In this session of Preflight UK’s Office Hours, James Stuart, CSM at Reed.co.uk spoke to Leila Tan, Customer Onboarding Executive at Tessian, and Kieran Bowker, CSM at SafetyCulture about how CS and onboarding teams can create successful onboarding plans for their customers.
Leila created the onboarding team at Tessien and also created and formalized their internal processes and customer journeys; she did this while simultaneously handling technical deployment for new clients across different industries and segments (SMB to Enterprise).
Keiran began his journey at SafetyCulture in a Support role and set up their onboarding team from scratch. Customer Onboarding handles pre-sales and implementation, while Customer Success handles account management.
The discussion revolved around:
Here are our top takeaways from the session.
Given that the customer onboarding journeys at both Tessien and SafetyCulture vary largely based on the customer, it’s hard to have a single metric or approach to identify successful onboarding.
Here’s what Keiran’s team at SafetyCulture uses to measure success:
The customer onboarding team at Tessien uses the following two metrics to measure success:
At SafetyCulture, onboarding is offered in three categories based on the account size. The key differentiator in these categories depends on the number of hours spent and the deliverables committed to as part of onboarding.
At Tessian, the team opts for a tech-touch, automation-heavy approach for SMBs. They’re working towards a process that allows customers to purchase more onboarding hours (or support) from the Professional Services team.
Handover: Earlier, the customer onboarding team at Tessian relied on a form sent to the Account Executive (AE) via email or Slack to capture the customer’s objectives, the risks associated with the account, etc. The main issue was that forms ended up being filled out after kickoff.
Their current process has evolved to automate this handover using their CRM. Whenever a deal moves towards deal closure, an email is sent to the AE prompting them to fill out the handover form. Any failure to complete this step (despite follow-ups) is automatically flagged/escalated to the AE’s manager. In most cases, this step is then followed by a handover where the AE walks the onboarding specialist through the document and any custom requirements from the customer end.
Kickoff: Before the kickoff call, the AE is responsible for sending a welcome email that sets context, and documentation such as guides and end user communication material. Both the CSM and the AE attend the kickoff meeting to ensure all key stakeholders from the customer side are introduced to the onboarding team. Typically, the AE initiates the kickoff call before formally introducing the CSM and handing the account over to the onboarding team.
At SafetyCulture, the handover process is not automated since the product is rather self-serve and most customers don’t need targeted onboarding support. In the case of large customers, the onboarding manager and the account executive have an internal meeting before the kickoff.
The kickoff meeting, led by the onboarding manager, focuses on:
As part of pre-kickoff documentation, they also send the customers a ‘what to expect’ document ahead of the kickoff call so they know exactly what information to prepare, which stakeholders to involve, and what areas to focus on so they can enable their team to contribute effectively to the meeting and the project.
At SafetyCulture, onboarding is a separate function whose main responsibility is coordinating all the resources needed from the support, product, and engineering teams to get customers to go-live and beyond.
At Tessien, the onboarding team comprises senior project managers who are responsible for managing the project and coordinating efforts to bring in the right inputs and individuals at the right time.
Both teams use their CRM (Salesforce) mostly for handovers and to have all the information from presales, sales, onboarding, and customer success in one place.
The customer onboarding team at Tessian uses a Gainsight plugin for Salesforce that enables CSAT collection, post-onboarding surveys, and email campaigns. However, implementation-specific aspects such as project planning, visibility, tracking, etc., are carried out using spreadsheets.
The team creates an onboarding plan for each customer, though the level of detail varies depending on the segment and the size of the account. This plan uses a Gantt chart in MS Excel to highlight the project phases, the expected timelines, etc.
At SafetyCulture, the customer onboarding team uses Typeform for their NPS and CSAT collection, though the process is not yet automated, They are building their integrated tool to ensure better control and visibility over onboarding.
Rocketlane’s Salesforce integration automates project creation, project pipeline creation, and information transfer between the two platforms, thereby enhancing visibility for all stakeholders involved.
If you want to learn more about Customer Onboarding, Implementation, and Professional Services in-depth, join the Preflight Community.