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Read the Part I of this article, if you haven’t already.
OK, so a good onboarding experience is important for driving customer towards eventual value realisation. How should a CSM approach onboarding?
Well, for starters, most companies may have set onboarding practices, depending on the product and solutions they offer. For instance, I experienced two or may be three different ways of onboarding customers over the years.
In my initial years as a CSM, I was the primary contact for the entire onboarding process, post the customer introduction. I was responsible for taking the customer through the,
- The implementation process
- Product training – User training, which involved me taking the customer through the administration, and end user training.
And, of course the point for the customer with regards to the account itself, along with my sales colleague.
Eventually this process was moved to solutions team (a solution architect), who was responsible for the pre-sales solution set-ups, demos and eventual user training. The content platform was relatively easy to set up. And, as an e learning content provider, the most important responsibility for me as a CSM, was to ensure the learning content adoption – the product they sold.
In my current organisation, given the complexity of the product, and the implementation, the onboarding is quite different. The implementation of the product requires time and is always carried out by System Integrators. Here, onboarding the customer from a platform provider is different. The customer is onboarded by providing the details of various processes, the resources available to assist the customer in their journey, educating the customer regarding the updates and how to navigate the same. Ensuring the customer is transitioned in to the practice and familiarising with various resources is the key, in onboarding customers in this case.
Now, let us take the example of Netflix (the OTT streaming variant, not DVD rental) – were any of us really onboarded? Well, we were, if we go back to the first time we started using it. Netflix used the personalisation method, where they asked us about our preferred genre. We then received a list of movies from the selected genre for us to watch. Eventually, it started to use its algorithms to recommend us movies. This is also a kind of onboarding, if you think about it, isn’t it?
As you notice, the onboarding process itself is very different each time. However, in every case the objective is to provide the customer a smooth start to their journey. The bottom line is, the objective should always be to ensure customer has a long lasting, memorable, positive experience in being the customer. This is the stepping stone to delivering the value or in other words helping customer receive the desired outcome. How short, how long, what modes, delivery methods, will depend on the product being offered.
In my opinion, during the sales hand-off or handshake, you must try to understand about the customer, the POC(s) whom you would be working with, any thing specific the sales colleague had experienced with the POC(s) and so on. For instance, your sales colleague could provide you with information like the person(s) working with are more data oriented, or detail oriented, or are ambitious or similar. Tailoring your onboarding messaging to suit these small bits, could be a great start. This will help in creating that impression you are looking for. In any case, ensure the customer is least inconvenienced during the initial stages. In fact, if you have a long, slightly difficult sales process, it becomes all the more important for this.
In the next article, I will try to outline a framework for onboarding process, in case you are still trying to develop one. Stay Tuned!
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