Preflight Conversations

Customer onboarding roles and job titles

Is the title 'Onboarding Manager' evocative of employee onboarding more than customer onboarding? How do you deal with that?
November 16, 2022
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Mukundh Krishna

Have you ever been in a situation where you explored the possibility of changing the team’s job titles away from Onboarding Managers, as they are often confused with HR personnel? Preflighters have, and here is some valuable advice they might have for you if you’re in the same boat! 

Has anyone else experienced this or thought it would be better to classify their teams as Customer or Client Onboarding Managers?

For individual onboarding orgs in companies

Becki Henry 

If your product is technical, you can call your onboarding managers "Technical Onboarding Managers" which seems to differentiate it well enough.

Alisha Hardoon

Customer and new-hire onboarding can get confusing even when discussing it with internal teams! To avoid any confusion, we call our team Customer Onboarding Specialists.

Anya Palisch

Look at what this role is most frequently called across comparable companies and potentially re-title them to whatever the "norm" is. That will also make recruiting simpler as candidates typically search for a specific title.

Kareem Barreto

Depending on your methodology and approach, you can pick between titles. We created a career framework where titles change depending on experience. However, it is between three of these main roles: 

  1. Functional Consultant
  2. Integration Consultant
  3. Delivery Manager

For early-stage start-ups

Stewart Stokes

For early teams, Customer Onboarding, Customer Support, and Customer Success might fall under the same umbrella. As you onboard more and more customers, your processes will get refined, and specialized workflows will start taking shape.  But for now, you need a generalist who will do all three, recognizing that they likely won't be great at any discipline since they require different skill sets and approaches. Pick a title that reflects the responsibilities but doesn't create false expectations.  

I'm not sure if someone looking for a Customer Success Manager role will be expected to handle customer onboarding plus support in addition to the standard CS activities like consulting, advising, retaining, expanding, etc.

Steve Schwartz

I think you're fine to call it a CSM role as long as you're clear on the job description and what the different responsibilities are. You must communicate that the route specialization will happen as the team grows. I've started with generalists multiple times and specialized when appropriate.

Andrea Galvez 

You might think about Customer Experience Manager as an alternative - but agree you'll get more people searching for CSM, so just make sure the job description is very clear, including success metrics for the role.

Here’s hoping this will speed up your research for the perfect name. 

If you have any additional advice you want to share with the larger customer onboarding, implementation, and CS community, we’d love to have you join Preflight Community and share it with our members!

Further reading

  1. Use our simple 10-step checklist to set the stage for a successful kickoff meeting.
  2. Explore the 6 types of retainer agreements and the awesome benefits of using one.
  3. Get all the details on PSA software — all-in-one project management tool for customer service teams.
  4. Check out our handy guide to creating an effective price quote and win over potential clients!

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Usha Kalva
Community & Partnerships @ Rocketlane

Usha is a Community Manager at Preflight. She's been an EIR, runs a successful restaurant, and is inclined toward the social sciences. In a parallel universe, she'd have been a wildlife photographer.

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