The Toronto Customer Success Executive Breakfast is a forum whereby local industry leaders get together over breakfast to discuss the still young and rapidly evolving field of Customer Success.
Co-hosted by Natasha Narayan and myself, and Sponsored by Gainsight, senior executives in the field of Customer Success are invited to share their knowledge and expertise amongst their peer group in an intimate and highly interactive setting.
The breakfast is an opportunity for these leaders in Customer Success to convene, exchange ideas and further define industry best practices.
On the docket at this past week’s Executive Breakfast was the topic of Onboarding, followed by a very engaged discussion amongst the executives about how critical this phase is for long term customer success and retention.
Star Hofer, Director of Customer Success at eCompliance shared the company’s tale of transformation and how a concerted change effort brought about a 53% decrease in the length of time it took to onboard customers.
In a little over seven months the team, who quadrupled in size through the course of the transformation, achieved their results by:
Creating synergy across Customer Success
Drafting first Onboarding journey
Drafting new Onboarding experiences
Piloting new journey with a prospect
Educating the entire eCompliance team on the new Onboarding
Creating compensation plans to drive behaviour
Including metrics on the board deck
The journey mapping experience, the first step of the change initiative, proved to be very eye opening for the team.
It revealed that internally, people were not quite sure what a customer was experiencing or needed during onboarding, and that the team was not really sure what their own internal processes were to support the customer.
It highlighted that a lot of current work effort was very reactive and ad-hoc.
With this appreciation in hand, the team set off to define its mission, the new onboarding process and the ideal team to support that mission, along with establishing what the current metrics were for benchmarking purposes later.
The new onboarding process was piloted a few times with new prospects and then, armed with data from the results, taken back to various parts of the organization for their feedback and more importantly to evoke buy-in and change management.
Star explained that swift execution of the process with all new prospects and later, existing customers, was crucial to ensure that the ideas and theory were operationalized quickly otherwise the required change within the company would not have occurred.
Establishing new compensation plans as well as celebrating successes along the way of this transformation were key to facilitating speedy execution.
The results being between 50% to 59% reduction in five metrics the team used to measure various components of onboarding, with the overall time to onboard customers being reduced by 53%.
The advice for slashing Onboarding Time?
The advice Star had for the members of the group were to:
Journey Map (if she could do a redo, Star would have journey mapped sooner!)
Define a Mission and Vision
Get buy-in early
Execute, execute, execute
Use the excitement to keep the team motivated and engaged
Learn and adapt based on what’s working or not
A lively discussion ensued about the merits of a strong onboarding program, the considerations around resourcing for onboarding as well as other activities along the customer journey, and how Customer Success can help drive product changes that will allow for better adoption.