Onboaring

Strategies for live onboarding?

Kate Hiscox

May 2nd, 2014

I'd love to hear other's theories on this. Is offering a live onboarding session to registered users considered a value add or a 'your solution must be complicated'? 

When I say live onboarding session, I mean walking someone through the steps to get setup and live over the phone or similar.

If it is considered a value add, should it be used to upsale or is there value in offering live onboarding to everyone due to the benefits of learning about your customers goals, needs and so on?

Jeevan Koneru Software Developer

May 2nd, 2014

I believe it is a must for early stage startups. A great article that talks about it - http://paulgraham.com/ds.html.

Lawrence Lerner Digitalization and Transformation Coach

May 2nd, 2014

I've been part of the process when doing this with enterprise customers.  The setup requires a little more handholding is all part of the customer lifetime value equation.  White glove service is great if your customer base is relatively small but spend a lot. 

Steve Newman CEO/Founder @ Scalyr

May 2nd, 2014

It has been invaluable for us. We don't (yet) have an organized process; usually I just send a personal (non-form-letter) e-mail to users at some point after they register. We'd be better off with a more organized process, and some testing to see what approach gets the greatest acceptance rate, but even so the resulting conversations have been a gold mine of information. We've learned a lot about how to improve our product, how to better present it, and who our customers are. I do share your question about how users will perceive this. When we do have a conversation, it's always a very positive experience for both parties. But the offer itself could be off-putting.

Kate Hiscox

May 3rd, 2014

Rob - we use those tools and I have to agree with you. It frustrated the heck out of me. We're lucky in that our scrum master knows the Atlassian tools like the back of his hand so he takes care of managing those details but if it wasn't for him, I would have done the same as you. 

Rob G

May 3rd, 2014

i certainly think it is worth making the offer, but i would not make the offer itself a 'big deal'.  Make it low key - "go hear if  you need some help...".  Then exceed their expectations with awesome live hand-holding.  i don't know what your customer touch points are upstream of the onboarding process, but there's no substitute for live interaction if you can afford it and it may be a real differentiator for you.  Give them a simple process to comment about their experience on social media as soon as they finish the onboarding process and it's fresh in their minds.   You certainly don't want a new user/prospect to struggle with the process.  Here's an example of how NOT to do it www.atlassian.com.  We recently tried to trial Jira (SW build management/bug tracking, etc. SaaS) and also their product "confluence".  first Their site was a bit confusing regarding which of their several products we needed to achieve the results we were after - do we need just "Jira" or do we also need "Jira Agile" which seems to be bundled in the Jira trial, but priced separately???.  After signing up for the trial I and a team member spent an hour+ of frustration simply trying to set him up with admin privileges then we gave up. Seemingly simply steps like reseting passwords and configuring user privileges was a non-starter.  I sent an email to the CEO and VP of sales to let them know that they need to do something to simplify/clarify their onboarding and no response. Now i'm here chatting about my lousy experience.  

Mark Neild Empowering quietly creative people to prosper through innovative yet authentic and engaging business models

May 3rd, 2014

I think Steve makes a very good point about the amount you can learn particularly if the product is very innovative and your first customers are classic early adopters who are happy to invest a bit of time in a new product.  To a certain extent, if you lose a few customers who do not want to interact then maybe that is not such a bad thing until you have learnt enough of the use cases to make them intuitive for a more mass market.
If you can record your interactions and your customers are cool then you can use them as part of later on boarding processes once the customer feedback starts to bring less and less new insight.