Onboarding is the critical time when a customer’s expectations meet the reality of your product and service delivery. New users are incredibly engaged when they’ve just signed. But as the vendor, it’s often 364 days to renewal and the clock is ticking to get them as quickly as possible to adoption and success.
With this in mind, we’ve outlined a few key milestones for your LMS launch, as described by Skilljar's Sandi Lin in her CS100 presentation.
Continue reading to learn more:
1. The handoff
At Skilljar, onboarding starts with the handoff from sales. We have a lot of activities at this stage: an internal handoff form, an internal meeting, and some operational tasks. We also have a service level agreement (SLA) of 1 business day on completion, to ensure all new customers receive an email introduction shortly after signing.
Note: if you have a low touch onboarding model, the handoff might be from marketing, with an activity like signing up for a free trial. Regardless, there are still signals and triggers that should be in put in place. Measurement is important here – if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. A tool like ClientSuccess can help; we’ve set up several success cycles and run weekly reporting based on time in each stage.
2. The kickoff
The next milestone for us is the customer kickoff. Our team will have a call as soon as possible with key stakeholders, where we reconfirm the customer’s goals and strategy. Then we construct and review the onboarding plan so everyone is clear on how we communicate, as well as the timelines, and implementation activities. We also send our Skilljar Academy to customers at this point, so they can start training right away.
Again, we use ClientSuccess fields to measure whether the call occurred within our SLA of 7 days. This is unique to high-touch onboarding, where you need to have a human touch to align everyone for an implementation. It’s also important when you have multiple stakeholders on the customer or vendor side to understand roles and responsibilities.
3. The soft launch
The third phase is your soft launch. Skilljar is a product that has several moving pieces between the content, user experience, and technical integrations. We think of this as "first value," and our goal is to get customers here as quickly as possible and not wait for perfection.
In between kickoff and soft launch, there are activities around implementation, migration and training - with the goal of getting customers to that soft launch. Milestones are here to evaluate the progress of onboarding and guide our customers to a successful state.
One challenge is actually measuring soft launch, which can be subjective. Make sure it’s a milestone in the customer’s mind – when they’ve released their program to internal reviewers or friendly stakeholders.
4. The launch
The final phase of onboarding is when your customer launches. We sometimes call this the “marketed launch,” when customers open the gates to their intended training audience and a migration is fully complete. This is when they see the value that is aligned with their stated launch goals.
To give one example, for Amazon Marketplace, this could be finishing your registration, listing your first item, or making your first sale. The end of onboarding is trickier to define than you’d imagine. Think about this from the customer perspective – when have they achieved what they bought your product for?
The goals outlined above are specific to an LMS launch. However, they can serve as a helpful guideline for any onboarding process. Think about what your customers need to be truly successful with your product, then build a plan to get them there.