article | June 6, 2020
What a World-Class Customer Onboarding Process Looks Like
Customer Onboarding is a crucial activity for customer success teams. In fact, within SBI’s 4-Step Customer Success (CS) Strategy, successful Customer Onboarding is the #1 factor in ensuring that customers achieve their desired outcomes. Yet, if you were to ask customer success managers or sales reps to define Customer Onboarding, you would likely receive a wide variety of inconsistent answers, even among those within the same organization.
That’s why we’ve designed these easy to follow Customer Onboarding Process Guidelines to help you develop a world-class onboarding process.
Think of customer onboarding as you would boarding a plane. Up until the moment you step off the jet bridge, you’re a ticketholder – once you cross that threshold, you’re a passenger. That’s a quite literal example of customer onboarding in a B2C (Business to Consumer) environment, but it’s really not all that different from onboarding in B2B.
Customer onboarding is the moment when your customer goes from a prospect to a customer, sales has done their job, the contract ink is dry, and now Customer Success takes over – but how? Through a structured, yet-tailored process called onboarding. Onboarding marks the first post-sale interaction the customer has with your company and sets the tone for the relationship going forward.
Although customer onboarding processes vary widely based on the goals of the business and the goals of various customers, the ultimate goal is to ensure value on both sides. For the customer, they need to become experienced with your product or service as quickly as possible to start achieving the desired outcomes. For the company, they need to drive value throughout the customer lifecycle. This dual focus (customer and company value) is critical to the successful design of a world-class onboarding process.
Customer onboarding can quickly become complicated, with so many stakeholders and variables to the experience, it’s vital to combine an outward-in and inward-out approach – never losing sight of the customer and what is important to their experience while also driving value for the business.
In order to tackle these complexities, we anchor on three core design principles:
1. Customer-Focus: It’s essential for your customer success team to know exactly how your customer will utilize your product or solution. The answer to this question should drive the creation of the onboarding process.
2. Clarity: The entire process should serve as a sort-of decision tree, with clear resolution paths for every potential scenario.
3. Standardization: Wherever possible standardization and automation should be incorporated into the process design for repeatable and high volume activities.
Those core design principles serve as the foundation for Our Customer Onboarding Process Guidelines, which provide additional details on the following 10 high-level guidelines to consider when developing a customer onboarding process.
The path to creating a world-class onboarding process is iterative, and for many companies requires learning from the mistakes of the past. Each of these guidelines are just that, guidelines that should be tailored for your company.
The benefits of implementing a world-class onboarding process are well worth it:
As my colleague Ellen Wade shared last month, Customer Success is a revenue multiplier, not cost center. In fact, “Businesses utilizing Customer Success see a 40% increase in revenue, 50% faster growth, and experience many positive effects on churn and customer happiness.”
If you think your organization could improve or implement a customer onboarding process, be sure to download our Customer Onboarding Process Guidelines.
If you’re still not sure what application would be best for you, let our experts facilitate the discussion and kick start your customer success journey. Contact us to schedule time with one of our experts in the SBI Studio.
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