“The beginning is the most important part of the work” - Plato.
Plato could just as well have been talking about business and customer relationships.
When your customers choose your product to get their work done, the beginning of their customer journey is critical to ensure they are:
It costs businesses around 5 to 25 times less to retain existing customers than to acquire a new customer. This makes it critical to make the customer’s first experience with you count to ensure customer retention – and getting customer onboarding right is the only way to do that.
Customer onboarding, however, is rarely a single step. It involves multiple stages, milestones, touchpoints, and stakeholders.
The key to making onboarding effective and efficient is ensuring the process is smooth and standardized.
This is where customer onboarding templates can help you — not just in streamlining your customer onboarding strategy but also in ensuring a consistent and delightful customer experience – from start to finish.
In this article, we share a customer onboarding template and some resources for each stage of the customer onboarding journey, along with an onboarding checklist and plan.
Templates create a smooth, standardized, and fast process for each new client.
They also help your CS and customer onboarding teams provide each customer with a consistent experience. This will strengthen the customer relationship, ensure customer loyalty, and reduce customer churn.
You can use the seven templates below for each step of the onboarding journey.
An effective handoff ensures that your Customer Success team can:
You should design this customer onboarding checklist template to capture key information the sales team collects during their initial meetings with the new client.
This can include:
Gathering this information from the sales team helps you and your Customer Success Manager smoothly transition to the next stage of the customer onboarding process.
Check out our complete guide on creating effective sales-to-customer success handoffs and our customizable template for Sales-to-CS handoffs.
After the handoff, it’s time to drill down to the project's specifics – its goals, scope, and implementation details.
The two documents critical at this stage of the onboarding flow are:
An SOW is a comprehensive, legally binding document that lays down the details of various aspects of work agreed upon by you and your customer.
Besides increasing customer engagement with crystal clear communication about the process, it helps streamline future stages by:
These are crucial for streamlining customer communication, staying on track, and improving customer satisfaction.
Check out our customizable Statement of Work template to get started.
Looking to design your own SOW? Check out our post on how to write an effective Statement of Work.
A project charter is a brief document summarizing and highlighting critical information regarding the project, such as the objectives, scope, stakeholders, etc.
How does it differ from the SOW?
Created after the SOW, an approved project charter is more tactical, formalizes the project, and authorizes the usage of project resources.
Your Customer Success Manager can use it to hold stakeholders and other project members accountable throughout the project’s course.
Check out this 3-minute read on creating a project charter. If you’d rather get started right away, use our customizable project charter template.
Kickoff typically marks the end of the planning phase in the project lifecycle and the start of the execution phase.
A well-designed kickoff will show customers what’s ahead, the steps and stops on the way, and when and how you’ll help them get there. It’s also an excellent time for an in-depth product tour.
Besides identifying any potential blind spots, hurdles, and risks, the project kickoff is the best time to foster strong team morale and excitement around the project.
Check out this post on the specifics of a project kickoff and our ready-to-use project kickoff meeting template.
Besides careful planning, another key ingredient in onboarding success is efficient and transparent communication.
A communication plan ensures that stakeholders stay updated on the project's progress at all stages. It should be designed to enable:
You should start with a welcome email to formally introduce your Customer Success team to the stakeholders.
Through this welcome email, you can establish how to communicate project progress with your customer — through emails, in-person meetings, social media, Slack messages, or other forms of communication.
If you’re looking to develop your own communication plan, we’ve compiled a complete guide for streamlined project communication that you might find helpful. Or, you could use our customizable project communication plan template.
A resource tracker helps you understand how team members are assigned and utilized during a project.
This is critical for successful customer onboarding, considering the number of stages and tasks each onboarding project contains and the fact that team members often handle multiple projects simultaneously.
An effective resource tracking tool provides you with a 30000 feet view into all your resource needs, availability, and allocation so you can:
We’ve compiled a detailed guide on resource tracking for customer onboarding projects and a handy resource tracker template to get you started.
There are far too many moving parts to consider when implementing a customer onboarding project.
We have put together a comprehensive guide to nailing your customer project delivery that lays out the ten steps you must follow in your project delivery process.
A status report is the most effective tool to keep your customers and internal Customer Success team updated on your project’s multiple moving parts.
Use this free, customizable Project Status report template to get started right away.
Go-live is arguably the most critical milestone in any customer onboarding project. It marks the end of a series of activities – typically spanning months – starting from requirement gathering and project planning through execution/implementation to testing and training.
Successful go-lives result from effective planning, clear communication, streamlined implementation, timely risk consideration, and action.
Here’s a free go-live checklist template that covers all these bases to ensure your go-live is effective.
These templates are a great way to track each stage of the customer onboarding process. But what if you want a bird’s eye view of all the stages at a glance?
We’ve got you covered with this bonus template!
You need an onboarding plan that showcases the entire customer journey from start to finish.
A curated and up-to-date document can give you a 30,000 feet view of your entire onboarding program. Once shared with your key stakeholders, you won’t have to update them via calls or updates, saving you a lot of time.
We've created a customizable sample of a client onboarding template for small, medium, and enterprise businesses.
However, you’ll need more than just a template.
To ensure everything goes off without a hitch, try our client onboarding checklist, too:
If you’re looking to develop or tweak your customer onboarding strategy, we’ve developed a 20-point customer onboarding checklist as a great starting point.
This customer or client onboarding checklist covers all aspects of successful customer onboarding – from project goals, scoping, and methodology to change management, stakeholder management, documentation, communication, and product adoption.
Here’s a sample of what the onboarding checklist will help you with:
Scope, Requirements, Resources
Stakeholder Engagement And Management
Prepping Your Team
Documentation and project tracking
Reviewing and Improving the Customer Onboarding Process
Does all this sound overwhelming?
Wondering how to make this onboarding process simpler?
If you’re looking to move away from templates for different onboarding stages to templatizing all your customer onboarding journeys by planning, running, and tracking them from one place, try Rocketlane.
Designed for visibility, consistency, collaboration, and productivity, Rocketlane’s unified workspace gives you control across projects and customers while ensuring a standardized and consistently delightful customer experience across all your customer onboarding projects.
Rocketlane achieves this through its key features:
At Rocketlane, we believe the onboarding experience is a key metric for customer success. And everything on our platform is geared towards helping you ace it!
Below are some frequently asked questions about the customer or client onboarding process.
Customers should feel welcomed into your organization from the get-go.
You can do this by sending them an onboarding email and welcome packet containing:
Your first onboarding email and the welcome packet should ideally give your customer a snapshot of what it’s like to collaborate with you. This will encourage customer retention and customer loyalty.
Calculating onboarding success requires detailed metrics and analytics that you can compare against similar projects in the past and future.
For instance, you can track the following metrics to see how you can improve your onboarding flow:
By improving these metrics, you will notice an uptick in customer satisfaction, customer engagement, and retention.
When creating an onboarding template, you should keep the following things in mind:
You need customer and client onboarding templates when onboarding multiple customers. They can help you save both time and money in the long run.
However, creating templates can be a significant drain on your resources. This is why we’ve provided a template for every step of the onboarding process.
Or you could take it a step further with Rocketlane – create your own templates and redesign them to fit each customer’s needs.