Automation in Onboarding

December 15, 2023

Onboarding clients is one of the most important things for any business to get right. It's your first impression, and if you get it wrong it can be your last impression too. If you're fortunate enough to have the entire onboarding process contained within your product then you have the opportunity to introduce your product directly, however, for those with an offline onboarding process ensuring a good first impression can be a real challenge.

We have all participated in onboarding processes which are spread across emails, multiple meetings and relentless back and forth as we arrange the necessary components for onboarding. I've witnessed first-hand processes which span several months, eventually leading to client dissatisfaction and churn.

Consistency is key

One of the biggest problems with the piecemeal process being deployed by some companies is that it's consistently inconsistent. Any process which relies on human input has massively increased scope for inconsistency - whether that be the wording of an email, the frequency of chasers, answers to questions - if humans are deploying the process then it's unlikely two clients will have a consistent experience.

Scaling up

Another problem with human-centric, manual onboardings is that they do not scale well. While it's perfectly healthy to do things which don't scale in the early days of a business, as your business grows a lot of manual processes scale really poorly. Knowledge silos form, inconsistencies increase and communication issues start to materialise. All of these issues can quickly become your clients' problems, creating the kind of negative experience that it can be difficult to recover from.

An automated alternative

Whenever you have a problem with consistency or over-reliance on human input, the solution is usually automation. The moment a client signs up you don't want to waste a second in getting the ball rolling - time kills momentum and motivation and waiting hours or even days can really hurt your chances of a successful activation. However, the issue is that two onboardings are rarely identical and a one size fits all automation solution is not likely to fit the bill.

What is needed is an automated solution which can take account of the unique characteristics of each client and issue a proven, staged onboarding which covers everything the specific client needs to cover before you can get them up and running with your business or platform. If you expect them to focus their use on specific functionality, require a certain integration, or you need a more in depth explanation of something, you want to ensure all of that is covered out of the gate.

Where does Boarded come in?

Boarded was made with exactly this problem in mind. The aim of the product is to provide a mechanism for businesses to iteratively build a repository of templated tasks, all tagged with the various characteristics of your client base. As you discover what messaging works well and what information needs to be included you can continually update each template. Then, when you win a new client simply provide the tags in question and Boarded will automatically build you a centralised onboarding hub with all the content you need your clients to collaborate on. Invite your colleagues and clients alike and ensure a transparent, auditable experience for all parties.

What happens next?

It wouldn't be a blog about automation in 2023 without mentioning Artificial Intelligence and the impact that can have. We have already started to explore the next iteration of the product and appropriate applications of AI without handing over responsibility for client communication to AI completely. Our initial thoughts are focussed on introducing AI assistance to help generate onboarding content, but we'll see what other ideas our own onboarding process brings 😉