He gave me a ton of advice on building a process that’s robust enough to scale with a rapidly growing company (I knew he’d have answers from his time at Booking.com and Sprout Social!) It was a good convo, and worth sharing with you.
Instead of making you listen to the full 60-minutes (and my stupid questions) I jotted down the spark notes of our conversation.
Documenting your high-touch customer onboarding process is the best way to optimize it
And your metrics will love you for it.
But for some reason it’s common for the all important plan to make customers successful to live between a few people’s heads and a mish mash of spreadsheets.
A well documented process is a process you can optimize.
Here’s the formula:
Process documentation + iteration = repeatably successful onboarding
Process documentation = We’re writing down all the internal tasks, content and customer actions that we expect to happen during our high-touch onboarding plan.
Iteration = When we execute our onboarding plan with customers and find a bottleneck - we can check that a) the documentation was followed and b) if we should update the documentation to improve the process based on our learning.
Now everyone knows the plan to make customers successful and can quickly identify bottlenecks when a customer get off track.
As Mathew Watters from Human Predictions put it:
“whether it’s a customer tomorrow, six months in the future a year from now, we know exactly what we’re going to do to keep them and make sure they’re successful. And it doesn’t matter who’s doing it because it’s laid out for everybody. Step-by-step, there’s this mutual transparency between all of our teams and our customers on: here’s what we’re going to do for you. And here’s when we’re going to do it.”
If you don’t have a documented onboarding process, you’re never ever going to optimize it, you’re going to do the same shit forever. Good or bad.
And worst, you don’t know where it’s good or bad.
If you have your high-touch onboarding documented you can find and address gaps in the process.
Here are 3 easy ways to start documenting your own customer onboarding process:
- Define what onboarding means at your company
- Grab a friend or co-worker and try to onboard them
- Record everything you’re talking about - then write it down
Now you have the outline of the phases and steps in your onboarding process you can start to build some structure.
- What are the customers goals and desired outcomes? Where will they be documented from sales or discovery calls?
- What is the timeline for how we are going to achieve those things?
- What are the two or three value points you need to cover initially? How will you cover those? On a call? With homework?
We put together an onboarding and implementation template you can download and use to start documenting your own process.
Remember, a documented onboarding process is a scalable onboarding process - a playbook that sets you up to hire and scale the team as you grow.
And when your customers experience your clear process that’s focused on solving their problems they’ll keep comin’ back for more.