It’s no secret that bad onboarding—i.e. a poorly managed SaaS implementation process—is the number one cause of customer churn.
As we’ve said here before, your onboarding process is huge. Do it right and the customer is yours. Do it wrong and they may not stick around long enough to see how amazing your product really is.
What follows in this post are five common “confidence killers”—implementation points where customers say “uh-oh” under their breath and begin to question the decision to hire you.
We’ll also show you how to prevent these unwanted scenarios from occurring in the first place, and for the sake of this post, we’ll call these actions “confidence builders.”
So, let’s get to it.
Confidence Killer No. 1: Your implementation team shows up at the kick-off meeting with little evidence that they know how the onboarding process will go down.
Confidence Builder: Project management software designed specifically for SaaS implementations allows you to have the entire implementation process laid out in advance, long before you even head out the door.
Most of your implementations are relatively similar, often requiring many of the same core tasks, right? With project management software built and designed specifically for SaaS implementations, you can customize the onboarding experience by placing all your basic onboarding steps on templates (which can be archived/sorted by client). The templates allow you to establish confidence right at the outset by showing the customer exactly how the implementation will unfold, how much time each step should take, and who needs to be involved. You can even reference typical pain points and suggest ways to avoid them.
Confidence Killer No. 2: Project communications between you, the client, vendors, and consultants are cumbersome and disjointed.
Confidence Builder: A typical implementation can take anywhere from three to six months. Your implementation team is managing up to 30 or more onboardings at a time, which means they’re keeping tabs (literally) on hundreds of vendors/consultants and client-side experts, simultaneously. Trying to manage that many projects via Excel, Google Sheets, Smartsheets and/or complex email chains just doesn’t work. Period.
Project management software gives you a flexible, dynamic on-line portal that lets your team (and everyone else involved in the project) view its real-time status, 24/7, just by logging-on. Every step and who’s responsible for it is clearly delineated and updated as the project moves along. When an important project milestone is met, everyone is notified.
Confidence Killer No. 3: Approval mix-ups. How often have you had a client say, “Geez, I didn’t realize you were waiting on me to move forward”? Yep, the most common implementation delays almost always involve client-side approvals.
Confidence Builder: With the right implementation management tools (as opposed to spreadsheets or generic project software), your experts simply check the portal and quickly see who is slowing down progress with tardy approvals. Even better, the system can be programmed in advance to notify team members that their approval is needed and, if necessary, keep reminding them.
It can also notify individuals that a key approval has been granted and that it’s their turn to step up and begin working on the next task. Everyone knows exactly where the project stands. And the entire implementation is archived as it proceeds, giving you and the customer a complete system of record, should that be needed later.
Confidence Killer No. 4: “Nobody told me the problem was this bad!”: If you can’t identify a problem quickly, explain it to the client, and get the project back on track, you’re in big trouble. In fact, we feel sorry for you.
Confidence builder: If there’s a problem—and let’s face it, implementations are loaded with potential problems—your client needs to know about it, the sooner the better. What happens if a problem festers and costs the customer that super expensive (and super busy) Oracle consultant who’s set to step in next week?
Project management tools help you quickly identify the cause, develop ways to limit its impact, and keep the project moving. Best of all it helps you notify the customer early on—which keeps them on your side. Heck, they may have caused the problem themselves.
Confidence Killer No. 5: Pie in the sky deadlines: This one’s a no-brainer. You’ve got to establish a reality-based timeline right from the get-go.
Confidence builder: Project management software that lets you store data from every previous implementation within a single electronic repository—one that’s accessible to everyone, including sales. Understanding past task time frames and completion schedules—"this onboarding is similar to project X in that it has six integrations”—lets you propose project deadlines based on facts.
But, you say, “stuff” happens! That’s okay. With the right tool, your implementation experts can perform a “live” audit, explain the mishap to the client, and, working together, devise ways to shave time from one step to make up for time lost on another.
Trust us, clients love this.
Building client confidence
The SaaS space is exploding, and the competition is fierce. A disenchanted customer can abandon ship today and meet with your competitor tomorrow.
The good news is the customer has made a big bet. They’ve committed substantial time and money to your software. They’ve taken quite a leap of faith, and they want (and need) you to succeed.
In other words, they’re on your side. And with the right implementation management tools, that’s exactly where they’ll stay.
Want to learn more about how to conquer the nine biggest SaaS implementation challenges? Get our Guide to Solving the 9 Biggest SaaS Implementation Problems.