While onboarding a new customer should be an exciting time for both customer and vendor teams, one wrong move can send things spiraling in the wrong direction. After the sales cycle, which can often be drawn-out, chaotic, and intense for both sides, onboarding is the first real chance a new vendor has to make an excellent first impression with a customer and set the stage for what the partnership will genuinely look like moving forward.
Not to put too much pressure on the onboarding stage, but a good onboarding experience can make or break a customer’s trust, excitement, and interest in a vendor partnership right out of the gate. This makes onboarding incredibly important and downright critical to any successful customer lifecycle planning strategy.
Here is a quick start guide to ensure any customer onboarding experience is a successful one:
1.Meet with the customer as early as possible before onboarding begins.
While you can’t start onboarding a new customer until the deal is signed, that doesn’t mean your customer success function shouldn’t be a part of the sales conversations. If onboarding and implementation are a differentiator for your organization and other customers have highlighted as a high point in their relationship with your team, make sure potential new customers know this going in. It can also help set the stage for a smooth onboarding experience once the new organization is a customer.
2. Start talking about the entire customer lifecycle in onboarding meetings.
Without overwhelming customers, frame your onboarding sessions as part of the larger customer lifecycle. It’s okay to talk about months or even years down the road to ensure your customer knows that you’re approaching this partnership as a long-term strategic relationship. If the customer has questions about features or functionality that might not be included in their current package, make a note to revisit this information when you are in the right place for an upsell or expansion opportunity.
3. Track data and metrics as early as possible in the process for accurate data down the road.
Don’t wait for your customer to be fully implemented and use your product or solution to track customer success metrics. From day one, your team should be tracking valuable data during the onboarding process, from how many stakeholders are part of onboarding conversations to getting the new customer fully onboarded to any issues or questions that arise during the onboarding sessions. Having data like this that goes back to day one can help you build a more robust picture of customer health down the road.
Want to learn more? You can explore more about building the ultimate onboarding experience with these additional resources from ClientSuccess: