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7 steps to seamless onboarding

March 24, 2021

Photo: Nick Fewings

The onboarding process can be a headache for clients. With strict deadlines to meet, technical solutions to communicate, and stakeholder expectations to manage, the implementation process can feel like an impossible task before it has even begun.

Yet it’s of utmost importance to make the process as smooth as possible and familiarize new clients with your products and services. If you successfully onboard a happy new customer they will refer you to other clients. According to the marketing company, Wyzowl 86% of people say they’d be more likely to stay loyal to a business that invests in the onboarding process.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, CWT maintained a heavy focus on the client onboarding experience, by leveraging Webex versus face-to-face meetings, optimizing resources through global load-sharing, and adapting to client's availability and priorities, resulting in a 2020 NPS score of 57, a world-class score* considering the average for the travel industry is 18.

Here are 7 essential steps to ensure smooth onboarding. It all boils down to strong communication throughout every phase.

  1. Scope of the project
    Although it seems like the most logical first step, onboarding can descend into chaos if goals are not defined from the outset and there is uncertainty about who is responsible for what. It’s critical to start with a clear definition of the project and a well-defined scope. Make sure you know the what, when, where, and how of onboarding.

  2. Discovery workshops
    To foster a deep understanding of your client’s needs consider organizing workshops. If you talk to people on different levels within the organization you will get a better view of what needs to be done to connect the dots.

  3. Regular project updates
    Make sure you keep everyone involved, informed, and aligned by giving project updates on a regular basis. If a risk arises that impacts the implementation process, you can use these project updates to communicate and mitigate problems.

  4. Change management
    Support your customer with their internal change management process. For successful onboarding, it is vital that all stakeholders are informed and aligned.

  5. User test phase
    Before you sign off the test phase, make sure that you validate that the system works as agreed. Go through every step and detail with the client to iron out any concerns.

  6. Successful handoff
    Don’t cut the cord as soon as your client has been onboarded. Stay connected and support them with excellent service and a professional customer team for the long term.

  7. Evaluate
    Make use of your clients’ feedback during and after implementation. Both positive and negative feedback will support continuous improvement.

CWT used these steps to refine our implementation process with standardized global processes and governance to deliver the smoothest transition possible. “First impressions are lasting impressions,” after all.

*Satmetrix NPS Benchmark


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