How To Automate and Centralize Customer Onboarding
February 7, 2023
October 30, 2022
High customer satisfaction—along with low churn rates—always start with sound customer onboarding. But the processes that facilitate customer onboarding can be unwieldy and difficult to manage. Often, onboarding a new customer requires collaboration between teams who are technologically siloed from each other. It also requires synthesizing information spread out across several different systems that don’t typically integrate with each other. And it entails handling requests that come in from stakeholders across those separate systems in an unstructured way that’s hard to track.
As a result, the onboarding experience can often feel haphazard and disjointed to new customers—and overly burdensome, inefficient, and difficult to report on for customer success teams.
Ideally, you want your customer onboarding processes to be the opposite. For customers, the process should feel both seamless and tailored to their unique needs. Internally, it should be standardized, highly repeatable, easily customizable, and efficient.
Such customer onboarding processes ensure greater satisfaction over the long haul—in part by accelerating customers’ time-to-value. They also reduce costs and reduce operational debt.
But how to make your customer onboarding processes so effective—especially when the challenges and limitations that mandate the status quo feel so engrained inside most organizations?
That’s a question we heard a lot at this fall’s Ops Stars conference in San Francisco. One answer is by using an intelligent intake automation and orchestration tool, like Tonkean, to automate and centralize customer onboarding end-to-end.
We created a short demo detailing how Tonkean can help you do precisely that—without having to write even one line of code. The process is broken down step-by-step below, with a link to the full video at the bottom of the page.
1) Kicking off the process inside your internal messaging app with a customizable form; providing a centralized view into the state of the process
Using Tonkean, you can create internal solutions that provide you with full visibility into the customer onboarding process end-to-end—enabling your sales and customer success teams to do things like automatically update your CRM (from inside whatever application they prefer using), while ensuring you understand where in the onboarding flow each customer is at any given time.
Let’s imagine for our example here that you’ve created such a solution inside Tonkean to onboard a new customer. The flow kicks off with Tonkean reaching out to your customer success manager via Slack (or whatever communication app you might use) to let them know an account is ready to onboard.
The CS manager clicks “Begin Onboarding,” and a form pops up. (Whomever has created and is managing the process internally will have the ability to customize this form and others like it, and can specify what information they want captured, like contract-length, expected close-date, etc.)
Because Tonkean can be integrated on the backend with any kind of external system or application environment via APIs, it can then be prompted to automatically supplement the entered information by grabbing additional details from whatever CRM you use—Salesforce, let’s say.
This info might include: what account is this? Who are the primary contacts? Etc. Your CS manager will not have to find or personally enter any of this stuff—just affirm it, and move on.
Next Tonkean will let your CS manager know that it has logged your request.
2) Welcome to your fully integrated, totally transparent customer onboarding automation command center
Crucial to onboarding any new customer successfully is enjoying access to a centralized dashboard where process designers and CS managers are allowed a comprehensive view into the state of the onboarding journey. In Tonkean, the central dashboard created for you provides not just visibility into the state of the onboarded account, however—it also functions as a command center from which you can take manual actions, initiate automations, update auxiliary systems, and iterate upon the overall onboarding workflow, in order to move the account forward.
This is crucial for all kinds of reasons, but one is that the onboarding process inside most organizations normally relies upon a veritable web of different systems and tools which are not very easy to operate in conjunction with one another. Typically, to keep each system up-to-date—let alone avail themselves a unified picture of the health or state of the relationship in question—CS managers will have to hop between all these different systems and manually splice together the disparate data. Tonkean obviates that need by automatically pulling together all the relevant bits of information from across these different systems and compiling them in one centralized view. From there, it allows you to update and manage information stored in these systems from directly inside the central dashboard.
From this command center, the CS manager can automatically take any number of additional next steps to help move the customer along in their onboarding journey—and, crucially, Tonkean will track the status of that automated journey the entire way.
With each automated step, meanwhile, Tonkean will keep the CS manager working directly with the account “in the loop.” It does this in part by flagging what aspects of the onboarding process need to be completed manually by the CS manager in charge of the new account—or by other stakeholders inside the org—and by tracking the status of these tasks across those stakeholders.
3) Automatically create a shared workspace to utilize with the new customer and track what’s happening
One typical action that needs to be taken when onboarding a new customer is the creation of an external Slack channel that your CS team can use to communicate with the new customer. With the click of a button, Tonkean will create that shared communication space for you…
… and then, Tonkean will also prompt the CS manager to specify which humans should be invited to join. Tonkean will automatically invite the specified stakeholders to join, and it will also keep track of the action taken inside the centralized overview.
4) Automatically create a statement of work (SOW) and share it with your client in your shared workspace
Perhaps now you want to generate a statement of work, scoping use-cases for the client. With a click, Tonkean can do that for you, too.
And it can automatically share the SOW with your client through the shared workspace.
5) Visibility and control through the whole customer onboarding journey
With every such action, Tonkean continues tracking the onboarding process—all the way until your new client is up and running and delighted with their investment in you.
And all this, mind you, can be created, managed, and iterated upon—imagine you identify a bottleneck somewhere and want to remove it—without anybody having to write even a line of code.
Underlying all this is a simple philosophy.
At Tonkean, we believe every automated process—customer onboarding very much included—requires the oversight and participation of humans in order to run smoothly and with the requisite level of customization. And it must be customizable by the people who are on the ground, running the process—that is, the CS teams and ops pros who are the ones working with the clients, and who possess the most knowledge about the ins and outs of giving new clients what they need.
To iterate upon and increase the effectiveness of this process over time, those people can’t be waiting on IT teams to do the customizing for them. That’s why Tonkean’s intelligent intake automation and orchestration tool is 100% no-code.
To truly centralize, automate, and over time improve your customer onboarding process—such that you operate more efficiently and more reliably delight your customers—you need to be the one in control. With Tonkean you can be. And both your life and your customers’ lives will be better for it.
The word of 2024 in procurement so far is “process orchestration.” Everybody—from procurement experts to executives at Goldman Sachs—is talking about it. But… why? What are they so excited about? Here's why.