by Allison Yount, Director of Customer Success at Scout RFP
Customer happiness is the lifeblood of any business — after all, happy customers mean lower churn rates, increased word-of-mouth marketing, a boost for internal morale, and so much more. Something that many tech companies will quickly find out is that much of that happiness starts with the onboarding process. If a customer experiences an unpleasant onboarding experience, it’s unlikely that they’ll champion your solution throughout their entire organization.
We know that when it comes to customer adoption, a few happy initial users are key to company-wide technology use. So, how do you ensure that they – and every customer after them – experience a smooth onboarding process, one that won’t just make them willing, but eager, to pave the way for company-wide adoption? Start with these three steps:
1. Begin before the contract is signed.
Promote confidence about your solution and its capabilities by setting up a test run with your vetted prospects. Yes, trials aren’t revolutionary — but trials with a customized tool and tailored training are. This process should make prospects feel as valued and looked after as one of your bona fide customers, particularly if you enlist a dedicated customer success manager to lead them through every step of the trial process. As these prospects come on as customers, they will be primed for (quick) success thanks to a familiarity with their day-to-day contact and processes.
2. Have a (deliverable) plan.
As you bring on new customers, it’s vital to build a plan that clearly lays out what mutual success looks like for both of you. What KPIs are most important to the customer? Pinpoint them, identify how your solution can help, and then put it in writing. As both parties agree to the plan of attack, it should live in a deliverable document that stakeholders can reference whenever they need. Like anything, the plan should be dynamic and able to be updated as your relationship evolves.
3. Set up regular check-ins.
Once you have a plan in place, it’s important to revisit that plan with regular check-ins. What goals are being met? Where are you falling short? How can you pivot to better serve your customer? Not only will this feedback help you better serve your customers, but it will also help you develop a better offering in the long run. If you’re not having regular conversations about your partnership, it makes it difficult to remedy disconnects in a timely manner. Check-ins also give you an opportunity to familiarize customers with new product updates and feature releases, so they can utilize your solution to the fullest extent.
For companies striving to stand out in a crowded tech landscape, it’s important to provide customers with an outstanding onboarding experience through opportunities for product familiarization, mutual goals, and regular feedback sessions. Anyone can execute reactive customer service, but those who prioritize goal-centered, relationship-focused customer success will be the ones leading the pack. After all, there’s no better way to build your business than by positioning your solution – and team – as a vital asset to a customer’s success.
Allison Yount is Director of Customer Success at Scout RFP, a strategic eSourcing provider. She previously worked at CrowdCompass in a senior sales role and joined Scout as its first sales team member in 2015. With a penchant and passion for customer success, she went on to build out the company’s customer success team.