At the beginning of March, we held Customer Onboarding roundtables with over 20 Customer Success experts to discuss three important elements of customer onboarding:

  1. Driving Customer Engagement
  2. Building a Customer Experience Strategy
  3. Perfecting Customer Handoffs

In this blog post, we’re sharing the key insights from the sessions on building a successful customer experience strategy for Customer Onboarding.

Once your organization has (wisely!) decided to focus on Customer Onboarding, the question becomes: How do you design a strategy for moving your customer successfully through their first 90 days without breaking the bank?

Step 1: Segment Your Customers

In order to determine what type of onboarding experience to deliver to each customer, you need to create customer segments. Some possible segmentations:

Level of Spend: One challenge for growing businesses is the desire to provide every customer with the same level of onboarding service. Segmenting your customers by level of spend can help you determine which type, and how many, resources to dedicate to different types of accounts.

Complexity: The CS experts in our roundtables have seen a lot of success with pre-sale questionnaires to determine what to expect in terms of onboarding complexity. How a customer answers will help you determine what type of onboarding services to offer them. And getting this information before the sale will enable your sales team to set the correct expectations for onboarding and, if appropriate, to offer them a paid onboarding package.

Customer Score: You may also want to consider developing an algorithm based on key business drivers to create a customer onboarding score that can be used to determine what onboarding strategy is right for each customer.

Many companies will use a combination of all or more of these segmentation strategies. The key is to know what your customer needs before you start to onboard them.

Step 2: Design Your Customer Onboarding Strategies

Once you’ve decided how to segment your customers, it’s time to consider how you want to interact with each in their first 90 days. This will involve creating high, low, and tech touch strategies that can be used individually or in combination.

High Touch: Requires dedicated resources that will act as the quarterback for the customer for their entire onboarding journey and would involve a high level of one-on-one interaction. Think lots of Zoom calls or in some cases, site visits (pre- and post-COVID-19, of course!).
One mistake many companies make is providing high touch onboarding services in the beginning but tapering off before the customer gets to full adoption / value. This is especially problematic with larger customers—nothing worse than blowing it in the first 90 days on a big account!

Low Touch: Draws from a pool of customer onboarding resources and requires that you are able to deliver service to one, or many, customers at the same time. Instead of 1-1 Zoom calls, a low touch approach may involve more communication through Slack, email, or webinars.

Tech Touch: Involves automation at scale through self-serve services such as in-app suggestions, chatbots and knowledge bases.
Determining which type of touch to use, and when, is critical in the design of your customer onboarding strategy.

Step 3: Establish Clear Expectations and Conditions (and Consider Offering Incentives)

Some of the best practices for creating a great customer experience throughout the onboarding process include:

  • Establish your onboarding process for each customer segment and then tell each customer what to expect in writing. This information could be communicated in the form of templates tailored to each customer segment.
  • Set expectations around the amount of time your customer will need to dedicate to the process in their first 90 days with your product or service.
  • Set prerequisite conditions—gates—that must be met in order to move onto the next step. (Also set expectations about what will happen if gates are not met.)
  • Consider offering incentives for when milestones are completed on time to help create a joint accountability between your organization and your customer.

Step 4: Ask for Feedback

Every program you develop will get better and better as you continue to evolve it. By embracing a growth mindset and positive outlook, you can continuously improve your processes and ultimately, grow your business.

One way to get feedback is to survey your customers once onboarding is complete. This feedback is invaluable as you iterate on your process, documentation and training. It also helps you to develop your Customer Onboarding Score criteria. This score will enable you to measure customer experience and predict business growth. (TaskRay offers robust out-of-the-box Customer Onboarding Feedback Forms. Here’s a quick explainer.)

Conclusion

In conclusion, as you design your customer onboarding experience, and develop your high-touch, low-touch, and tech-touch solutions:

  1. Determine your customer segmentations
  2. Design your Customer Onboarding strategies
  3. Establish expectations and conditions (and consider incentives)
  4. Ask for feedback

We hope these best practices will help you to design your company’s world class customer onboarding experience.

Coming Next Week

In next week’s blog post, we’ll share best practices from our roundtable sessions for handoffs between Sales, Customer Onboarding / Implementation and Customer Success. > Sign Up for Emails

Check Out Our Customer Onboarding Podcast

In our latest episode, TaskRay’s Chief of Staff Jamie Cole sits down with Gainsight’s Chief Evangelist Dan Steinman to discuss why 70% of churn happens because of the customer’s experience in the first 90 days, how to build a successful hand-off process, and more. > Listen to Podcast

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