The changes that are brought forth with technology have forced many businesses to implement digital transformation. Companies are not only able to streamline all their processes through digitalization, but also explore new avenues of growth. One such major change that has come into the customer success industry is digital onboarding.
Customer success industry, being new, has not spent a large amount of time on non-digital platforms. Its inception and evolution have occurred simultaneously with the growth of digitalization in the modern world. Hence, to say that the customer success industry is going through the phase of digitization would be wrong. But yes, the pandemic has made it imperative even for the non-automated processes to get digitized in the customer success realm.
So, let’s look into this very important concept that is hovering over the CS space these days more often than not.
What is Digital Onboarding?
Onboarding is the phase when a customer gets started on using the product of the company for the first time. All the processes that are needed to get them started fall under the category of onboarding. And when all these processes are executed through technology without the least of manual intervention, it is called digital onboarding.
So, what are these processes and how does a company execute them digitally. We will look into it in detail in this blog.
A typical onboarding phase would include the following processes:
- Capturing customer details
- Customer training
- Introduction of customer with CSM
- Product configuration
- Product integration with customer’s technological environment
- Walk through of the product
- Creating roadmap of the customer goals
When your business scales, you have to execute all of the above processes remotely. And in most of the other cases, customers must be able to avail self-service. In either case, when the process runs without the dependency on physical interaction between company’s representative and customer, the digital onboarding would be successful.
Benefits of Digital Onboarding
It has many benefits for the companies ranging from scalability to making their onboarding more efficient. The cost benefit is also something to be considered majorly while implementing this. And there is much more. So, let’s understand these benefits briefly.
Streamlined and efficient process
This is the major advantage for any digital process. When you set up the process digitally, you leave a little gap for it to go out of track. Every step can be tested and implemented to guide the customer through all the formalities needed in onboarding. The overall onboarding process would require end to end testing to implement the most efficient version. But once done, it would work seamlessly for a long period of time.
More control and less space for mistakes
With everything online, you can design the onboarding form how so ever you want it. Just a minor change would be required in the code to change anything related to information or rules in the form. And once you implement that change in the source code, it will be immediately available to all your new clients. This gives you more control over your onboarding process and the implementation time is negligible.
Once you implement the process online, there is no limit to the number of clients you can cater to. But imagine how many employees would be needed if you had to physically onboard 10,000 clients? Exactly, a lot. And that comes with a huge cost too. That is where the digital onboarding process has a major advantage. It gives you scalability with least amount of initial investment required when compared to the extent of business you can generate.
Customers gain more control
These days customers are happier when you leave them on their own for following a process. Provided, your online process must be easy to follow. Through digital onboarding, they can complete all the steps at their own pace. They can also repeat a process to get a deeper understanding of the product, e.g. replaying the product tutorial. This allows them greater freedom and enables their greater immersion into the brand.
How to implement digital onboarding?
Online onboarding might sound easy, especially after looking into the benefits above, but it needs equal amount of precautions to implement. When done incorrectly, it can leave you with unfavorable outcomes. In fact, 40% of banking customers leave a company during the onboarding phase itself. But with due precautions and right steps, you can give a great customer experience during onboarding digitally. So, let’s look at a few things to keep in mind while implementing this process.
Create an intuitive onboarding solution
Prospects don’t usually want to take the burden of downloading the company’s app like the existing customers. They want a smooth and easy experience of onboarding. Creating a mobile friendly web app would help a great deal for such customers. Just sending the link of the web app on their mobile and guiding them intuitively through the initial process would fetch great customer delight.
Provide online training program
There should be a proper training program you must build for your new customers. This program should have different modules which a customer must learn progressively. They should be able to pause, replay, and proceed according to their own pace. They should have a lifetime access to these tutorials to refer at any point of time in their customer journey.
Online monitoring for effective engagement
Each stage a customer is passing through must be monitored by the customer success manager (CSM). This monitoring is mostly done through a customer success platform. And when the time is appropriate, a right communication must be sent to the customer. For example, when the customer has completed their training, a CSM must know about it through a digital onboarding platform. Then they must shoot an email to the customers to either introduce themselves or guide them about what is next.
Auto-configuration of the product
Based on the client’s requirements, there should be a mechanism for the auto-configuration of the product. They should be able to configure it intuitively through the website. The integration with their own technical environment should also be seamless. All the necessary APIs should be available for the major tools that companies use for different divisions.
Onboarding is the phase that starts post sales and lasts until the customer starts realizing value. Hence, time to value is an important concept to look into during onboarding. Onboarding is the time when all the promises made by sales and marketing teams are put into test. No matter how great your product is, but if your onboarding process is flawed, it would be hard to retain your customers.18
Different companies have different processes for onboarding. The best practice for digital onboarding is to first put down all the physical processes on paper and then transform each of the use cases into digital solutions. With proper diligence and multiple testing, your online onboarding should work seamlessly and fetch you greater rewards of the digital world.
Rakhin has over 10 years of experience driving business development and client services. In his prior roles, he stayed close to customers to understand their requirements and help them achieve their business goals. He is passionate about customer success.
Published December 03, 2020, Updated March 02, 2023