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Onboarding 3.0: transforming the customer relationship

Effective onboarding design is key to reducing churn and creating long-term value, yet brands often struggle with it. A Konecta telco case study shows how it can be done and the benefits it can deliver

It’s fair to say that too few brands understand the importance of onboarding, and even fewer know how to excel at it. As a result, they waste resources and potential.

It’s a common enough scenario. The brand puts resources, expertise and creativity into gaining new customers, and enjoys great success at acquiring them. But then it doesn’t follow through – or, at least, not to the same level. Since good onboarding is key to the rest of the customer lifecycle, the business risks weakening  – or even destroying – the customer relationship. 

In contrast, with a more expert approach to onboarding new customers – using integrated, flexible, digital and customised management of the new relationship – it’s possible to generate significant progress on customer loyalty and long-term value. 

We’ll use an example from Konecta’s own activity to show what we mean.

Onboarding in practice: a telco sector challenge

A major client in the telco sector approached us because its existing onboarding processes for newly acquired customers were simply not delivering. Onboarding is the key phase in terms of creating and steering the customer's perception of the company and the service, but the company was receiving some very unhappy onboarding feedback from the customers it had worked so hard to sign up:

  • "I activated the service but had difficulties in configuring it and the Q&As do not help"
  • "I am not clear on how to pay and count the different services I have activated"
  • "I cannot deactivate a feature set by default and the standard instructions do not explain this"
  • "I needed to activate several accounts, including business, and had to follow different procedures"
  • "Receiving support and getting information is not always easy and time-consuming, as self-care and fast channels are not always functional"

Some devastating comments, right? Especially given the marketing and sales efforts that had gone into acquiring those clients. So, the client asked us how to resolve the problems and pain points inherent in its onboarding processes:

  • the lack of an end-to-end (E2E) process
  • an absence of customer education
  • a failure to take charge of new customers
  • inadequate churn prevention.

The response: Onboarding 3.0

In order to design and implement a solution, the team at Konecta responded to this telco sector challenge in two stages:

  • Consultancy support, including a customer study and care / resolution strategies
  • A proposed optimization solution, based on integrated and evolved E2E management, which we called Onboarding 3.0.

At the heart of this solution was showing the client that its integrated E2E process for acquiring, onboarding, serving and then evolving customers – in other words, the customer lifecycle - could be viewed in terms of ‘macro-phases’. We defined these macro-phases, helping the client understand what was happening and what was needed at each phase, to integrate both front- and back-office improvements.

Macro-phase 1: Service / product activation. At this stage, the key expectations of the customer included speed, clarity and low effort – precisely what they weren’t being offered, according to the feedback above.

Macro-phase 2: Service / product utilization. Throughout this phase, customer expectations were largely around caring and effective management and support. Again, the existing feedback showed this wasn’t being delivered – due to a lack of tools and self-care channels.

Macro-phase 3: Evolution and loyalty. This phase offers good upgrade / evolution opportunities. However, in the case of the client, the onboarding weaknesses and inadequate churn prevention meant that too many customers were not reaching that stage of the journey.

Our solution for the telco then showed how to improve and optimize the different processes involved in these phases, integrating them into a smooth and seamless journey for the customer.

Support on all of these phases and steps of Onboarding 3.0 was offered through a range of Konecta tools – from multimedia content to virtual agents and digital assistants to remote visual support to the use of AI tools and predictive algorithms. Through these tools, the clients would be able to improve its service to the customer through both reactive and proactive activity. Here are just a few examples:

  • On the reactive side, the use of multimedia content and digital channels meant that customers could be taken through the onboarding processes, and helped through any issues, in the channel and manner they specified or preferred.
  • Also on the reactive side, the use of remote visual support and virtual agents meant that activation instructions, or instructions for deactivating certain features, or other instructions could be provided more effectively, with faster resolution.
  • In terms of proactivity, the use of predictive algorithms could help the telco to better anticipate issues and expectations, and also personalize its offer, in order to not only prevent attrition but also evolve the relationship.

Those are just three examples of improvements and opportunities generated. Feedback management also ensured that any ongoing unresolved or new pain points experienced by customers could be quickly identified and addressed.

Diving into the detail of E2E onboarding

Across all of this, the integrated end-to-end approach of Onboarding 3.0 accompanied the big-picture ‘macro-phases’ with absolute attention to detail at each step of the telco client’s customer lifecycle. The table below shows how Konecta’s toolkit was applied at every stage in order to provide the speed, clarity, effort minimalization, support, care and effective management that the telco’s customers expected throughout their onboarding journey and thereafter.

Equally importantly, the digital tools embedded in Konecta’s solution enabled the client to provide these different services and high standards of speed, care and support to customers cost-effectively. 

Looking to the longer term

An effective onboarding process confirms to the customer the value of the product or service they signed up for, and shows them that their expectations are likely to be met. Not only does it engage them with using the product, it starts to build the relationship longer-term – you’ve done the courtship, now you step into the ‘we’re getting serious’ stage of the relationship. Or, in other words, as well as preventing churn, it can open the door to loyalty, upselling and evolution opportunities with the customer.

As with Onboarding 3.0, an effective integrated end-to-end onboarding process transports client and customer beyond the initial order finalisation, shipping, activation, and receipt of contracts and invoices, towards a longer-term relationship. With the telco provider, this involved applying Konecta’s expertise and toolkit to two further stages – as shown in the table below.

Benefits for the client

With the various tools and processes of Onboarding 3.0 implemented for the telco client, its ongoing evaluation shows that significant benefits have been achieved by the transformation of its onboarding processes. These include:

  • improved end-to-end governance of first customer impact
  • evolved and effortless digital experience
  • reduction in cancellations (higher turnover)
  • reduction in customer contacts and recalls (lower costs)
  • reduction in churn (higher turnover)
  • improved loyalty (higher turnover)
  • increased customer value (higher turnover)

According to Stefano Madonna, Konecta’s Business Process Innovation & CX manager, ‘The objective of Onboarding 3.0 is to maximize the value and loyalty of the end-customer throughout each stage right through from order finalization to the receipt of invoice / payment. This is achieved by enhancing the care they receive from their new provider with a proactive, customer-centric approach that gives them an effortless experience. This can also be extended forwards to the entire lifecycle. 

‘With our telco client, the benefits of doing this were very quickly evident, and it was wonderful to see the change in the nature of the feedback they received from customers, and the wide range of metrics showing the improvements delivered. In this case, the client was in the telco sector, but the importance of onboarding certainly isn’t limited to that sector. From financial services to media to utilities, the importance of onboarding is key to building the relationship with the customer and building loyalty and value, and we’re here to help brands achieve that!”

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