Why Use Mutual Action Plans For Customer Onboarding

I sat down with Shareil who runs Customer Success at Arrows to hear his case for mutual action plans as a core component of any high-touch customer onboarding playbook.

Stuart Balcombe

January 13, 2022

3 minutes

How many times have you signed up for a new product with high-hopes for how it will help you achieve your goals only to find yourself stuck a week later wondering “What’s next?”

This week I sat down with Shareil who runs Customer Success at Arrows to hear his case for mutual action plans as a core component of any high-touch customer onboarding playbook.

Here’s the key takeaways from our conversation – split into bite sized chunks all the way from what a mutual plan is to how to measure it’s impact.

What is a mutual action plan?

At its core a mutual action plan is a collaboration space.

It tells all parties involved – you – your customers – and your internal teams:

  • Who is responsible for what.
  • When they are responsible for it.
  • What has been done and what is left to do.

So whether you call it an onboarding plan, an implementation plan, a success plan, a project plan, or any other name. It’s a timeline and mutual action plan.

Mutual because it emphasizes it’s more than any one individual person’s responsibility and it’s actually a place where collaboration should be happening.

A mutual action plan lays out the foundational steps that moves you and your customers from point A to point B in any phase of the journey to success.

When should I use a mutual action plan?

TL;DR – The sooner the better.

A mutual action plan helps document your customer experience and as you use it will highlight the potential gaps or breakpoints in your processes.

Gaps and friction points in the experience will always exist. And while a mutual action plan won’t solve for them directly. The plan will help ensure the customer is not feeling lost and unsupported as they have a clear understanding where they are at in the process and who is responsible for the next step.

The action plan is to remind them that if we do these things together, and if we do them in a certain amount of time, we will help you achieve the goals that you have.

The plan should actually sit along the customer journey as a reminder of what the path to success looks like for them and set expectations, but also internally, it really helps you and your team to understand where the gaps are and why they might be happening.

How many mutual action plans should I have?

If you do onboarding really well, you should be closing that stage of the journey and moving them onto the next stage, whether that’s adopting the product to growing in the product, renewing the product or referring your product.

Each stage can have it’s own mutual action plan.

By design you are now creating an environment where the function of onboarding, or getting customers to the next aha moments has a discrete roadmap. When one cycle is complete the next can begin.

How can I measure the impact of my mutual action plan?

Once you have documented and rolled out a mutual action plan you can measure the time and frequency at which customers complete each task, plan, and phase.

Once you have established an internal baseline you can also start to segment by customer type to identify which customer segments make faster or more reliable progress to their goals.

Over time you can monitor the progress of customers through your plans relative to the baseline to:

1/ Identify common bottlenecks and points of confusion to address 2/ Identify the customer segments that achieve their goals fastest and most reliably

Armed with this information, you can start to experiment and make incremental improvements to improve your own process and help more people be successful and repeatedly get to moments of value.

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