Learn how Rachel Jennings-Keane, Global Head of Customer Success at Assignar, simplified what used to be an overwhelming onboarding process for their customers.
Here’s the TL;DR:
Challenge: Assignar’s tech-challenged customers were overwhelmed by their five-phase onboarding and implementation process that lasts up to 90 days. Using slide decks and project management tools to manage onboarding wasn’t a scalable solution for getting customers to go-live. Customers were getting lost in the process.
Solution: Assignar created an onboarding and implementation plan template in Dock. A CSM can copy that standardized template, share an onboarding workspace with a customer, and track all the implementation steps required for go-live. Now, a customer can easily see what’s needed from them to move the implementation process forward.
Results: Since adopting Dock, Assignar has been able to standardize their onboarding process across CSMs and regions. They’ve also reduced their time spent in kickoff meetings by 25 minutes per call. Most importantly, their customers now have a much better idea of what to expect during onboarding.
“There’s 100 sales enablement tools out there. But there aren’t as many client management and enablement tools made specifically for CS. I love Dock. I think every CS team should have it.”
Rachel Jennings-Keane is the Global Head of Customer Success at Assignar—a construction operations software platform. Rachel is responsible for all post-sale functions.
Assignar helps highly regulated construction companies make sure all the resources, people, and equipment going to a job site are compliant and equipped to do the job.
Here’s the big struggle:
Adopting Assignar requires construction companies to go through a complete digital transformation—ditching their pen-and-paper tracking for a digital system that touches every member of their company.
As a result, customers have to go through an extensive five-step onboarding process:
- Kickoff call: A customer kickoff call with the salesperson, implementation, and CSM to create alignment
- Technical implementation: Getting the customer to upload data to the platform
- Training: Four to five training sessions on the platform itself
- Pilot: A test with a few workers in the field
- Launch: Company-wide go-live
When Rachel joined Assignar, she realized customers were getting lost in this process.
“The first thing I heard from customers was ‘We don't know what to expect. We don't know where we're going next,’” said Rachel.
“So I asked how do we make it clearer to customers about what to do, what to expect next, and what they have accomplished so far?
“I started on the typical path of creating a PowerPoint slide deck. And then I was sitting there being like, ‘This is dumb. I've hated working on these decks in my career as a CSM. Why are we making people sit through these decks?’
“So I researched more creative ways of doing kickoff goals and running implementation. And that's where Dock came in and has been a really key driver for helping that customer collaboration piece.”
Here’s how Rachel and Assignar simplified their onboarding process with Dock.
1. Onboarding tech-challenged customers
“We typically are the first big software a construction business is rolling out across their entire operations,” said Rachel.
“For some people in the field, it's their first time having a smartphone. Some people don't realize that the App Store is on their phone and not a store they go to. That has happened,” Rachel laughed.
“So we don't just have the digital transformation challenge. We also have the technology enablement challenge as well. Come with that is a very unique challenge when you're onboarding a customer. Change management is not necessarily their strong point.”
Rachel struggled to find a tool to walk clients through their onboarding process.
“I was experimenting with Jira and Asana and arrived at the conclusion that they were too clunky. Inviting a customer to an Asana board just didn't make sense for our type of customers who aren't used to tools in general. They're used to paper and whiteboards.
“They're learning our tool plus a project management tool.”
After some Googling for more customer-friendly onboarding tools, Rachel found Dock.
“When I stumbled across Dock, I was like, ‘Oh my God. Why hasn't this tool existed before? This is amazing.’”
Rachel started from Dock’s implementation template to create a standardized workspace for each customer.
“I loved being able to sign up and experience it before I purchased it. It was really easy to stand up. It didn't take additional resources. I didn't need to go to engineering or product to get some help from that standpoint. So it was like a no-brainer to sign up to Dock.”
Now, all of Assignar’s onboarding training materials, implementation checklists, and other resources are all contained in one link for their customers.
“Everybody's doing PowerPoint decks and emailing them and, you know, doing checklists that are sitting in another tool somewhere. What I like about Dock is that it's basically their own little website guide to how to get the most out of your tool. It’s reaffirming our value and it's easy for them to find it and get that.
“We don't have questions now coming up from customers of what to expect next.”
2. Creating a repeatable onboarding process that scales
Inconsistency was another challenge for Assignar’s onboarding team, which is split across the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand.
“I was trying to find ways that we could create more of a consistent process, and I found in both regions, they were doing different things,” said Rachel.
“For the kickoff call, they would create a different deck for every customer. So that took time. And I felt we weren't driving home the most important points on those calls.
“So I was trying to streamline all of that into like, there is one way that we run a kickoff call, globally. There's one way that we onboard customers, globally.
“What really enabled that was finding a tool like Dock to keep it in one place. Our team loves templates you can build because then everybody just copies that template and we're speaking and doing the same thing all the time.
“So now it's a repeatable process that can scale.”
3. Reducing onboarding overwhelm for customers
Dock has helped Assignar avoid the stops and starts that were typical of their five-step onboarding process.
“Some customers can move through onboarding in 14 days, but the majority of customers take 90 days to move through that process. Construction is a very change-at-the-drop-of-a-hat kind of industry,” explained Rachel
“Sometimes onboarding would lag because they need to jump on a problem and solve it straight away.
“We've really been looking at: how do we reduce friction and reduce the number of steps that need to happen to get them to that launch phase as quickly as possible?
“We share the Dock before the call, so the customer can start to get an understanding of what to expect with a video or visual of the five steps that we go through with them.
“That way, the kickoff call is much more focused on, ‘Here's what you bought. Here's why you bought it. What are your goals? And here's what we need you to own for the next step.’
“Now we can keep the customer focused on ‘You need to get from A to B, and this is what you need to do to get to B.’—rather than giving them information overload and overwhelming the customer with way too much information that's not applicable for them right now.
“I got so excited when you released the progression bar feature of how much percentage a project is complete because now we can actually show you, ‘Hey, you're 50% of the way through your implementation.’
“Having that progress bar at the top really helps people see like, ‘Yes, we're making progress through here.’ It might not feel like it, but being able to demonstrate these are all the tasks that we have completed with you has been really powerful.”
4. Collecting customer implementation data
“The other really big win we have is collecting the customer’s data after kickoff,” continued Rachel.
Assignar needs their customers to upload data about their employees, equipment, and clients—including employee competencies or certifications.
Before Dock, collecting that data over email used to be a challenge.
“Typically we were just sharing this data via emails backwards and forwards. That used to lag sometimes up to a month.”
“And so what we did in Dock was have a little ‘Upload Here’ action button, which I love. As part of the pre-onboarding, before we jump on a kickoff call, we'll send the Dock and then we'll point out that specific data preparation section.”
“So they can start to look and understand what they need to be working on in order to get live quickly. Because obviously if we don't have data in the platform, we can't move forward with implementation.”
“And we're getting data back within a week now, which is really speeding up our time to value.”
“So that's been a huge win.”
Since adopting Dock, Assignar has:
- Reduced time spent on kickoff calls by up to 25 minutes
- Achieved faster ramp-up time for new hires
- Enabled the pre-sales process
Quicker kickoff calls
“One thing we did see from the get-go was a reduction in time spent on kickoff calls. Typically, a kickoff call would run from 30 to 45 minutes, and we've now reduced that to 20 to 25 minutes because we really have streamlined the flow.”
Faster new-hire ramp-up time
“The other thing is I've had two new onboarding specialists join the team. Their ramp time in terms of being able to drive impact in their roles has really significantly increased.”
“You're able to be like, ‘Oh, this is all the steps I should be following with the customer.’ And it's creating a consistent experience.”
“It's like, you have a Dock, you create a template Dock, and then I have an SOP of like, here's how you run a kickoff call, here's how you run training session one, two, etc.”
“That really helped them understand what their job is day in and day out a lot faster than before.”
Enabling pre-sales collaboration
“We've just started experimenting with using Dock in pre-sales to show like, ‘Hey, once you invest in Assignar, this is what your journey is like. These are the stages that we go through. Here are the tasks that you and your team will have to do.’”
“They have a very much better idea of how much time they're going to need per week and how many resources they will need during that onboarding process as well—so really helping set the expectation.”
“I think we built four Docks in pre-sales and we closed three, which grabbed the attention of our CEO being like, ‘Well, maybe we should be using this on all deals.’”
“So I'm excited to have Sales start to experiment with using Dock to then have a consistent journey with the customer from the prospect stage through to renewal and beyond.”
“Customers can always refer back to their Dock workspace at any point rather than losing it in some random email between the salesperson and themselves.”
“We do anticipate this change to result in a reduction in time spent onboarding customers. We also anticipate it will speed up our deal timeline.”
One Dock Tip
“I love Dock. I think every CS team should, should have it.”
“It allows you to stand out to a customer base in a unique way. Everybody's doing PowerPoint decks and emailing them and doing checklists that are sitting in another tool somewhere.”
“What I like about Dock is it's basically their own little website guide to how to get the most out of your tool and reaffirming that value.”
Here’s Rachel’s top tip for using Dock:
“Always be looking at your Dock templates and looking at how you can make them more concise and better to navigate.”
“I first used one of the Dock templates you guys have in your template library and then after one or two onboardings, we refined it.”
One Customer Success Tip
“Never assume people understand anything that you're telling them. I think we easily make a lot of assumptions being like, ‘You should know how this works.’ Definitely not.”
“We're used to doing it every single day, where they're doing it for the very first time.”
“We can definitely overwhelm people and then they get paralysis of like, ‘What do I do now? There are so many things. This feels like it's becoming a full-time job in itself.’”
“And that can really disengage the customer and really have us go off track.”
“Really focus on breaking it down into bite-sized chunks and not overwhelming the people on the other end—so only giving them the information they need to get from step A to B, and then we're at B, giving them what they need to do to C.”
“But still giving them visibility all the way to go-live is really important. So they can see what we're working towards, but here's all I need to know right now.”