When it comes to onboarding a customer successfully, you need to know when to let the reigns loose and let your customer soar. But when is the right time to do so? Let go too quickly and adoption will plateau.. Let go too late and you’re looking at being a part of never-ending, back and forth emails filled with questions about your product. By the nature of putting plans into place, we tend to focus on dates, but Day 30 isn’t anything magic, it’s when the customer has advanced enough in their journey that they can start standing up on their own. Here are some steps you can take to make sure you’re holding the graduation party at the right time.
It All Begins At… Well, The Beginning.
Take it upon yourself to check in enough times so that your customer is aware that you truly care about how far along they are in their journey. Make sure that regular meetings are happening even if they are only 20 minutes long, in order to discuss any hindrances, benchmarks, and get feedback. Not only does this eliminate the waiting period between emails, it also shows the customer how dedicated you are to their needs. This tip is also an excellent way for teams with several customers to organize their time proactively.
Do they feel autonomous about figuring out the software? Is the workload too heavy? On the contrary, does it feel too easy? Do they have any ideas on how to do things better and more effectively? Having to play guessing games as to whether they are succeeding in their role is a stressful thing to deal with, so let there be no question or doubt about this. Make a checklist! Introduce and refine that standard checklist during your initial kick-off call with your customer.
Come up with questions that will reveal to you the extent of their knowledge, so that you know where to begin and how to avoid bogging them down with things they were previously aware of. Present your plan during your kick-off and give them a detailed report that the customer can refer to. A fresh pair of eyes can bring really innovative ideas to the table, so encourage them to make any suggestions or share any ideas that they have towards reaching graduation point.
If It’s Not a Piece of Cake, It’s Not.
Take it one step further and be honest with your customer. If your software is high-touch and there a many steps involved in getting them to graduation, let them know. Honesty is key, do not make it sound like a piece of cake if it’s not. All too often, we see customers who think purchasing a SaaS will solve everything - newsflash, it doesn’t - aligning their people, tools, and processes takes hard work. Engage with your customers to build an honest connection where you can confidentially discuss expectations. Often times, customers don’t want to appear as though they cannot handle the complexity of a product and nod off in agreement to everything, worried that admitting issues will reflect negatively on their own performance. If a customer is not on track to graduate, be honest about it and take action to get them back on track.
If issues are not addressed during onboarding, they will surface later. The point of onboarding is to teach customers to be self-sufficient and successful on their own - that’s why we call it a graduation. This leads to a higher churn rate because the software gets shelved, out of fear and frustration. Do not assume that they know, always ask - better to be safe than sorry. If your customer provides a timeline to the project that they’re working on, even better!. Workaround their schedule and goals to get the project completed on time.
Check. The. Facts.
The best method to employ is to focus your onboarding methods on key metrics that are important or relevant to your company. While simultaneously tracking and monitoring the other ones. Depending on your service, these may range from visit frequency, length of usage, recurring value, and lifetime value. Types of metrics such as a number of users doing a particular activity that is early in their journey give you insight on when they’re ready to move on because if they haven’t passed the first pylon on their own, they’re not going to get to the second pylon.
You cannot expect a seedling to grow overnight, nor can you expect a peach seed to bloom into an apple tree. In order to confidently send your customer off on the remainder of their journey, you need to make sure you’re providing the right conditions. You want to keep an eye on them till they get to their first pylon in their journey and once they get there, let them start standing up on their own.
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