Onboard Your Customers. Again. And Again. And Again.

I’m not allowed to write on our team whiteboard. A broken wrist and a titanium plate drilled into my bone has ensured my chicken scratch handwriting for life. I much prefer the clickity-clack on my MacBook Pro with dual 27” external monitors. I have one of my team members write everything on the board, because they’ve disallowed me from writing on it. But the other day, I broke that rule.

 

We were having our daily standup as a team, running down high-risk customers, strategies, and updates from the company. All of a sudden, I walked over and drew a diagram on the board. It was our new strategy for onboarding our customers.

 

We just recently changed around our platform with a lot of new features (common in a startup, of course).  This will eventually be features that we will charge for, but for right now there are so many new features, we want to just get adoption and testing on the beta features we’ve rolled out.

 

In the interest of making sure the schools we work with are successful, we’re starting a long process to go back around to all of our customers and re-onboard them onto our platform.  This is because we want them not only to use the feature, but also because our platform has changed enough, and we haven’t talked to our customers in a while that we find it beneficial to onboard customers again, with specific focus on our new feature.

 

But in that process, we’ve realized one thing: customers always need to be onboarded again. As we have started to talk to our customers more and more, we’re realizing that continuing education is worth the time and money. And with our customers, the value of Professional Development (as it’s known in Education) is also recognized. Teachers often need to complete a certain number of PD hours every year, so we are offering them some value by giving them more PD each year.

 

I say it again and again, but every time I talk to customers, I feel like it was valuable. Customers give you feedback, they teach you about how your product is used in the wild, and when you train them over and over, you get to see firsthand how your product is implemented. So this is a cost that you should consider eating. Even if you typically charge for trainings, give one away for free each year, just to get your customers to use your product in the right way and allow your team to learn more about what’s going on with everyday usage.

 

And if your product is too inexpensive to consider onboarding customers over and over, always be re-tooling your training and encouraging/incentivising your customers to complete the training.

 

At my company, we have a three-pronged training strategy for all of our customers:

  1. Scaled, self-serve training
  2. Weekly webinars
  3. Custom Training done each fall with our partners and during onboarding of new customers

 

With this three-pronged approach, we are able to touch almost all of our customers and train them accurately regarding changes with our product, but more importantly, we’re hearing continuous feedback from our customers that we get to incorporate into our product.

 

But I’m still not allowed to write on the whiteboard.

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