Welcome to Part VI of the Customer Onboarding Tips blog series. In part V, we looked at the importance of training videos, readiness kits, and engineering great first impressions.
In this installment, we’ll learn more about showing flexibility in your implementation plans, customer effort levels, and the importance of having quarterly reflection meetings.
As always, grab a cup of your favorite beverage so we can get started!
Customers like their vendors to show some flexibility in their delivery. Customers also expect their vendors to know what they are doing, and the onboarding manager or CSM they are working with to be a seasoned expert.
This tip aims to tap into both elements to impress a new customer quickly and get the right initial handshake with the customer - to hold each other accountable for an on-time onboarding.
If your customer has a specific go-live date constraint or wants to do things faster, you should be able to accommodate their requirements as long as they promise to work with you with the same intensity.
Here's our recommended approach:
The more you do this, the more you will know where you want to show flexibility, what you want to bring things ahead, what you want to keep for the next iteration, etc.
Many of the tips we've shared so far have focused on the intensity and accountability aspects of a customer onboarding project. This time we'll explore an idea to keep up your implementation momentum and make it an exciting challenge.
The idea is simple: At kick-off, share the median and top 20 percentile time to complete your onboarding journeys, and ask your customers if they are up for a challenge! If they complete onboarding successfully and are in your top 20 percentile, they have conquered the challenge and have made it to your "Implementation Hall of Fame".
Some customers may opt-out of this for good reasons, which is perfectly fine, but the challenge is still worth trying out!
If enterprise customers say they don't want to hurry an implementation, that's fine, but they should still want to do better than your median time!
Remember, everything you measure and benchmark comes in handy for the executive on the customer side to challenge their team too!
Note: It may make sense to propose the challenge only based on the readiness level of the customer. Pushing a customer who's at level 0 to get to level 3 in quick time may result in a bad experience for everyone.
It helps to have a quarterly ritual to get your onboarding team together, review your metrics as a team, and come prepared with an analysis to determine key initiatives you want to drive for the next quarter. Call this the Quarterly Reflections Meeting.
Every team member is in charge of coming up with their list of top issues in onboarding and their top ideas to positively impact the onboarding experience for the customer and team productivity.
Make sure you carry data to the table from team members and systems to help quantify the ideas' impact and measure the initiatives' success. Here are some key metrics and questions to consider during your reflections meeting:
Use the meeting to first discuss and agree upon key problem areas, identify and plot initiatives on an "impact vs. effort" graph to ensure you pick high-impact ideas first. Finalize new initiatives that your team members want to champion in the upcoming quarter, and determine metrics that will help determine the success or failure of the new initiatives.
If you have a mature product, onboarding can be challenging, especially because the customer may not have the maturity needed to use your product, and you may be trying to set them up for too much too early.
While the customer may enjoy the benefits of a fully set up product, they may lose hope along the implementation journey if it feels like too much effort from their end or a lot of learning and work before they start seeing any value. This is when they start ghosting you and tell their bosses or colleagues that your product setup demands too much of their time and they aren't able to get their other work done.
If you hear that the customer "got busy with other priorities," one of your takeaways should be that they couldn't multi-task and take your implementation to completion because it was too much effort.
Start measuring what the customer feels the level of effort is for the onboarding, and try to understand which stages or steps they feel are the highest effort from their end.
Send out a survey to all customers going through the implementation journey with you - to collect how customers score you 1 to 10 on how complex your implementation was for them, and then information on what specific phases or tasks were hardest to get past.
This way, you can figure out how to make those steps easier, such as:
Every month you can reflect on the effort scores from your customers and identify key tasks, phases, or milestones that need a revamp to make it easy for the customer.
So try this out and share your learning with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember that there are multiple types of stakeholders in any mid-market or enterprise sale. For example, for our product, Rocketlane, which is into accelerating customer onboarding and implementation projects:
While we all know that we need to do admin and user training, we often don't formulate our onboarding plans considering the engagement needed for each persona during the journey.
Here are some ideas of what is needed for each:
This is just a framework for you to think about the different personas and ensure you are addressing all of them in your roll-outs.
If you have more ideas, do reach out and share your feedback with us at email@example.com