5 Reasons Your Customer Onboarding Should be Handled as a Project

Brandi Johnson

Sep 16 2016 5 min read

Customer onboarding is a key business program to optimize if you’re gearing up for growth or stabilizing your base.

It costs 7x more to obtain a new customer than to keep an existing one.

Project retention starts the moment the contract is signed, and your onboarding team takes over. Some companies treat customer onboarding processes as something to be survived and automated as much as possible. Onboarding establishes the type of relationship you will have with your customer throughout their lifecycle. A best-in-class customer onboarding process helps you establish trust with new customers – a trust that will be relied upon through your entire lifecycle. So before you blindly start that next process, consider these five reasons your customer onboarding should be handled as a project.

  • Improved Sales Handoffs: The handoff from sales to customer success may be one of the most important discussions that your sales and support teams have. This handoff is the equivalent of a project kickoff meeting, which ensures that the team has all of the details they need to successfully meet the customer’s needs. If this handoff isn’t clear, your customer onboarding project runs the risk of running awry – which immediately reduces your client’s trust.
    If you’re using a project management solution that integrates with your CRM, like Cloud Coach works with Salesforce, you can connect your project to the opportunity, giving both teams increased visibility into customer expectations.
  • Clear Scope of Work: A good project manager knows that a project has a clear beginning and end, along with details of the expected outcomes at the end of the time. Ensure your customer onboarding projects have a clear scope of work and planned end date. Document what will – and what won’t – be covered in your implementation so that your customers know what to expect.
  • Manage Changes: As you’re working on a customer onboarding project, changes are likely to come up. Maybe the client has a new idea they’d like to introduce, or a feature doesn’t work in quite the way they expected. Proper project management procedures help you identify, document, and resolve these change requests to keep your project on track.
  • Standardization: As your business scales, you need to create processes that can scale with you. Using a standard project management system and associated baseline template makes customer onboarding a measurable process with associated milestones. Don’t mistake the concept of standardization with automation. A standard project template gives you the baseline of what needs to happen to successfully onboard a customer, with the flexibility to add tasks and outcomes specific to each customer’s needs.
  • Reporting: Do you know how much each customer onboarding project costs your team in terms of time and effort? Or which parts of the process take the longest? When you manage customer onboarding as projects – with assigned resources, time tracking, and set timelines, you can leverage the data collected to optimize your future projects. You’ll find out if you’re charging enough, planning for enough time, and identify opportunities to streamline projects – improving your customer retention and getting you to profit sooner.

Brandi Johnson

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