Onboarding Sets the Tone

Jeff Wilshire
May 10, 2021

We all hear how exceptional customer “onboarding” can be a gamechanger for businesses. But why do so many companies continue to struggle in this area?

Over 90% of customers feel the companies they buy from “could do better” when it comes to onboarding new users/customers (wyzowl).

Setting the tone.

Onboarding sounds simple enough, but in the technology world it means getting new users trained and up to speed on new platforms, solutions, features, and functionality. As a service provider, this often means you need to be onboarded before you can effectively onboard your customers. Or, you may prefer that your vendors conduct the customer onboarding on your behalf. Either way, it’s a critical experience that can set the tone for the relationship you have with your customers. First impressions matter, and if the onboarding experience is poor many customers will begin to experience buyer’s remorse... or even worse, churn. Effective onboarding also leads to faster time-to-value and higher product utilization. With one of the top reasons for client churn being product underutilization, getting the client fully engaged early with new technology is a good thing. Helping them achieve their first success with your product is golden.

31% of customers churn a product because it is underutilized. (Unbounce)

For resource efficiencies, most vendors utilize online learning platforms, videos, etutorials, and a host of digital “self-help” tools to move a new customer through the onboarding process. These tools should be engaging, straightforward, and sequential in how they move a new user towards full functionality. The entire onboarding process should be clear, with learning objectives stated for each module. For example, what should new customers expect after they complete onboarding or portions thereof?

With most research showing video as the onboarding tool of choice, you want to make sure your vendors are incorporating video as part of the total learning experience.

But there’s more to consider.

While digital tools can be quite effective, you definitely don’t want to overlook the human element. Technology vendors that have people dedicated to the onboarding process can do wonders for your business. Many vendors now have employees in “Partner Success” roles that are focused solely on the success of partners and their customers. “Partner success” adds an additional level of accountability for the vendor, and places a premium on the onboarding experience for service providers.

As a service provider, you need your onboarding experience to go beyond the technology. You want to ensure that you can effectively position and sell the product to additional customers, and provide them ongoing support - matching your specific business model. Some vendors take it a step further by offering partner certification programs (onboarding on steroids). These programs are perfect for partners that want to be an expert on the technology while also providing ongoing customer and technical support.

Being set up for success.

Make sure your vendors deliver a best-in-class onboarding experience. As a valued partner, you deserve the white glove treatment and should be comfortable with every aspect of onboarding. Whether you onboard your customers directly or rely on the vendor - make sure it’s the best experience for your customers.

Onboarding not only sets the tone for your relationship with the vendor - but also the relationship you have with your customers. Make onboarding a game changer for your business. Nothing is better than having a client brag about the experience to other potential customers.

Best-in-class onboarding WILL help set you apart from your competition in the IT service industry.

To learn more about the onboarding experience and what you should expect from your technology partners, please download our ebook - Do Your Vendors Have Your Back?.