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Tips on Creating a Repeatable Onboarding Process

When you have as many different types of customers as has, there needs to be some consistency in the onboarding process. Onboarding Team Manager Lisa Fox joins me in this episode to share how her team has created a repeatable onboarding process for customers. Plus, the two of us talk about… 

  • Obstacles in the onboarding process and how to overcome them

  • Three phases for a successful onboarding

  • Why every CS leader should have authenticity and empathy 

This blog post is based on a podcast hosted by Eric Crane and features Lisa Fox. To hear this episode and more like it, subscribe to Customer Success Leader on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Defining onboarding

I usually ask all my guests on the show how they would define customer success, but in this episode I kicked things off a little differently. I asked Lisa how she would define onboarding, and her answer did not disappoint:

Every organization really needs to first define, for themselves, what it means to be ‘on board’ with their particular platform. For her team over at that means empowering customers to understand the platform as a means to improving their way of working. Whatever her customers’ existing processes and workflows are, Lisa’s team sets out to help them see how it can be improved through the use of

Obstacles in the onboarding process and how to overcome them

Here are some of the obstacles Lisa mentions during our conversation, along with corresponding solutions:

  • Resource allocation and management

    Onboarding is really a collaborative effort between Lisa’s team and their customers. It’s easy to forget that the customer’s designated project managers, who oversee the transition onto, are not full-time onboarding or transition specialists in most cases. Those people have other full-time roles that they’re responsible for. There needs to be a designated person, though, and that person needs to have a solid understanding of the existing workflow that’s going to be built on the new platform.

  • Visibility and insight into onboarding progress

    Of course, small things like features not working when you’re in the middle of a live demonstration can be pretty frustrating, whether you’re watching or presenting. But what about assessing the health of an onboarding process? Lisa mentions that CSMs mostly rely on conversations with team members to gain this insight but it might be that a dashboard becomes available over time, where this information can be obtained at a glance.

Three phases for a successful onboarding

Successful onboarding, at scale, requires a process of its own. It’s not a complex process, but it’s a formula that works, and it’s one Lisa happily shared during our conversation. What’s great about this is that Lisa’s been part of the migration from what most companies will start off doing: an ad-hoc customer-specific onboarding and customer success approach.

Today, though, she shares that they have an ‘onboarding kit’ that they rely on:

  1. Work toward your customer understanding ‘how to think’ about building or working within your platform.

  2. Improve this initial build process by introducing integration and optimization.

  3. Equip your customer with the right resources that make it easy to roll it out to their team.

Why every CS leader should have authenticity and empathy

Everything about what a CSM does revolves around the customer. If you’re a CSM, reading this blog or listening to this episode, you already know that people can tell when you’re not being sincere. To lead a customer toward their version of success means that you need skills like empathy, focus, authenticity, flexibility and lateral thinking to immerse yourself in their world.

Their context and their journey basically becomes yours; you’re just living it through your business as a medium. You’ve got access to a specific set of resources and knowledge that’s meant to support your customer in different ways, to keep them on that path to what they define as success. For Lisa, authenticity and empathy are the key elements to help you come across as a real person to your customer, and they enable you to form that human connection that really ignites those ‘aha’ moments.

"The ability to really connect with someone and a desire to want to help them are crucial aspects to CS work." — Lisa Fox

In this episode, Lisa shares how her team created a successful, repeatable onboarding process for customers. Plus, we discuss:  

  • Obstacles in the onboarding process and how to overcome them

  • The 3 phases for a successful onboarding experience

  • Why every CS leader should have authenticity and empathy

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Podcast quote from Lisa Fox

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