Customer Success Starts with Customer Onboarding

by Chris Arringdale Customer Experience, Customer Success
Kilterly onboarding email.

Don’t you just love sending those emails? Of course, you do but, are you actually giving your customers the onboarding process they need or are you just the sending the obligatory email?

Customer success isn’t just applicable to one part of a customer’s lifecycle, it has a place in every step. By incorporating customer success into your plan as an operating model, companies get insight into every aspect of the customer lifecycle, making each step as important as the next.

However, it’s very possible to see churn early on and this is where an organization’s customer onboarding process comes into play.

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Let’s take a deeper dive into why customer onboarding is so important for customer success.

Define Customer Onboarding

Customer onboarding begins when the customer signs on and ends when they get value from your product or services for the first time outside of the sales and marketing phases. Lincoln Murphy describes this as “the point where they first get value – where they first start to achieve their goals.”

Determine at what point a customer is getting value or where they see the value potential. Once they fill that criterion, you can consider them on board.

Build Your Onboarding Process

The concept of onboarding can be put simply on paper, but putting it into action is a whole different game.

The goal of an onboarding cycle is to get your customer to the point of value, beyond what they received in the sales process. To get to the point of value you need to know what your customers’ goals are for using your product and how they can get the most out of it.

Make a list of things they have to do in order to get value or see values potential. Add what things they need to do with your products or services to reach this point. Don’t forget to put what things they need to do outside of your platform in their world. Once you check all of these boxes, build the process to get them there.

Voila! You have an onboarding process!

Now it’s time to guide them through the process you’ve put in place. You don’t want to leave them hanging or on their own to get through this cycle. It’s crucial to start them off on the right foot. Plus, if any issues come up or they get confused you want to be there to help out. If there isn’t enough guidance this could be the start of a downward spiral in your relationship with the client.

If this seems like a lot to keep track of, try using an auto workflow, like Kilterly’s, to create the tasks, assignments and information emails necessary to keep a customer moving through the onboarding process. This way you can keep an eye on their progress and make sure they are getting the value-add.

Early Signs of Churn

Customers who churned or didn’t renew often cite events in the very early stages in their lifecycles as a factor in their decision. This can be anywhere from 80% to 90% of customers.

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The reasons for churn begin during the onboarding process. Chances are they never really got up and running with your platforms and therefore didn’t get value or see the potential for value with your company. This starts them off on the wrong foot and makes it difficult for your customer success team to get them on the right track.

When this happens, the vendor is usually at fault. Their onboarding process has issues. You want your customers to be successful, but your lack of a proper onboarding cycle is telling them otherwise.

Stop Churn From the Start

One way you can try to stop churn in your new and mature customers is by monitoring different customer success metrics. Go beyond the data of seeing who did or didn’t finish their onboarding process, and get into the nitty-gritty of what they’re really doing. Here are some key things to look for during the onboarding process:

  • Ticketing Score – From the amount put in, you can determine their frustration level and what is causing it.
  • Engagement Score – Discover how customers are engaging (chat, email, etc.) and how often. A more engaged customer means a more interested one.
  • Usage Score – Learn how often customers are using your product in the first phase.
  • Training Demand – See which customers are actually using the video tutorials. These individuals are more likely to convert than those who didn’t even click the link.
  • User Reviews – Positive comments = happy customers! However, negative comments still mean they had enough interest in your product to try it. With the right incentives, they could be persuaded to come back. You can even try sending surveys out to learn more.

Customer success teams can then take this data to see what customers are happy with their onboarding process and which ones need a little more help.

worker taking notes on different customer metrics

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