Signs that your customer onboarding process needs an overhaul

Five critical signs that point towards rethinking your customer onboarding process entirely.
December 16, 2022
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Mukundh Krishna

An effective onboarding process can instill confidence in your customers and reassure their decision to purchase your product/service. On the other hand, an ineffective one can have unfavorable consequences for the growth of your organization. The issue, for most companies, lies in honestly assessing how effective their process is in the first place.

Many organizations have figured out sales to a reasonable extent. They know how to bring in new customers with an aggressive sales approach. This influx tends to give them a false sense of success when, in reality, they follow their sales process with a scrappy onboarding, fail to monitor customer engagement levels, and are caught off guard when the customer decides to leave out of the blue.

While reading this, if you even remotely began to question the effectiveness of your company's customer onboarding approach, there probably are some skeletons in your closet. And if you clicked on this piece out of desperation, an onboarding process overhaul is likely necessary.

But fret not; we're here to put an end to most of your onboarding woes. Let's first dive a little deeper and see where things usually go wrong.

The first thing we must understand is that there are different dimensions to customer onboarding, from communication to speed to complexity to automation,. You may be at different maturity levels on each dimension, but what should you look at to judge if your process needs an overhaul?

Here are five signs you need to rethink your customer onboarding process entirely.

1. Inadequate value realization in the first 90 days

Your customers expect to derive value from your product as early in their journey as possible. You don't have much time to showcase ROI on your offering. Unless you have a blue ocean product on your hands, many vendors in the market offer a product/service similar to yours, and your customers can pick one of them quite easily if you aren't delivering value soon enough. And consistently.

Even if your product involves a complex implementation process, you need to think in terms of quick wins. Learn more about the importance of demonstrating value early on here.

2. Lack of visibility into progress, roadblocks, and who's doing what

Have you ever experienced the uneasy feeling that a few projects are running behind schedule or that a crucial client might not be pleased with how things are going? You're not alone. In our journey building Rocketlane, we've spoken to hundreds of professionals in the CS, Onboarding, and Implementation space, and this sentiment seems to exist across industries. Visibility is probably the most critical aspect of project delivery. What you can visibly see, you can quickly fix. Without first knowing where you constantly run into problems/roadblocks in the customer onboarding journey, there's no way to make improvements.

If you're always dependent on one or two superstars in your team to get your customers live and don't have a 360-degree view of all the goings on, this is the first thing you need to fix. Knowing where each project stands, which tasks/phases are at risk, and who are assigned to them is the first step towards streamlined onboarding.

If you're curious about what the ideal visibility looks like, click here.

3. Constant delays + inconsistent project delivery (unable to recreate past success)

Do you remember the last time you were able to confidently promise an implementation timeline to a customer and stuck to it from start to finish without delays? If you said "yes," how frequently were you able to recreate that success with other customers?

Delays have become an unavoidable part of the customer onboarding game. While some clients tolerate the occasional delay on one or two tasks, not all necessarily will. You may want to reconsider your onboarding strategy if you frequently find yourself perplexed when allocating time to projects.

To ensure timely delivery, we recommend templatizing your process and bringing more predictability into the mix. When you repeatedly deliver a particular type of project on a dedicated customer onboarding tool like Rocketlane, you can set up a project template along with common phases and tasks to save time in the future.

Once you have a template in place, you can easily track and measure all the projects under that template. This will help you promise timelines to customers with better precision. Coupled with its inbuilt reporting capabilities, you'll be better equipped to uncover key insights from your projects' performance and plan for future projects better.

Note: If you're an early-stage company, you don't have to get too worked up about delays because it takes a while to find your footing and identify a sweet spot timeline based on the customer you're servicing.

4. Customers drop the ball frequently.

If your customers find your onboarding process challenging - either because they lack the maturity to use your product or you end up overwhelming them by trying to set them up for too much too early - they will drop the ball. Worse yet, 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.

Here are a few reasons why a high-effort implementation is bad:

  1. Churn: Customers may eventually churn
  2. Defensive CSM, slow growth: Delayed implementations lead to your team being on the back foot with the customer, slower ROI, and lower confidence in engaging more with you.
  3. Limited expansion opportunities: Even if they get through it, they negatively perceive your offering and dread engaging in such an exercise like this again. So they may not want to grow their use cases or engagement with your product.
  4. Lower NPS: If you have a low friction implementation that feels like a breeze to the customer, they will talk about it to their industry peers. You just missed a great way to get great word of mouth!

How can you solve this? Measure customer effort score!

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 on a scale of 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:

  • Break them down into smaller bits they can handle
  • Offer a more prescriptive approach
  • Provide help or educational content for those steps
  • Offer consulting services to bridge maturity gaps
  • Bring in partners for some parts of the implementation
  • Make it a phased implementation

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.

5. Lack of insight into team resources

If your team members juggle too many customer onboarding projects and tasks simultaneously, they are more likely to feel overworked and fall behind schedule. This could lead to further delays, project pile-ups, unsatisfied customers, and more churn.

For you to nail every customer onboarding project, you need to have the answers to the following questions:

  • When a new project can begin and end comfortably
  • Who all can be mapped onto a project based on availability
  • If the team is meeting its targets without burning out
  • What are the key roles needed for the project?
  • Who on my team would be a good fit for these roles?
  • When will my key resources be available if they're occupied?  

One way to ensure proper team utilization is by using a Resource Management solution that will give you visibility into each team member's projects, members who can take on more work, and members who are overworked. This way, you can make the most of your team's bandwidth while ensuring no one is overburdened.

We hope these pointers helped you reflect on your current process and identify how you can improve on the aspects of customer onboarding where you're left wanting more.

As soon as you get started with a tool like Rocketlane for onboarding new customers, you will immediately see a remarkable improvement in your process - better retention, satisfaction, and lifetime value. You'll also notice a drastic decrease in the workload of your employees. You won't be held back by visibility, productivity, and collaboration issues anymore.

See how Rocketlane is helping companies like Jirav, Parcel Lab, and Qapita deliver delightful onboarding journeys to their customers.

What is Rocketlane?

Rocketlane, with its purpose-built customer onboarding platform, enables businesses to accelerate the time-to-value of their products, achieve faster go-lives, increase renewals and boost customer satisfaction. It brings the focus back to the customer in customer onboarding through a fully collaborative experience. Rocketlane replaces general project management, communication, and document collaboration tools with a unique, unified workspace that improves communication, collaboration, and project visibility for teams and their customers. With insights from trends and benchmarks across projects, teams can develop and optimize playbooks and best practices with continuous improvement.

You could give it a spin or book a demo to see how Rocketlane can work for you.

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Rahul Sridhar
Content Marketer @ Rocketlane

Content Marketer at Rocketlane. Former teacher turned tech writer. Occasionally dabbles in comedy and rap music.

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