This blog is a part of the 666 series of our Halloween Heist Contest.
With all their magical powers and bubbling potions, witches always seem to have some mischief brewing in their cauldrons. And how do you think they get their mischief managed every time? They follow the recipe for their potions to the tee and make it a point to serve only the perfect version of their brews.
A customer onboarding process is a lot like brewing the perfect potion. It involves a series of essential elements that are critical in delighting the customer. Onboarding is not just about teaching new customers how to use your product. The best customer onboarding strategy has the customer's goals ingrained in it.
Now, every customer success team is looking to perfect this process and retain its customers. So how do they achieve success without having sleepless nights? It is simple. They brew the perfect potion!
And in all curiosity, to understand what critical elements are usually overlooked in the onboarding process, we ran a poll on our social media handles to identify the most overlooked aspect of customer onboarding. While 30.3% of the respondents chose customer education and training, 27.9% chose the duration and structure of the onboarding process. 22.5% chose documentation, and 19.3% opted to identify and manage risks.
No matter what the most overlooked element, they all tend to have the same effect on the process. Ultimately, you run the risk of having strained relationships with your customers.
Before jumping into how to solve the overlooked elements, let us begin by understanding the elements of an onboarding process.
Hold on to your pointy hats, for it is too soon for you to celebrate a win right after a customer has purchased your product. There are still a few critical, often-overlooked potions that need to be perfected during customer onboarding.
No customer ever has exclaimed that they love long product tours that show them all the features that they don't need at the moment.
Customers always look to max out on the total and intended potential of your product or service. And, if and when they are unable to do so, they begin to leave. Now, this instance can be described as spine-chilling, blood-curdling, or simply horrifying to customer success teams. But, it may also be your much-needed wake-up call to start thinking about a customer education program.
‘Customer education, albeit extremely important, is paid very little attention by businesses today,’ says Bill Cushard of ServiceRocket in one of our podcasts. It is the content designed to onboard, engage, and retain your new and existing customers. Simply put, customer education is a tool to teach the customer how to use your product to achieve value faster.
Your customer education phase begins even before customers buy your product and continues throughout the customer lifecycle. While your prospective customers might need education on how your product has helped other customers solve a problem, your new customers might need education on the basics of how to use your product. On the other hand, long-term customers might be looking to optimize their use of the product for extended value.
Ultimately, it is wise to start educating your customer at the earliest, for scalable customer education is one of the most significant levers for long-term customer success. They also benefit you by improving product adoption, driving lead generation, and increasing renewals, thereby ensuring your customer lifetime value (or LTV) is on a steady upward plane.
Documentation is the knowledge base or resource section where customers can find solutions to common issues independently. These materials work as an onboarding buddy and allow customers to try troubleshooting on their own before they reach out to your customer support. The key here is to have all such documentation easily accessible and understandable, equipping the customer with a thorough, supportive, and collaborative onboarding experience.
Save your tears because out-of-date documentation can quite literally eat you alive. It is important to validate your documentation from time to time to solve your customer's obstacles.
With documentation, your onboarding process becomes significantly more manageable, and you will need to spend less time educating your customer at every step. And to avoid overwhelming your customer with information, maintain your documentation and keep it simple.
Customers grow more valuable over time. It thus becomes all the more vital to keep them always happy and interested in renewing. Still, every so often, dissatisfaction may silently creep up on any customer relationship, especially if you do not communicate the value of your product regularly. To salvage the sinking relationship fast and save yourself from the churn, you must identify and manage risks efficiently.
Risk management is the practice of proactively identifying, analyzing, planning, and monitoring potential risks. It can be anything that might impact a project's success: delayed timelines, overloaded budgets, or even reduced performance in any way. A few common risk scenarios include data security, communication issues, scheduling delays, and unplanned work.
Identifying and managing risks is more about being proactive rather than being reactive. Meanwhile, the theory of constraints, a framework to help identify the weakest link in any project process, would be an apt fit to reduce risks and address them for any project or process that has already been kicked off.
It is good news if your customers like you. It means they already believe in your product. The tricky part is, however, having to keep it that way. Follow a standardized, structured experience to always delight your customers.
To get there:
Remember that while you may have hundreds or more touchpoints with various customers, each customer has only one impression of you. So, the more you treat your customer interaction experiences holistically, the better.
And to top it all off with a little extra zest, a few secret potions just for your Customer Success Team.