Whether you’re new to Customer Success or a veteran CSM, one of the biggest challenge has always been able to onboard your customers effectively. The first few interactions with your customers are usually the building block of a long-term relationship, and it is important to have a success plan in place to get the customers up and running.

In this article, we will highlight four important tips to ensure the continuous success and a healthy relationship between you and your customers.

Image source: https://success.mindtouch.com/Onboarding/Kick-off/001_Onboarding_at_a_glance

Image source: https://success.mindtouch.com/Onboarding/Kick-off/001_Onboarding_at_a_glance

 

First (Positive) Impression Matters

Your customers are inclined to judge the book by its cover during your first call or kick-off meeting. Hence, rest of the project is oftentimes determined by the first one minute of your conversation.

A positive attitude at the beginning would get you to make the best possible impression. Going into a deal with a positive attitude and passion to help will enable your customers to communicate more and build a special trust with you. Remember, your customers have 98 other things that they have to work on instead of listening to you talk.  Trust is one of the key aspects of customer success, as you’ll likely make them your champions and they’ll influence others in their decisions during upsell opportunities.

Set Success Criteria

Always propose a timeline and a list of success criteria for each client about when and how you would deliver value. Consider onboarding a service walk-through, which is a great way to get on the same page with your customers’ expectations and how they align with your solution. Mismanaging this expectation will definitely cause problems down the line.

Setting success criteria doesn’t have to be agreeing to everything the customers ask for.  This is one of the best times to push back to customers or reset expectations (e.g. clarify miscommunications) promised by the Sales team.  Also keep in mind that your customers have already committed to work with you and your product, so they want you to succeed too to prove that their investment is worthwhile.

Strategize with Cross-Functional Teams

Managing customers is an art. While you can try your best to set proper expectations and work to satisfy requirements, things usually don’t come together as planned. Strategizing with Sales and Product teams is a great way get more perspectives and avoid potential pitfalls. Gather all your team members, perform SWOT analysis and strategize how you can make the best use of creative synergy to win the hearts of your customers.

Strategizing with your team, on the other hand, also provides the handbook your team needs to be able to successfully deliver value and retain customers. You’re essentially empowering other teams to help you make your customers successful. Furthermore, as a team leader during customer onboarding, involving the cross-functional teams throughout the process will improve internal collaboration and a path to make other customers successful.

Keep At It

Your positive attitude and dedication to make your customers successful should be maintained throughout the process of delivering value. Customer’s success doesn’t mean you have to burn out.  In addition, keep in mind that onboarding is just first step in your customer’s journey.  It is important to plan a manageable timeline for delivery, setup weekly calls, and write status updates.  Communication is the most important job in any customer-facing role, and success of your customers depends on how well-informed they are in terms of your decisions to take them towards certain path.

The ultimate success of your customer is all within you control. The key is successful onboarding is effective communication while you set the expectations and success criteria with your customers.   Stay focused on your next success milestone to ensure that your customers derive the most out of the solutions that your company provides.

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