The Art & Science of Effective Customer Onboarding

December 11, 2017 Linda Schwaber-Cohen

The Art & Science of Effective Customer Onboarding Customer onboarding is both an art and a science. To succeed, you need to find the right balance between a creative content strategy and a data-driven approach.

Rely too much on the right side of your brain, and you may be in danger of providing customers with safe, but stale messaging. Lean too far left, and how will you ever know the true impact of your program?

On Wednesday, December 13th, I sat down with Sara Robba, Skilljar’s Manager of Customer Success, to discuss how to build an effective onboarding program.

In this webinar, we discussed:

  • Efficient processes for content creation and revision

  • Building and evaluating an onboarding program

  • Tips and tricks to engage your audience

  • Goals and benchmarks for onboarding success

Below are a few ideas to get you started with customer onboarding. For a full how-to around the art and science of effective customer onboarding, watch the recording.


1. Creating and Revising Content 

Before updating your content, you’ll want to map out your overall content creation plan. Start by addressing the following questions:

  • What do students need to be able to do or know to accomplish their goal?

  • What information do they need in order to do this?

  • What content do you already have at your disposal to teach to this?

  • What new content will you have to make?

  • Who can you ask for help?

This should help you prioritize any changes that need to be made at the content-level.


2. Building an Onboarding Program

At Skilljar, we have four distinct onboarding milestones that I’ve shared below. Keep in mind that these milestones will be different for every company.

  • The handoff - It’s important to align your Customer Success team with Sales from the start. To ensure no one drops the ball, provide clear documentation. Then, send a welcome email to the customer. Make sure you get the right people in the room!

  • The kickoff - The next step is to introduce yourself to your point(s) of contact. They should know what your role is and how they can reach you when questions come up. In this call, also take time to discuss the customer’s initial goals, and review their timeline.

  • The soft-launch - During this phase, your goal should be to collect feedback from beta users. What is your minimum viable product (MVP)? What changes still need to be made before you’re ready to launch?

  • The launch - After weeks of hard work, the date has finally arrived. Training is now open to your intended audience! This is cause for celebration. But remember, you’ll still need to measure your success and adjust over time.


3. Engaging Your Audience

Are you utilizing video for on-demand customer onboarding? If not, you may want to consider switching from traditional text-based formats. After all, video has become an increasingly popular form of content, thanks in part to its consumption on social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Not only is video widely in use today, but people tend to prefer it. In fact, 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video (source: MWP).


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About the Author

Linda Schwaber-Cohen

<a href="">Linda Schwaber-Cohen</a>’s expertise lies in building and growing onboarding and training programs at software startups. After teaching for several years in a K-12 and university setting, she shifted gears and began to develop programs to help customers adopt and see the value in B2B software purchases. She currently serves as Head of Training at <a href="">Skilljar</a>, a Seattle-based customer onboarding and training platform, and previously managed customer onboarding and enablement at Simply Measured, a social media analytics SaaS company.

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