Client Onboarding Experience Talk: A Q&A with the Paystubz Founder
Before selling his human capital management system and service company, Paystubz, in 2021, David Hanna spent 14+ years managing client relationships, providing excellent customer service, and onboarding hundreds, if not thousands, of clients.
Today, he continues to share his wealth of knowledge through his consultancy, DGH Advisors LLC, providing services in B2B SaaS, business start-ups, capital formation, accounting, and business process development.
In his decades of experience, David has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to the client onboarding experience. Recently, we had the pleasure of sitting down with him to hear his invaluable insights on the current state of client onboarding practices and the potential of client onboarding automation to improve the process for clients and service providers alike.
Q. As a software vendor/service provider, what is the hardest thing about client onboarding?
David: There are several challenges in client onboarding today. The hardest thing about client onboarding is asking the right questions at the right time and getting quality data from the client — quality data that's quickly usable in entering and setting up the software being deployed.
It isn't easy to collect that data in an organized way. The responses, and thus the data, can change due to many factors, including the questionnaire layout and how the questions are framed. This is up to the deployment person [or onboarding rep] — they should be trained to obtain quality data from the client and prepare the questionnaire to follow the setup steps and topics.
It is also challenging to get [the client’s] employees to 'pick up the phone' and ask for an answer to be explained instead of assuming. Again, this goes back to the quality of data. If a question needs to be understood, it's better to ask for clarification than make an assumption that could lead to incorrect data and a poor setup.
The last challenge, from experience, is the ability to deploy multiple quick data-gathering questionnaires for various areas of the software. There hasn't been a workable tool in the past that allows for this up-to-date — at least not that I've seen.
Q. What does the ideal solution look like for you?
David: My ideal solution is to include online questionnaires that, when completed, those answers (via machine learning or robotic process automation) can configure the respective area of the system(s) instead of humans doing that work.
An example of this could be clicking a drop-down menu, making a selection, and clicking save. Those manual steps to configure the software to meet the requirements of the customer should be automated based on the submitted online questionnaire.
Q. Why hasn't there been higher adoption of automated onboarding solutions up to now?
David: Simply put — it's hard to implement. Conversions — or the process of getting a customer to buy and start using the software — can be intermittent and not a day-to-day problem but a project-to-project problem.
The reluctance to adopt automated onboarding solutions is primarily because team members in operations get so buried and overwhelmed in day-to-day activities that they can’t spend time and resources to develop a better process. It's always much easier to continue doing things as they've always been done and hope for the best.
Q. Do you see this changing in the near future? Why? Why not?
David: It will. The software solutions being developed will reach the point where a new client is 'interviewed' by a machine, and the software they've purchased will be configured for them as they answer. I see a world where the software indicates what will happen in each situation, given their response to highly-personalized questions.
I see this change coming about simply because it makes good business sense — saving time and money while reducing the stress of the customer and the onboarding team. As more and more software solutions move to the cloud and are subscription-based, the need to quickly get a new customer up and running and using the software is more important than ever.
Q. What do you think is one important thing about onboarding that everyone misses the mark on?
David: Nearly every onboarding team misses the consistent, quality follow-up for the next couple of months to be sure the client is getting what they expected and more. The job doesn't end once they are onboarded — it's only the beginning. This happens because teams are introduced to new projects daily or weekly, and those who launch are forgotten. We know the consequences of poor support and service.
The ongoing education of the customer is now required. Even just implementing shorter, hard-hitting videos can significantly improve your output (i.e., 30-second to 90-second videos of 'did you know?' or 'have you considered?').
Bringing Client Onboarding into the 21st Century with Client Onboarding Automation
David isn't the only one who has seen the importance of client onboarding automation to cut down customer onboarding costs and wait times. There are many areas in which client onboarding needs to improve, and many experts see a similar path to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction, bringing businesses a new level of success and customer retention.
What do you think? Is client onboarding automation the answer to a better client onboarding experience?
At Setuply, we believe that answer is yes.
We understand that automating client onboarding can feel like a big undertaking. Providers can find themselves stuck in a cycle — unable to find the time to stop, objectively look at the client onboarding process, and make beneficial changes. Our client onboarding automation platform offers the tools and expertise you need to make the transition faster and more effective.
But we don’t want to just tell you about the power of Setuply; we want you to experience it for yourself. Tell us about your approach to client onboarding today and we’ll show you how our platform can change your client onboarding experience for the better and drive revenue faster.