When it comes time to identify the most critical part of the customer lifecycle or customer journey, a few big milestones like ‘closing the sale’ or ‘growing adoption’ might be thrown out there. But nothing quite comes close to onboarding, which quite literally sets the stage for the entire customer/vendor relationship from that point forward. Onboarding simultaneously reminds a customer why they partnered with your company while showing those not involved in the buying process the value you can bring to the table.
So, what makes a great onboarding experience?
Step 1. A clean transition from the sales process.
At the beginning of a customer relationship, every single bump in the road is in sharp focus – especially when it comes to sales handoffs. Customers are sure to take note of any transition issues this early in the process, which means your customer success team, as well as the sales team, should meet early and often to trade notes, share information, and ensure all business objectives are clearly outlined.
Step 2. Clear milestones and KPIs on both sides.
The best customer success teams are fanatically attentive to KPIs and milestones right out of the gate. This is important for both sides, because (as we all know) customers can be just as much at fault as vendors for slow onboarding processes. Clearly communicate your milestones and objectives with customers and revisit these frequently to stay on track.
Step 3. Real-time measurements of success.
One of the biggest holes that customer success teams fall into during onboarding is that there isn’t any way to see if it’s working. And here, ‘it’ means the entire process: how do you actually know if end users are actively using or logging in to your SaaS product? Your team should be able to immediately see if people are logging in and use this as a basis of success to inform later stages of onboarding and customer engagement.
Step 4. A timely and organized project plan.
One of the most important things to remember about the onboarding process that, eventually, it ends. Customers can’t stay in the onboarding phase forever, no matter how exciting and engaging it might be. Stay on top of the onboarding process by keeping tasks organized and ensuring every stakeholder – even those on the customer side – knows when their assigned tasks are due.
Step 5. Full transparency all the way to the top.
Modern customer success is a company-wide initiative, which means onboarding new customers requires the input and attention of every single department (and company executives). Customer success teams must be able to quickly and easily alert various departments of issues or bottlenecks in the onboarding process and then seamlessly work with these teams to get the customer back on track.
Want to learn more? You can see how your team can start building amazing customer onboarding experiences by scheduling a personal demonstration with the ClientSuccess team here or by checking out our industry-leading blog here.