Chapter 5

Why you should have dedicated onboarding roles on your success team

This is a chapter from The Startup CEO’s Guide to Customer Success and Onboarding.

Common misconceptions:

🚫 Once I hire any customer success role, all my customer onboarding problems will be solved.

If you've invested in hiring your first customer success person, it's clear the customer experience is important to you. This experience is made up of multiple phases and touch-points throughout each customer's journey with your business. And ideally, this journey spans over many years to come.

Your first customer success person (and future team) is intended to guide customers through all of those phases to provide ongoing value and foster an environment for customers to eventually grow with your business.

Along the way, this person is also gathering valuable feedback to improve your product, your services, and your approach to customer success.

They are also building decks for business reviews. They are processing renewals. And they are following up with customer emails as they run between internal meetings. Oh, and they are onboarding all new customers.

They are expected to at least.

Even if you've hired someone with experience in customer onboarding, this is a lot for any one person to manage, especially along with all the context switching that's required to do it all well.

Onboarding is a critical phase in your customer journey. In our opinion, it's the most critical.

This chapter is intended to discuss *why* you should consider a dedicated onboarding role within your customer success organization and the added value this focus can bring.

We understand that budgets and needing to prioritize other departments are top of mind for you too. By all means, do what is needed for the stage your business is currently in.

When you are ready to further invest in a customer-facing role, here are some added benefits you can expect from adding a dedicated customer onboarding role, for both your customers and your business.

Customer benefits

  • lasting first impressions - a good onboarding experience is memorable and allows customers to more quickly see the full value of your product or service. Finding people who are passionate about training and educating customers will translate to the experience they offer your newest customers, setting the stage for a long-term relationship to blossom.
  • dedicated time - a dedicated role allows you to dedicate more time specifically to onboarding your customers. Being able to guarantee this dedicated time helps sales teams close deals by alleviating any fears prospects might have about needing to "learn how to use your service."
  • onboard more customers - more time dedicated to onboarding, with less time spent on other tasks, results in the ability to onboard more customers. In chapter 8, we discuss how to calculate the value of a dedicated onboarding role and share our recommendations on how much time to spend daily on onboarding tasks.

Business benefits

  • broader impact - allowing time for dedicated focus will also result in optimizing and improving your onboarding process faster. More time and a more efficient process results in more customers being retained and enabled to grow. Said differently, more revenue.
  • content creation - with more dedicated time, you can allow this person to help create content to advance your onboarding efforts. Turn answers to customer questions into best-practice guides, product tutorials, and help center articles, which you can then use for future customers proactively!
  • influencing other departments - more time spent onboarding customers means more time spent digging into their needs and gathering feedback. These insights allow you to collaborate with your sales, marketing, and product teams to ensure everyone is working towards said needs. This cross-departmental collaboration is how you really improve your customer experience.

In conclusion…

Investing in customer success and hiring your first team member is a HUGE win. This focused approach will result in your customers sticking around longer and growing their business with you.

Taking this a step further and having a dedicated customer onboarding role within that success strategy will amplify these efforts. Your onboarding manager will set customers up for initial success, while your customer success manager will ensure that success lasts well beyond onboarding. That partnership is why onboarding never ends.

Having experts, or specialization, within your success department allows you to ensure customers are getting the right support they need during the right times of their lifecycle with you.

This onboarding value calculator can help you visualize the potential value your onboarding efforts will have on your overall business.

Download the entire CEO's Guide to Customer Success

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