How to uplevel your customer onboarding with digitized workflows

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As one of the first touchpoints in the customer journey, onboarding is critical to a successful customer experience. However, it’s also an area where many organizations tend to underinvest. Unclear expectations, disorganized data and cumbersome manual processes lead to client confusion and missed milestones: Seventy percent of client onboardings are delivered late.

Addressing these issues could have a major impact on future revenue. According to a recent McKinsey study, companies see an average 3% increase in revenue per customer for every one-point increase in net promoter score (NPS) for customer onboarding. A strong onboarding process sets your company up for success by clearly defining expectations for the relationship and aligning on processes and goals.

Digitizing rote, back-office procedures is an important first step. No-code workflow automation supports efficiency, standardization and consistency, reducing the number of tasks that fall through the cracks. More importantly, though, it empowers your customer success managers to focus on the client-facing work that they do best, enabling them to give each customer interaction a personal touch.

The purpose of onboarding — and why manual processes don’t cut it

An effective onboarding process does more than just get the customer set up to use your product or service. It sets expectations for the rest of the customer journey, from who will handle particular day-to-day tasks to how the customer will measure ROI. It transitions the customer from the sales phase to building a deeper, long-term customer relationship. Onboarding is also an opportunity to identify any risks that could become an issue at first renewal and plan accordingly.

Managing such a complex and multifaceted process manually isn’t scalable. Even if you’ve developed good processes and documented them properly, there will still be variations in how different employees execute tasks. People cut corners, skip steps and misinterpret information. The bigger you scale with a manual process, the more gaps and inconsistencies you’ll see.

If you look at customers who are less satisfied with your product or service, you can often trace their issues back to something that went wrong during onboarding. For example, maybe a decision maker on the client team keeps getting left out of the loop because no one realized that person needed access to the information. These are the kinds of gaps you can close by building a robust onboarding process supported by thoughtful no-code workflow automation.

3 tips for successfully enhancing your onboarding processes

Digitizing your onboarding process with smart workflows isn’t just a matter of sending an auto-generated email here or a web form there. You must consider the process holistically and look for opportunities to improve efficiency, support personalization or just standardize how a task is carried out. You may also need to adjust the steps in the process itself to support scalability and consistency. These steps require an investment of time and attention, but in the long run they pay great dividends in the form of happy customers, improved NPS scores and increased retention. Here’s how to get started.

1. Standardize and document your processes, but allow for flexibility.
To start upleveling your onboarding, first look at the entire process from closing the sale to first value. Ask hard questions to identify gaps in the process, and determine whether those gaps have manifested themselves in customer churn or misalignment in the past. From there, identify which steps in the onboarding process are non-negotiable must-haves, and which are nice to have — that is, you’ve learned through past experience that they make the customer relationship run a bit smoother. Some steps might be extremely specific to your company’s product or service and the information you need from customers.

No single onboarding process will fit every customer. But if you have a strong process already set up, it’s relatively easy to adapt to new needs. For example, at Catalytic we’ve adapted our existing onboarding to accommodate trial customers who may be testing out our product. Ultimately, documenting and digitizing your processes will make them more flexible, which will support your company’s long-term growth.

2.Look for opportunities to add a personal touch.
People often worry that customer experience automation will make communication feel too impersonal, making it harder to build lasting client relationships. But well-designed digitized processes can actually support a more personal way of doing business. You can improve efficiency a great deal just by building smart workflows for back-office processes like collecting signatures and entering data, which frees up customer success managers’ time to focus on answering customers’ questions and better understanding their needs. This lays the groundwork for stronger customer relationships, supporting retention and reducing churn.

In addition, no-code workflow automation can support personalized communication during onboarding. For example, when a deal closes you could use workflow automation to gather key information from the sales team, such as key stakeholders, expected business value, KPIs and communication preferences. Once that information is in your system, you can use it to auto-generate a welcome communication to the customer that shares which topics will be covered during onboarding, how long the process will take, which stakeholders from the customer side will be involved, and so on. For added value, the same data could be rolled up into a customer health formula your team uses to identify risks to the customer relationship. Customer success managers can then use those insights to tailor their communications with the client.

3. Build measurement points into the process.
Digitizing onboarding processes isn’t just about increasing efficiency — it’s also about listening to the customer. Don’t simply charge forward on execution, but build in checkpoints where you confirm the customer’s progress and also solicit feedback. Even if you’ve ticked every box on your onboarding checklist, you’ll never know whether the customer understood and absorbed everything unless you ask.

These checkpoints should capture the moments in time when you’re interacting with the customer and moving them to the next step of the customer journey. If your feedback loop or other metrics show you’re not on track with a particular customer, the customer success manager can proactively reach out to the customer and find out why — another way workflow automation can support a personal touch.

The power of no-code workflow automation

No-code workflow automation is a powerful tool for improving onboarding — and boosting revenue and customer satisfaction in the process. By standardizing and formalizing your onboarding steps, you’ll deliver a consistent experience to new customers and make sure you’re setting the relationship up for success. Digitization is a cornerstone of a robust, modern onboarding process.

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