Good Project Management Starts At Customer Onboarding

Feb 6, 2019

Nobody wants to lose time in today’s fast-paced, hyper-connected business world. But losing data is even worse than losing time.

Some web agency owners and B2B professionals in other industries try to rush things in order to improve the speed of business. The problem is that if you don’t take the right approach to speed things up, you’ll inevitably forget important information, miss deadlines, or even lose entire projects.

The key is to speed up your business processes in a way that adds value, rather than risking value. The only way to do this effectively is by building automated solutions that help you manage projects more efficiently.

Customer onboarding is a great example. Great customer onboarding helps you scope out the details of a project before you commit to it.

Paying attention to onboarding can help you from the moment you begin talking to a new lead and make it much easier to manage the project later on after the work contract is signed. Streamlining the onboarding process can improve your ability to handle multiple projects effectively and improve the customer experience at the same time.

The Problem with Customer Onboarding for Web Projects

Every web project requires roughly the same kind of input from customers. You need to discover the problems their web project is supposed to solve, deliver potential solutions, and then get feedback on those suggestions. You also need basic deliverables like the company logo, user personas, and target demographics.

Often, the various stages of this process will come from different people. Your client may first describe the overall web project to you before having a technical employee explain the specifics. Then, of course, the budget has to be greenlighted by a supervisor or manager at the end.

For a major web development project, this process can easily deteriorate into a messy back-and-forth as different team members contradict one another or miss important updates to the project. If your client does not have a well-organized, highly efficient business structure, then neither will you.

Most web agency owners and developers treat this as unavoidable. Many agencies implement their own project management tools to streamline the process once the project actually gets going. But how can they prevent projects from derailing before the project even begins?

The answer is effectively managing the onboarding process. What web agencies need is an onboarding tool that integrates with their project management tool and establishes order from the very first interaction.

How to Streamline Customer Onboarding

Streamlining the customer onboarding process is no simple task. You never know what kind of client you’ll be working for, or how many people your onboarding tool will have to accommodate.

But the technology world is full of great examples of customer onboarding that web agencies can use. Consider the onboarding strategies of some of the most recognizable names in project management:

In each instance, a platform-specific communication tool helps new customers understand the technology at work. This simplifies the process for everyone involved and leads to a vastly improved user experience – new customers get an immediate glimpse at how well-designed and organized your service is.

  • Slack. Slack’s main strong point is the ability to incorporate customized bots to fulfill various user-defined functions. Instead of onboarding new users with a highly technical manual, Slack users have a conversation with the SlackBot, who asks them all the details it needs to complete the process.
  • Trello. Trello is another popular project management tool with a great customer onboarding strategy. It drops new users right into a Trello Board that guides users on how to use the product. It’s a granular method that gives Trello the information it needs while teaching users how to make the most of their product.
  • DropBox. Dropbox uses a similarly granular onboarding style that shows users exactly what they have to do to share their first file. It gathers only the data it absolutely needs at first, and then drops a comprehensive PDF guide into each user’s folder. Great!

But web developers, designers, and agency owners don’t have time to create complex, automated solutions for customer onboarding for every customer. Similarly, different customers require different approaches, so what our industry needs is a highly versatile tool that streamlines the very first steps.

Improve Communication with Integrated Onboarding

At UnlimitedWP, we believe in the power of well-defined processes. Onboarding is a process like any other in most respects, but it is the one that web agencies most often address in a haphazard, take-it-as-it-goes manner.

This leads to a situation where agency owners are overwhelmed with meetings, documents, and emails for every project. Customers are largely in the same position as well – since a web agency’s ad-hoc onboarding process necessarily has to mirror the organizational efficiency of the client.

Integrating onboarding with project management as a preliminary process can help to reduce the risk of errors creeping in at an early stage in the overall project process. It can improve service delivery while reducing the need to check back and get questions answered multiple times by multiple individuals on the client’s end.

The fact is that customer onboarding is an easy process to define. There are certain pieces of information that remain the same from project to project, and these are typically the elements that take up the majority of onboarding time and energy of the planning and project negotiation process:

  • Dates and Deadlines. When did you start discussing the project, and when is it due to start? When is the estimated launch deadline?
  • Budget. You should know what your client’s budget is before making any feature recommendations or negotiating other options.
  • Reference Websites/Tools. What kind of web experience does the client wish to offer its users? Are there competitors doing the same thing?
  • Design Materials. Logos, headers, specialty fonts, and all the other graphic design files you need to start working on should be in one organized, easy-to-reach place.

Where Can I Get an Integrated Customer Onboarding Tool for Web Agencies?

You can’t yet. There is no all-in-one customer onboarding solution that offers this kind of functionality alongside API integration with our industry’s most popular project management tools.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. In fact, UnlimitedWP engineers are working on this exact problem right now. Sign up for our newsletter and find out the moment our first-of-its-kind integrated customer onboarding tool is ready for launch!

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ronik patel

After building my web agency JD Softtech in both Boston and Ahmedabad, India, I wanted to find a way to help other agencies.

So we took our team of highly qualified website developers and web designers and launched UnlimitedWP, a white-label WordPress partner for growing agencies.

If you’re frustrated by how much time working in WordPress takes, consider UnlimitedWP.com.

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