In our recent webinar, The Better Way to Onboard Customers, onboarding experts from across the Skilljar team came together to discuss the evolution of the onboarding process at Skilljar and the key components that make that process successful for customers of all different industries, sizes, and training maturity. 

Further, as many organizations increase their focus on Customer Success and customer retention in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to share how onboarding can help address some recurring needs like contact turnover and shifting priorities. 

The Skilljar Onboarding Methodology: 3 Components

After defining what onboarding is and how we at Skilljar view it a little differently than other organizations, our panel jumped into the Skilljar methodology for great onboarding, consisting of three key features. Onboarding must be: 

  1. Aligned with the customer journey
  2. Grounded in expectation setting
  3. Multichannel

Let’s dig a little further into each of these features.

Align Onboarding with the Customer Journey

While defining program milestones has long been a staple of the onboarding process, over the past several years, the Skilljar team has iterated on our approach, adding in additional steps that more closely mirror the customer experience. 

In the past, these milestones consisted broadly of Onboarding (0-45 days), Soft Launch (45-60 days), and then Launch & Growth (60-90 days). Sara Robba, Director of Customer Success at Skilljar, and Alex Calvert, Manager of Customer Implementation at Skilljar, explained how this model has changed, as you can see in the diagram below. 

Implementation Process

In the past year, Alex has pared this model down even further, identifying the key milestones that are specific to the Implementation team, including how to most smoothly make the transition from Sales, to Implementation, to Customer Success. Alex further elucidated the need for a mutual understanding of success, recommending the use of Backwards Design, the process by which you determine where you want to end up, and then working backwards to make that end point happen successfully.   

And while the process varies for every organization, it’s important to remember that onboarding should align with where each customer is in their journey, particularly as it relates to the maturity of their existing training program.

Expectation Setting

While defining the pertinent milestones is a critical first step, we also realized that setting the proper expectations for new customers is another important component of onboarding. This starts with perfecting the Sales-Customer Success handoff, ensuring that the Implementation and Customer Success teams are well-equipped with a holistic understanding of where the customer is starting, what they are looking for, and what their timeline looks like. 

This internal handoff works in tandem with customer-facing assets that help customers understand what they can expect from the onboarding process and what resources they have at their disposal to support them. At Skilljar, these resources include an Implementation Guide, a project plan, access to Skilljar Academy, and more. 

Multichannel Engagement

The last component of an effective onboarding process is multichannel engagement. We all learn and absorb information differently and that’s why it’s crucially important that onboarding resources are also varied. Whether it’s using Quick Tips videos, 1:1 meetings, eBooks, webinars, and/or a community forum, ensuring that onboarding information is accessible to everyone is what will ultimately drive the greatest engagement and success with your product. 

The path to Skilljar’s onboarding methodology has certainly been a winding one, but it’s a process that is based on our experiences working with hundreds of customers, each with their own unique needs and challenges. 

To learn more about Skilljar’s onboarding methodology, including some lessons we’ve learned over the years, you can view the webinar on-demand here

We have also made an extended Q&A session available in Skilljar Academy here. Check it out to find specific questions our attendees asked on the live webinar, and hear the answers from our team.