Setting The customer isn’t set up until they are actively using your product. The goal of this stage is to install the software, onboard your new customers and guide them until they are engaged users. The 3 basic steps are:
Let’s look at these in detail…
1. Installation / Integration
In enterprise B2B software, it is very common to have to integrate your product with existing software and/or legacy ERP systems. Most likely, your integration process will include:
- Customizing the software to your customer’s needs
- Creating an API with supporting documentation
- Identifying the relevant features and data sources
If your customer requires some customization on your behalf, you might be willing to offer this service and charge an integration fee. Be specific about the degree of customization you offer and communicate the associated long-term maintenance costs to your customer.
If you want to avoid integrating and customizing your software for your customers; you can provide an open API and supporting documentation to enable your customer’s IT department to develop data integrations on their own. In this case, provide as much support as you can, using each support interaction to further document and make the API better.
Finally, enterprise B2B software tends to have tons of features and flexibility built into the system. Before getting your customer setup, make sure you or your customer can identify the features that are useful to them and the according data models that are necessary to support those features. Translate the technical needs of your customers and match these against a checklist of available features. Transform these features into technical specifications that compose the setup process.
For example: if your customer wants to integrate a new CRM tool, then they will most likely require customer data models to store relevant customer information and a customer interaction model to log specific events and details.
2. Customer Onboarding
Once the software has been installed you must know onboard your users and teach them how to use your features and products. The user onboarding experience you offer should depend on the complexity of your products and on your company’s user onboarding goals.
Your onboarding experience should provide either one or a mix of the following options:
- In-Person Training
- Progressive or Gradual Exposure
If the success of your customer implementation depends on ensuring that users are trained and ready to use the software, then you might want to go for a hands-on onboarding approach, even if it is at the expense of implementation speed. This option includes:
- In-person training sessions
- Remote support sessions
- Customer Service Support
If your software is simple enough that any user can master within a couple minutes, then invest in developing a self-service onboarding process. Popular self-service include:
- In-App Walkthroughs
- Interactive Tutorials
- User Manuals
Self-service options provide the user with multiple ways to guide their own learning and take the necessary steps to learning how to use the product and its features.
2.3 Gradual Onboarding
Keep in mind, it is not necessary for your users to become experts of your entire product’s features. During the customer onboarding stage, it is only necessary for your user to learn how to use the minimum set of features that empowers them to gain value as quick as possible. Expose them gradually to other ‘power features’ as they begin to need them.
Finally, it is your responsibility to ensure that your customers are gaining the most value they can from your products and services. Your #1 priority should be to maximize your customer’s adoption of your new product.
In the early stages of your user’s lifecycle, it is important to measure their engagement with your products. The criteria for successful engagement should depend on your product and the customer’s desired outcome.
If you see that your customer has stopped using your products, you can send automated activation emails, using a set of predefined workflows and triggers. Alternatively, you can pick up the phone and talk to your customers directly. Contacting your customers directly may seem time-consuming, but will be much more insightful in pinpointing gaps in your customer onboarding process and opportunities to make your products better.
Proactively identify meaningful touch points in your new customer’s lifecycle where you can nudge them along the way into gaining more value from your products and becoming long-term customers.
The goal of this post was to provide you with the necessary steps to get your customers set up and actively using your products.
In the next post, I’ll cover the fundamentals for empowering your customers to achieve their desired outcomes with your products and services.