Preflight Conversations

Delinquent customers in onboarding

Unresponsive, disengaged customers present a potential threat of churning in the long term.
January 10, 2023
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Aswinchandar M

Unresponsive, disengaged customers present a potential threat of churning in the long term.

This risk arises when they haven’t realized the perceived value of your products or services. It might be the most familiar problem to your onboarding and implementation managers, but we’d be naive to think we can invent permanent solutions. Each of your customers is unique, and their users need custom solutions. However, like every problem, there are always best practices you can follow to ensure that you reap the fruits of your labor. 

How can you face the challenge of delinquent customers in onboarding? Particularly those who have been silent for more than six months. Should the Onboarding org own it, or should the Onboarding team hand over the account to the CS? Preflighters discuss.

Ali Hardoon, Manager, Customer Success & Onboarding at Robin

We have a “stalled account playbook” for just this situation! We have a lower threshold of 60 days for delinquent/silent customers.

After that, Onboarding works directly with CSMs to determine the next steps for handoff  — which in the worst case, involves an email handoff to the CSM at the 90-day mark. After this point, the CSM can always tag an onboarding team member for further setup, training, guidance, etc. They are ensuring that within a maximum of 90 days, the CSM can begin nurturing the account. 

Shawn Riedel, Freelance CS Strategist

The first question to ask ourselves is: have we done any analysis to find out why they are stalling?  That list of reasons can help you get to the root cause. Yes, you need to re-engage the stalling customers, but that starts the story in the middle and only sets you up to keep repeating the stalls.

Katie Clark, Manager, Onboarding at PartnerStack

I have done an analysis over the last couple of years and have identified the core problems. I'm revamping our processes to account for the ones in our control, but in doing the analysis, we were able to flag that there is a small percentage of our customers who are delayed by their own hand. The re-engagement process is for that small percentage who we know we can still provide value but are building a better way of returning to the process.

Shawn Riedel,  Freelance CS Strategist

It is crucial to start by asking the right questions. In the percentage who delayed on their own accord, did you know what those reasons were? Like launch and leave, funding, priorities, change in strategy, loss or change of sponsor, bad fit, etc.

If you can get to this level of nuance, you can develop some targeted playbooks. They will help you address these scenarios and create processes to spot them during the Success Planning stage. You have a better shot at getting to know your customers, their culture, corporate goals, and the skill sets they bring to the table.

In my experience, launch and leave is the biggest reason new technologies lose momentum. It occurs when:

  1. The post-sales teams have no idea of the pre-sale customer journey 
  2. An executive sponsor does not explain or justify the purchase decision
  3. What this means for the company and their larger business goals

Creating a change management plan as part of the kickoff package will help your customers’ teams perform better from the get-go. To make sure you make the life of an executive sponsor easier, provide them with templates, timelines, and any other notes that will remove any roadblocks to staying engaged throughout the life of the relationship.

Projects with engaged executive sponsors are exponentially more successful, have greater adoption, and achieve value sooner than projects that launch and leave occurs. 

If you have more ideas, suggestions, and questions 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!

More resources

  1. Why customers ghost you and how to avoid It
  2. Reviving a customer onboarding project when you’ve been ghosted
  3. Customer onboarding best practices

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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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