A great deal of time, effort, and dollars are spent in the never-ending pursuit of new customers. Not as much attention is given to the period immediately after you acquire a new customer: the onboarding phase. Yet onboarding is your first chance to make a good impression, and a customer’s experience during onboarding sets the tone for the rest of the customer relationship.
How capably your business handles the critical onboarding period could be the difference between a loyal customer and another churn statistic. In fact, over two-thirds of SaaS companies have churn rates of over 5%, highlighting the importance of onboarding.
But successfully onboarding customers isn’t easy. Companies try to make it easier by creating detailed onboarding processes and in-house tools for their internal teams, spending a lot of effort only to be derailed by these common obstacles:
1 — Onboarding processes are unique and frequently changing
Companies have unique onboarding needs that are specific to their industry or product. For example, a financial services company may have certain “Know Your Customer” requirements in which an internal team must use data to verify the identity of a customer. Many B2B companies have implementation teams that are tasked with onboarding each new customer. An on-demand delivery service may have driver license verifications as part of onboarding.
In order to meet these unique needs, companies usually develop their own in-house onboarding tools for internal teams. For that on-demand delivery service, their engineers would build a tool to view, approve, and reject ID images that users had uploaded during registration. Although building these tools takes precious engineering resources away from other projects, these tools were absolutely necessary for the business to function.
Unfortunately, these tools also quickly became outdated and required a great deal of retooling. Let’s continue with our example on-demand delivery service, and say that they’re now starting to expand to new cities. All of a sudden, the tool that they had before to validate driver licenses now needs to be updated to accommodate different states, and certain features need to be adjusted to comply with local on-demand regulations. As your product, customers, and market continues to evolve over time, so too must your onboarding tools. This means that significant engineering resources must be dedicated to updating and maintaining onboarding tools on an on-going basis.
2 — Onboarding responsibilities are split across teams
Onboarding processes can be complicated, involving responsibilities split between several parties. Let’s use an HR software company as an example. For this company, onboarding a new customer means multiple internal teams working in coordination with the customer to transition existing HR, healthcare and payroll data into their systems. This complex process involves handoffs between salespeople, implementation managers, HR specialists, and the customer themselves. With so many people with different responsibilities involved in a complex process, it can be easy to drop the ball and create delays for the customer. These onboarding delays can make for a frustrating initial experience and eventually result in customer churn.
While other companies may not have as complex an onboarding procedure as our example, it’s still important to have a clear onboarding workflow with minimal silos and strong communication between teams. If teams don’t maintain clear responsibilities and procedures, this issue can get even worse as time progresses and onboarding processes continue to change.
3 — Lack of visibility into customer onboarding status
Simply put, you don’t know when (or why) customers are stuck. Because onboarding processes are complex and many teams can be involved, companies often have a hard time tracking which phase each new user is in, and what needs to be done next in order to move forward. In order to solve this, companies either develop custom tools to give visibility into onboarding, or use a solution like Google Sheets to track new users.
While Sheets may be attractive as it does not require engineering, using Sheets to track onboarding has one main limitation: onboarding data is often stored in your company’s databases and Google Sheets has no ability to work with that data. This means that using Sheets will be less efficient, as more effort is required to manually track onboarding statuses, and data in the Sheet is silo-ed away from other onboarding data in your databases.
Because of this, many companies end up developing custom tools that are able to work with onboarding data directly. These tools require engineering resources to develop initially, and more resources on an on-going basis to maintain and update. For most companies, these are heavy costs to bear and result in reduced engineering velocity on other key projects.
Solve your onboarding obstacles with Internal
Crafting an amazing onboarding experience really comes down to your teams having visibility into the data, using the right tools, and executing the right process. I want to spend a little time highlighting how Internal can make it easier for your teams to do exactly that.
Internal is a no-code platform enabling anyone to create custom internal tools, for onboarding or anything else. So you can create the onboarding tools that your company needs without the help of engineering. Internal connects directly to your databases as well, letting you provide much needed visibility into onboarding data, while also allowing you to incorporate Google Sheets data alongside it. Finally, Internal helps keep your team on track, no matter how complex your onboarding process may be, with its Tasks functionality.
With Internal, you can:
Provide visibility into onboarding data
Internal lets you instantly spin up tools to look at your data, so teams can easily track onboarding statuses for companies and employees. If you’re keeping some onboarding notes in Google Sheets, Internal lets you display and interact with your Sheets data alongside other data from your database(s).
Create any approval, verification or onboarding tool required
Any type of onboarding tool can be created easily within Internal. You can mix and match components like tables, forms, and buttons to make new tools, all without code or SQL. Internal lets you drag and drop columns, create relationships between data fields, and customize powerful tools with zero engineering effort.
Use Tasks to design efficient onboarding workflows
Keep your internal teams moving forward and codify your onboarding procedures so that nothing gets missed. Internal lets you create Tasks that are triggered when data changes within your database (such as a record being created or updated). This lets you create workflows for any relevant role (like an Implementation Manager) to complete their onboarding responsibilities as new users move forward in each onboarding stage, so that handoffs happen smoothly. You can also view any incomplete Tasks, and easily update Tasks when onboarding procedures change.
Manually create new user records
Sometimes, you may need to onboard a new user and your normal systems aren’t working (such as a sign-up portal being down). Internal can be used to create new record entries in your database (or via API), so you can keep moving forward no matter what.
No-code tools can help you better solve onboarding challenges, because they are faster to create and easier to update. If you’d like to see how Internal can be used to improve your customer onboarding process, schedule some time with us. Or sign up for our free trial and try it out yourself.