How hurdles helped me make my onboarding better

I like to celebrate the little things during customer onboarding. And if you don't know what you can celebrate, here's my twist on it.
Time to value

I have to admit: I was never a big fan of hurdles and track racing. I always had this fear of falling over one of them, in front of the rest of my class.

But imagine how bad it would be if you’re running a track, unsuspectingly – and suddenly a massive hurdle pops up out of nowhere. And knocks you off your feet.

That’s how our customers can feel during onboarding as well.

We’ve promised them this shiny new world – and hopefully got them super excited about starting their journey with us. And all these hurdles pop up.

But there’s a couple of simple tactics we can implement to prevent that from happening.

Success looks different for every customer

You’ve heard it before: Success looks different for every customer. Not every customer is after the same success outcomes! And we need to make sure we understand their ideal success outcome beforehand.

That’s why a good handover with the sales department is so crucial.

But it’s not just that the desired outcome might be different. The way there might also differ!

Thus one of the first things for every customer onboarding needs to be a clear definition of the track: What’s the outcome they want to go after? What are the milestones, the hurdles they need to pass? (You can also use our free Success Plan Canvas to plan these things)

I like to differentiate the hurdles into two categories:

  • Which of them require end user training?
  • Which of them require alignment within our customer’s organization?

So once we understand the hurdles, and what they require, we can tell how much time it will take to get there. And sometimes, that’s more like a marathon than a sprint!

I always refer back to the hurdles in follow-up calls or emails, in order to remind my customer of them and set realistic expectations.

The first hurdle to cross: The AHA moment

Many CSMs that I talk to see the AHA moment as this abstract, all-encompassing moment where everything is suddenly well.

For me, the AHA moment is the very first BIG hurdle to take. It’s the moment where they realize that all the onboarding steps will be worth it, and that our solutions is a good fit for them.

In the AHA moment, your customer realizes the true value of your solution. That doesn’t mean they got to their desired outcome yet. But they made the first big step.

So I want to leave you with these three questions to discuss at the beginning of every onboarding:

  • What is the success outcome our customer is after?
  • What is the first AHA moment we need to take to get there?
  • What are the hurdles on the way, and how much time will they take to solve?

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