Customer Onboarding Success Secret: Don’t Overwhelm Customers

I’ve said this before, but it is worth repeating; Customer Success is not limited to one part of the customer lifecycle, and Customer Success Management is not limited to simply helping the customer get up and running at first or to save them from churning later.

Rather, when a company has Customer Success as their operating model, they see every aspect of the customer lifecycle and every milestone of the customer journey as just as important as the rest.

In this article I tackle one of the biggest problems I see in Customer Onboarding. It’s a problem that isn’t caused by neglecting the customer… in fact, it’s caused by the exact opposite: overwhelming the customer.

Let’s explore this, shall we?

Most of the time, you overwhelm our customers.

You overwhelm your new users, but it’s not because you’re being negative or doing anything wrong. In fact, you’re probably trying to help.

You’re probably saying, “I want to give my customer freedom. I want to let them do anything. I want to give them everything because I want to over deliver,” and none of that is coming from a place of being negative.

But it ends up being a negative experience for the customer because they’re overwhelmed.

They don’t know what to do.

They don’t know how to get started.

In such cases, you misunderstand where you exist in their world right from the beginning.

When you first have a relationship with the customer or first have a relationship with a particular user, you’re not necessarily the center of their universe yet, and you need to be honest about that.

You need to understand that; you need to be clear on that so that you can figure out how to become the center of their universe at some point.

But if you don’t understand that, and you just assume from the very beginning that you are everything to them, you’re probably not going to become anything to them.

That’s why I say the seeds of churn are planted early, and that happens sometimes in the sales process and sometimes in marketing, but most of the time, it happens in the onboarding process.

It’s easy to assume the seeds of churn are planted from neglect… but to extend that analogy, you can also kill plants by overwatering or overfeeding.

So, you need to get really clear on what it’s going to take to get the customer to be successful.

That’s why I say, figure out what onboarded means. Draw that line in the sand. That’s your first success milestone.

Then, figure out what has to happen to get them there, and then, just operationalize that.

Your only job is to get them to do the next thing, then the next thing, then the next thing, so that they get to the point where they have what is called first value delivered or first value achieved, and the time it takes to get them there is the metric called time to first value.

Don’t overwhelm… don’t over deliver. Just deliver.

Appropriate Experience is your new best friend.

About Lincoln Murphy

I am a Customer Success Consultant focused on Customer Success-driven Growth. I wrote the Customer Success book which you can buy at Amazon. If you need help applying Customer Success-driven Growth principles in your company or would like me to speak at your event, please contact me. Also, connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

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