How to Scale Customer Success: Onboarding Automation as a Best Practice
When trying to understand how to scale customer success, keep in mind — your customer success department is the primary post-sale point of contact. They regularly interact with customers, which provides them with valuable insight into what users are asking about and experiencing with your offering. They may also be called upon to deliver some level of customer education along the way, teaching customers how to get the most out of your product.
Internal communication is key to conveying this useful information to other business areas. If the organization is well-aligned with customer needs, the customer success team acts as a critical intermediary for all client feedback, analysis, and insights into what to develop next. But, at some point, scaling this area becomes necessary, and the discussion of automation becomes essential, according to Annette Franz in her Forbes column: Evolving Your Customer Success Approach.
Onboarding process automation as a best practice can help customer success agents focus on value-added activities rather than time-consuming tasks. Among other benefits, this technology can help your organization streamline customer orientation and education. With the right solution, you can focus human interaction on what matters most and virtualize other components of the user journey.
To address time, cost, and efficiency issues and to ultimately scale customer success, you need a culture of collaboration, qualified employees, and advanced technological capability. A software solution specifically designed for external training can help you scale customer success through automation and streamline onboarding processes so your team members can add the most value to customers and create stronger connections with them.
Use Virtual Onboarding Training to Scale Customer Success
As mentioned above, customer onboarding and education are two phases of the user journey that can benefit from automation, so any company can have the means to scale customer success. A 2019 study by the Technology Services Training Association (TSIA) revealed the following insights when customer success and education work hand-in-hand:
- Customer success introduces training during the customer onboarding process the majority of the time (73%).
- The median year-over-year product subscription growth rate benefits from training when it is integrated into the customer success plan by 12%.
- With the training component included in the scorecard, there was a 13% increase in the median growth rate of product subscriptions year-over-year.
Moreover, a survey by McKinsey found that three-quarters of all respondents said their companies have already begun to automate business processes or plan to do so within the next year, and that automation needs to become a strategic priority across the organization in order to drive impact at scale.
Despite these facts, it is still common in many organizations for customer education and training departments to feel disconnected from other teams such as marketing, customer success, and IT. However, a best practice for organizational growth is to develop more cohesion among teams working toward a common goal — in this case, long term customer health.
In the best case scenario, the company’s culture revolves around collaboration, — including support, customer relationship managers, sales reps, and marketers — who work together to ensure that all new products and features accurately reflect customer needs and preferences.
If you can leverage input from all teams through a collaborative environment to create an online onboarding training course, everyone will receive the value back from it. You can then use the same process to launch new products and develop a schedule for new trainings that align with new launches. You do not need to wait to have every curriculum component ready, another best practice is to start by publishing course content as it becomes available. A leading learning management system (LMS) is your to-go tool to achieve this.
Using an LMS designed for external customer education, you can iterate on course creation, track course engagement, directly feed data from support tickets into course creation and updates, and change or repurpose content regularly as you evolve your education programming.
This process can significantly reduce customer success agents’ loads, enabling them to focus on more significant tasks to impact your business’ bottom line (such as building customer loyalty, and increasing NPS or CSAT scores), thereby scaling customer success.
Customer Education’s Role in Scaling Customer Success
Providing frictionless service and education is an ongoing challenge for many companies, as consumers expect seamless online and offline experiences from just about every brand. Automating certain tasks, however, can be challenging.
As customer bases grow, decision-makers find their existing resources may lack the specific features to keep customers informed, engaged, and interested. It becomes increasingly complicated to introduce new software versions, launch a new program, or even convert beginner tutorials to automated modules. Then there is the process of continually revising and updating as things change, as they always will.
Despite being broadly recognized as a critical component of customer success, customer onboarding is one of the most challenging processes for an organization to scale. The more customers you have, the harder it is to offer a consistently impactful first-time customer experience.
During the early onboarding stages, your customers are eager to get started with your product or service. It is an opportunity to demonstrate how your offering works, how it benefits them, and why they should feel confident in having chosen your product over your competitors. In the meantime, a growing number of CSMs spend more time on basic activities such as how to help customers log in or find the information they’re looking for.
At the same time, you can only obtain sustainable business growth through a well-honed customer success operation, of which customer onboarding is a crucial component. If you have customers and a product or service, you already have a customer onboarding system, regardless of whether you have a formal training program in place or not.
The best way to streamline and formalize your customer onboarding program is to develop virtual onboarding courses for your users that are served up automatically as part of an ongoing strategy, or curriculum. Partnering with a top LMS provider may be the solution to scale your customer success department through an automated onboarding program.
Take the LMS Leap
Companies that consider onboarding as an integrated and systematic process directly impacting customer success are better positioned for long-term product adoption than those that view onboarding as a one-time point of contact for getting users started. A successful onboarding program makes each customer feel cared for and prioritized, as they know your company is devoting resources to help them succeed with your product.
You should always keep the customer journey in mind when designing your product, taking into account what new users need to be successful. Similarly, you should be prepared to make repeated iterations as you evaluate your customer education program and continue to add value to it over time. What is the best way for you to share your knowledge? What formats work best for your customers? Is it possible to ensure an engaging experience from start to finish? Do you need to segment the learning experience depending on the customer?
The award-winning customer training solution from Skilljar helps you better onboard, engage, and retain your customers and partners. We provide a cloud learning management system, so it is easy for you to create courses, distribute them to web and mobile devices, and track learner progress.
You can use Skilljar to scale your customer success efforts, improve your onboarding process, reduce support costs over time, and improve overall customer satisfaction. Ready to find out how the leading learning management system can help you meet your growth goals? Request a demo now.