Onboarding is one of the most critical yet vulnerable phases in the customer lifecycle. Your customer will want to see positive business impact and value of using your solution in a timely manner, which will decide if they stay with your product.

Once a customer feels disappointed during onboarding, it's hard to reverse this first impression. Therefore, it is important that you invest in ensuring that your on-boarding process is as smooth and effective as possible and that you can win your customer over within the shortest possible period of time.

For any Customer Success organization, common onboarding practices usually involve mapping out the ideal onboarding “path-to-value”; tracking key milestones along this “path-to-value” that customers are expected to achieve within a specific timeframe; as well as continuously refining the processes to achieve faster time-to-value for your customers and in turn faster time-to-recurring-revenue for your organization.

In order to develop an onboarding process that can be improved with actionable insights over time, we recommend the below five essential steps:

1. Map Out Ideal “Path to Success”

Understand what successfully onboarded customers look like - what features they’ve used that others didn’t, which areas of the product they spent the most time in, etc.

Map out your best understanding of an ideal “path to success” for your onboarding customers, which includes key milestones they are expected to achieve within a specific timeframe.

2. Track Key Milestones

Leverage workflow and rule-based alerts to track if customers are heading off course, which allows for timely and proactive outreach to these customers to save potential churn.

3. Identify Why Customers Succeed

Compare successful customers with those who are struggling and see if product or process changes can help improve customer adoption and health, and determine what features drive engagement versus those that need improvement.

Moreover, by understanding the factors that affect success within these segments, you are empowered to create customized action plans that can more effectively address your customers’ specific needs or issues.

4. Refine the Process

Refine your onboarding process and measure the impact of these changes on your desired outcomes - whether it has improved customer engagement, health, or feature adoption?

The ability to answer these questions will empower you with the right information to continue improving your on-boarding process, which will lead to a higher onboarding success rate.

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5. Set Specific Goals

Set specific Customer Success process goals - either at the team or individual level - such as “% of customers successfully onboarded”, “days to onboard”, “avg. health score”, “feature adoption level”, “activity ranks”, etc.; and leverage Natero’s advanced analytic functions to keep measuring and driving continuous improvements in your onboarding practices to achieve these goals.