, as the customer will be more informed and engaged.