Onboarding: Beginning of Success or Failure


As part of the Customer Success Leadership Network Council, I am excited to publish a two-part series on onboarding in SaaS.

What are you including in your program to ensure, “the beginning of success…or failure for your customers?”

The fall school semester is just around the corner and while parents and educators are finding new ways to collaborate and enable students, companies are striving to make work from home productive, and as efficient as possible. A learning program that educates and empowers your greatest assets, your employees and your CUSTOMERS, is critical when it comes to success.

We are all familiar with the benefits of an engaging and meaningful onboarding experience for new employees, but have you considered the advantages of onboarding new customers with actionable and clear experiences? In the age of content marketing, where companies are spending budget and resources dollars on social media for customer acquisition, we know a brand’s content is even more important post sale. After all, your customers are your biggest sellers. 

Empower & Enable

Regardless of whether you have a product or a service company, learning curves exist across generations and technology experiences. Explaining what your company offers and enabling your customers to receive the biggest impact from their purchase matters. The consequences of not having an interactive learning process around your product or service includes everything from misuse and inactivity, to misunderstandings or worse; disengagement from your brand entirely, also known as a lost customer.

Today, a multi-touch customer learning program that gets clients up to speed quickly, while maximizing usage of your platform or service is key.  What does it take to create a comprehensive onboarding program for clients that can be applied to many different types of businesses? If you want to make your product or service a seamless part of your client’s daily workflow, read on…

Make Learning Flexible

You want your customers to look forward to – not dread – the learning process. No doubt your customer base has varying degrees of knowledge around the product or service, differences in availability, attention span, and resources. That’s why customers need choices in their learning. Create some flexibility when considering the following components of a program:


Types of Learning

Some customers want to learn via video at their leisure, some need one-on-one support, while others like a sense of community. Offer different options and be upfront about the pricing. Hubspot is a good example of stating their pricing upfront, especially when it comes to customer support and experience. If you want more concierge experience, there is a fee to be paid…and Hubspot is worth nearly $12b today. Here are a few keys to success that I have implemented at past companies:

  • Brand Your Onboarding Program
    This helps jump-start customer engagement and understand why your company has a unique program that rises above the rest.

  • Online Training
    Today, there are a multitude of learning platforms available that create real-time product training. There are also digital adoption platforms (DAP) that guide customers through products in real-time as a customer uses a product. Take advantage of them! Both self-paced and real-time training help customers learn at their own pace and better retain information.

  • Ongoing Continuing Education
    Product training webinars should be short, on-demand, building on each other and interactive. NO one wants to be preached to.

  • Networking Community
    Beyond the classroom, create a way for customers to connect with one another to trade ideas and solve challenges together.

Program Features

Offer clients a tiered approach to learning that gives them more or fewer features, depending on needs. Customer success programs should offer varying levels of access to self-help and more customized engagement with a product expert. That way, customers can choose how much one-on-one support they want. But don’t just stop there. Find out who uses your product or service, and cater your learning to them. For example, a company may have two distinct customers (agencies and direct), both of which have varying degrees of marketing knowledge. 

Your company, as a result, should have traditional and accelerated learning for each type of customer. A standard onboarding program should typically be 30 days or less to show product impact, but clients can go faster if they want to. Tailoring the pace of the program and using different tools to cater to the client’s knowledge is key to keeping customers engaged, long after they have completed onboarding.

Want to learn more about the factors involved in crafting a successful onboarding experience for your customers? Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

Originally Posted on the Strikedeck Blog Page, August 13, 2020


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