Executive Education

If You Fail, We Fail: Onboarding in the World of the Cloud

Onboarding customers, ensuring their success, and driving long-term satisfaction are mission critical in the world of cloud-based software solutions. For us, that means ensuring all of our customer-facing roles understand our customers’ definitions of success.

From the moment we onboard and welcome a new customer – from implementation through to production – we’re proactive. We stay engaged. We strive for one end-goal: to ensure every customer remains a “customer for life.”

Onboarding Experiences in the Cloud

Two unique situations recently reminded me of how radically different and beneficial the cloud world is, particularly in two areas: speed and support.

First, during an executive planning session, my CEO asked me how long it took to implement our case tracking software. I was shocked when I heard the words “weeks” come out of my mouth instead of “months.” It was true, yet it sobered me to hear it.

My previous experience deploying similar applications in the on-premises world included a very long and painful hardware procurement and configuration process, design reviews, change control, and various meetings with IT and Operations.

In those days, I had a day job to do. If I could have paid a premium to get things up and running sooner, I would have happily handed it over out of my own pocket.

In the second situation, I was purchasing a solution from a cloud vendor. I was experiencing something similar to what our own customers experience when they onboard. Keep in mind, my job as VP of Customers for Life is to ensure our customers get the support, tools, and resources they need to have success with our solution. Purchasing and deploying software for my department, to help make that happen, is certainly important. It’s not necessarily something I do every day, though.

After signing the contract, the vendor did a great job explaining what I should expect, what they would do, and how we would work together. I liked this – a lot. I was glad that we take a similar approach with our customers.

Failure Is Not an Option

I was then reminded of how different the cloud business model is: if you fail, we fail. Immediately. In the on-premises world, if you fail, our product becomes shelf-ware. No one may hear – or care – about it for (literally) years. In many cases, the maintenance bill continues to be paid by IT.

In the cloud world, the business model works like this. If we don’t make you successful as quickly as possible, you won’t renew. If you don’t renew, we don’t make money. In fact, we typically don’t break even until somewhere between year 2 and year 3 of a customer lifecycle. This is built into our business model.

So What Do We Do?

We do everything to ensure you’re seeing value in the solution as quickly as possible – and that you’re supported along the way. We know you have day jobs. We know you don’t have the luxury of taking a month off to implement new software. We know that you probably haven’t done this before. We know your teams are pulled in a number of different directions.

That’s why we have a formula for success.

When we welcome you to the Host Analytics family, we lay out the plan that will make you successful as quickly as possible. We tell you exactly what you can expect in the days and weeks ahead.

We introduce you to not only your implementation team, but also to your Customer Success Manager and Technical Account Manager. Their only job is to ensure you have everything you need to be successful. They watch over you as you go through each step in our well-defined process (yes, they have been called “angels”).

We take your definition of “success” and write it in stone. We go back to it over and over again – and again. We refine it based on what we hear from you. We remember that you haven’t done this before. We know that things change along the way.

What’s important is that we have a dialog about the value you want to get out of the solution. Then, we make sure we deliver that value – and more.

At the end of the day, we are only as successful as our customers are. Our job is to make sure that you renew your subscription and become a “customer for life.” We do that by meeting your definition of success as quickly as is humanly possible. I look forward to working with you to make that happen!

Written by Alison Holmlund is Vice President of Customers for Life at Host Analytics.

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Alison Holmlund
Alison Holmlund is Vice President of Customers for Life at Host Analytics. She provides strategy, guidance, and motivation to the Host Analytics Customers for Life team, charged with ensuring the ongoing success and satisfaction of all Host Analytics customers. During the last 15 years, Alison has helped fast-growing technology companies manage customer success. Alison has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and mathematics from New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, where she also played on the volleyball and softball teams.