Customer onboarding is often an underrated task, in terms of both the resources it requires and how important it is within the customer lifecycle. It’s the first deeply engaged interaction your customers have with you once the sales team closes the deal.
It’s a fairly universal problem, too. Customer onboarding is too often a slow, tedious, manual process. And the speed—or lack thereof—is one thing, but manual processes are vectors for human error, too. There’s hardly anything more embarrassing than taking too long to complete the onboarding process only to realize that you have a bunch of silly mistakes to deal with.
Customer onboarding is an area where maximizing efficiency and automating mundane tasks can make a big impact. The list of metrics associated with customer onboarding is a little stunning when you think about it: customer churn, customer satisfaction scores, time to value (TTV), lifetime value (LTV), customer engagement, customer service costs, and trial conversions and upsells. Much of it starts with onboarding.
A better way to do customer onboarding
Customer onboarding doesn’t have to be a pain point or a liability, though. Instead, you can make it a strength of your overall customer experience using Tonkean’s no-code process automation platform.
Using no-code modules, your customer operations team can create bespoke software solutions dedicated to particular workflows, tasks, and communications.
For example, to stay a step ahead of the whole process, the sales team should know when to bring in the implementation team. Tonkean makes this incredibly easy. Let’s say you’re in Salesforce, and as soon as the sales rep wins a deal, a Tonkean module can automatically send the AE a checklist to ensure all the pertinent knowledge gets transferred. When they fill out the form, the Customer Experience team is automatically notified.
You can also automatically generate a SOW, send a sales engineer a questionnaire, or ask for help with scoping–all within Salesforce, Drive, and Slack, but seamlessly connected by Tonkean.
And you can do this no matter your application environment. The specifics of customer onboarding are different for every organization. Instead of forcing all of your new customers into a particular or narrow set of applications and interfaces, Tonkean does the opposite: It allows you to customize the customer onboarding experience however it best fits your organization, using the apps your customers and internal teams already use.
All of that communication, information-sharing, and question-asking happens before the new customer is even aware of it. By the time they’re back from lunch, the customer onboarding process is already well underway. That absence of the typical onboarding-related friction and headache can help increase your average TTV and reduce churn rates.
But let’s back up. At this point in the customer onboarding process, the sales team probably wants to hand things off to the customer success team. This is one of those tasks that is perfectly organic in the sense that the two teams have separate, clear, and sequential roles to play, but now they need to transfer information from one brain to another—and that can be tricky. The sales team picks up myriad objective and subjective details in the course of landing a deal, and the customer success team needs all of it.
There can be a lot of steps to a clean handoff, from scheduling a meeting with the CS team to creating documents to tracking it all. But you can build Tonkean modules that serve to automate the whole chain of tasks, nearly simultaneously.
When the deal is won, for example, one module can send you a form to fill out to create an onboarding plan with Drive documents, while another module automatically creates a project template in Asana, while yet another module reaches out to stakeholders to schedule a kickoff call.
The behind-the-scenes task of provisioning accounts for new customers is usually a thankless one, and the IT folks doing that work usually get attention only if it’s not done as fast as others want it or if there are errors getting customers set up or logged in.
One way to avoid speed bumps in the provisioning process is to automate the workflow. Not only does that reduce manual efforts by sending reminders and prompts to the people setting everything up, it also provides a comprehensive list of all the steps involved and related tracking.
It’s impossible to forget to add a new user to your organization in Jira, for example, because the Create Support Accounts module won’t allow it to fall through the cracks. (The same module populates key customer information from Salesforce, which makes the process even easier and less prone to human error.)
Tonkean modules can also automatically provision customer accounts in applications like Zendesk and then notify the account team when it’s done.
Proactive training and certification
CS teams have internalized the idea that customer success is proactive, not reactive. Broadly, they do that by maintaining a relationship with the customer and are always looking for ways to give them increased value. Providing (proactive, personalized) training and certification opportunities is one way to do that.
You can use a Tonkean module to automatically create a training curriculum for a customer. Simply check a box in Salesforce to say that a given customer is ready for training, and the module will create the curriculum and share it from, for example, Drive documents. It will even follow up after a week if there’s no activity.
Tonkean gives you a dashboard of all customers in the training program, actually, showing you their respective progress at a glance, so you can do any manual outreach you want, too. And if the customer is stuck, the CS team will get a notification.
When they make it through the training, another module will automatically generate a personalized certificate.
Stay on top
Although a lot of customer success involves communication with customers, much of the work is done internally. For example, you want to collect and organize all pertinent documents, common questions, and other knowledge. This is often quite a chore, because in addition to obvious things like training documents and forms, knowledge percolates through chat messages in Slack or Microsoft Teams.
The disparate sources need a single source of truth that the whole team shares; that’s where Tonkean can be a tremendous help. For instance, if a team member needs an implementation document template, they can ask in chat. The chatbot will either serve up the needed document from the module’s library, or it will ask the wider team for help. Regardless, when there’s a correct response, the chatbot will use NLP to take note so that the next time the same question shows up, it “knows” the answer.
Another module offers up answers to FAQs in chat. Team members can ask questions using plain English, like “A prospective customer would like to extend their trial. How do I do this?” If the answer is in the knowledge base, the chatbot will serve up the answer. If not, it will keep looking or ask in other Slack channels to see if a human can provide the answer.
And of course, you need to track metrics and KPIs related to customer success. Tonkean has modules for tools to help you do this, like Gong Call Monitoring and Active Implementation Tracking. A dashboard shows you the status and progress of whatever you need, and Tonkean will flag your team if there are any anomalies detected.
Here’s the bigger thing to know: This is just a sample of the modules and blueprints Tonkean already has. CS ops teams can create their own no-code Tonkean modules, tailored to the specifics and contexts of their organization, customers, and workflows.