The 666 Series: Spreadsheets are killing your customer onboarding process

Read on to know why, and alternatives to spreadsheets for customer onboarding
Mohana Valli Prabhakar
October 31, 2021
Blogs
Main Illustration:
Sivaprakash

The 666 Series: Spreadsheets are killing your customer onboarding process

Read on to know why, and alternatives to spreadsheets for customer onboarding
Mohana Valli Prabhakar
October 31, 2021
Blogs
Main Illustration:
Sivaprakash

In This Post

This blog is a part of the 666 series of our Halloween Heist Contest.

Did your heart stop a little bit when you read that title?

Well, as a project manager or customer success professional, you're probably using spreadsheets to onboard new customers, manage customer-facing projects, and even track the customer journey. And you absolutely love using it because it's easy to organize your data, and you're comfortable with it.

But…. Managing customer-facing projects, from start to finish, using spreadsheets is not an easy task. 

Because, no matter how organized you are, your team might commit spreadsheet mishaps that might mess up your onboarding project. When the project plan messes up, it might also mess up your onboarding process leading to a scope creep to a poor customer experience and ultimately to churn.

Why are spreadsheets wrong for customer onboarding?

A good customer experience always begins with good onboarding, and using spreadsheets is the opposite of providing a good customer experience.

Spreadsheets were designed to replace paper-based systems and store data digitally. Initially, spreadsheets were used for accounting and bookkeeping, but now they are used extensively in all business aspects to store, organize, share data, and produce insights as graphs and charts from them.

Let’s see why companies prefer to use spreadsheets for customer onboarding:

  1. Spreadsheets are simple and easy to use for small projects
  2. They are inexpensive and available for all
  3. You can easily share via emails
  4. Basic knowledge of using a spreadsheet is enough to get started

It’s okay to use it for customer onboarding when starting a company and to understand the CS processes. Once your business starts scaling, spreadsheets become a bottleneck in your customer onboarding process and ultimately ruin your customer experience.

We ran a poll to understand what troubles businesses face when they use spreadsheets for customer onboarding. Our results show that 35.6% of the voters struggle to update the sheets, and 24.4% can’t convert data into insights easily.

Let’s dive into why spreadsheets suck for customer onboarding:

  1. Limited visibility into the process. You have to manually capture the onboarding process, document the data, and update it
  2. You need to manually keep tabs on what needs to be updated where
  3. There are high chances of making errors while updating
  4. You spend more time and energy on updates than necessary
  5. Spreadsheets don’t automatically track whether your teams and customers are completing the tasks, which leads to a lack of standardized onboarding experience
  6. No notifications can be sent if the tasks are due. You’d have to have another tool integrated to automate it
  7. Only the person who creates the project plan can understand what’s where; the rest need to be educated
  8. Multiple people handling a single spreadsheet can ruin the original template
  9. It is hard to draw insights from the data leading to the need for additional tools like Tableau to extract data and visualize
  10. Changes to project scope and project expansion become a management nightmare
  11. As a company grows, there’s a demand for the customer onboarding process to be flexible, and spreadsheets aren't adjustable. This results in a stunt of organizational growth.

We can go on and on about why spreadsheets suck for customer onboarding.

So, what can you do about it?

Two choices.

1. Create a better-organized customer onboarding process with spreadsheets and integrate with more tools such as Zapier, Hubspot, SurveyMonkey, etc. However, techniques built with tools like these have a high upfront cost and low project progress visibility.

Or 

2. Ditch the spreadsheet methods and get a dedicated customer onboarding tool to provide a top-notch customer experience.

Customer onboarding tools allow you to measure every interaction of the customer with your product and team. This is crucial for you to design, implement, and optimize a great customer onboarding experience.

The market has tons of customer onboarding and project management tools. How do you go about choosing the right customer onboarding tool for your company?

Fret not, we have some tips on how to choose a customer onboarding tool.

Industry insights you won’t delete. Delivered to your inbox weekly.

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Mohana Valli Prabhakar
Marketing Analyst @ Rocketlane & Community Manager, Preflight

Introverted, but willing to discuss books. Follow me on Twitter @Mohanavalli96


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