5 ways your customer onboarding can go wrong

These are the top reasons a customer might churn during the onboarding phase
October 31, 2021
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If you run a SaaS business, you'd often experience great excitement when a customer purchases your product or service. But to grow and thrive in those customer relationships, onboarding should be done right.
In a lot of cases, due to an inefficient or incomplete customer onboarding process, customers churn. The signs are often evident when a customer is unhappy during the onboarding process. And, we were curious about what could be the top reasons that lead to a customer ditching a product. So, we ran a poll on it. 
43.6% of the voters indicated that delay in time-to-value is the biggest reason for churn, followed by poor visibility into project progress (24.8%) and buggy product (17.8%). In addition to these hiccups, poor sales-to-success handoffs and the not-so-great experience provided to the customer during the onboarding process are also the culprits leading to failure. Let's explore these mishaps in detail and how to solve them.

1. Lack of visibility into project progress

Every project is a complex system of multiple dependencies, documentation, requirements, stakeholders, processes, etc. As a project manager for customer-facing projects, you'll be juggling many projects simultaneously. 

It becomes challenging to know where all these customers are struggling when you're overloaded with information that, at times, nobody knows. The inability to identify customers’ troubles will hinder you from taking a proactive approach to help them. 

Here’s what you can do to ensure visibility:

  1. Make sure your customer success team understands the scope of each project and the expectations from the customer side
  2. Align all OKRs with the company's and customer's goals
  3. Use timesheets to track the project progress and measure your team's and customer-side team's productivity
  4. Frequently check in with the customer and ensure whether they're gaining any success
  5. Provide weekly/monthly updates to all stakeholders
  6. Get a specialized customer onboarding tool that can give you and your customers a complete picture of the project's progress at every stage

2. Poor sales-to-customer-success handoffs

One of the crucial reasons for customer onboarding failure is the account transfer between the sales and customer success teams. Poor handoffs have a massive impact on customer experience as, at times, the customer may feel that your team isn't engaged in delivering value. This leads to disengagement from their side, thus dramatically affecting retention and company revenue. 

Here are some ways you can avoid mishaps during account transition:

  1. Involve the customer success team in the pre-sales process
  2. Set realistic goals and expectations with your customer
  3. Your internal teams (sales, CS, product, and engineering) must have clear communication with each other
  4. Document notes, data requirements, reports, use cases, pain points, etc., and share them amongst all teams
  5. Proper knowledge transfer is crucial for a successful handoff
  6. Align the KPIs between the sales and customer success teams
See also: Creating a winning Sales-to-Customer-Success handoff document [free template]

3. Delay in value delivery

When it comes to value realization, customers have little tolerance for delays. The hard truth is that it's easy to lose customers during the early stages of onboarding, especially when they face minor frustrations or don't see the benefits of using your product early on.

Meaning: You're racing against time. So how can you pick up your customer onboarding momentum and minimize the time-to-value?

  1. Standardize your customer onboarding journey with a few personalized touchpoints
  2. Set proper goals and KPIs during the kickoff call to accelerate your value delivery
  3. Prepare your customers to clean their data before migrating for a smoother onboarding process and quick value realization
  4. Identify and remove any friction in your onboarding
  5. Involve the engineering, product, and sales teams in conversations whenever necessary
  6. Design a better onboarding process that gives more importance to customer education and shortens time-to-value

4. Bugs in product features

A good product isn't defined by the number of features but how well the features function and offer a solution to the user's needs. It's better to have complete and functional features than to be feature-rich. 

Rocketlane's Senior QA, Gayathri Rukmadhavan, says, "A buggy product not only leads to revenue loss and stunted growth but also major reputation damage. Stats say that more than half of a product's users will fully quit the app if they face one or more glitches while using the product. When the user experiences glitches in the first step of the journey, i.e., onboarding where customers learn your product, then I call it a big failure."

Customers want a product that's easily customizable and bug-free. Here are a few ways to handle a situation where there's a bug or two in your product:

  1. Set realistic expectations on the product performance if the product is new or in beta 
  2. Establish a feedback loop with your customer to report bugs on a priority
  3. Involve the product, QA, and engineering teams to understand the issue and empathize with the customer to solve the problem with a quick turnaround
  4. Establish a clear path to value and prioritize fixing the bugs that hinder a smooth customer onboarding

5. Mediocre customer experience

Customer onboarding is a combination of good experience, communication, and outcomes to make your customers feel good while using your product for the first time. But providing a great customer experience while onboarding is often overlooked. 

A great customer onboarding process is not magic. It needs to be frictionless and personalized to give users what they want at the right time. 

You can microscopically measure and analyze each interaction in the onboarding process to effectively design and optimize the experience. Here's how to refine your customer onboarding methodology.

How can Rocketlane help you organize your customer onboarding chaos?

Rocketlane is a purpose-built customer onboarding solution that helps you to:

  1. Accelerate time-to-value
  2. Speed up go-live in your implementation journey
  3. Create a delightful customer experience throughout your onboarding

Rocketlane improves communication, collaboration, and project visibility amongst your teams and your customers. The integrated CSAT helps you keep a tab on your customer sentiment through the journey, thus creating a delightful experience. Hitting project goals and demonstrating value to your customers becomes a breeze with Rocketlane. Give us a try

More resources

  1. Implementation Stories
  2. Preflight Conversations
  3. The Launch Station - a podcast for all things customer onboarding
  4. Customer onboarding resources from Rocketlane

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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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