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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Mathew Sweezey is Principal of Marketing Insights for Salesforce, a pioneer of the marketing automation space, and respected as one of the top minds on the future of Marketing. A consummate thinker and writer, Mathew’s work has been featured in Forbes, The Guardian, AdAge, The Economist and numerous other publications. Mathew’s second Book “The Context Revolution” is due in 2019, being published by the Harvard Business Press.
Interviewed by Aishani Majumdar
/ / What are the technologies/trends driving customer onboarding today?
The major underlying trend driving onboarding today is customer experience. Brands are realizing that the initial sale is only one part of the customer experience, and by optimizing all parts of the customer journey they are able to increase revenues by a significant margin. A Harvard study (https://hbr.org/2014/10/the-value-of-keeping-the-right-customers) found a 5% increase in customer retention equates an increase anywhere from 25%-95% in bottom line revenue. Onboarding is one of the easiest ways for brands to increase lifetime customer value. At Salesforce, we think of onboarding as welcoming someone to our family through a personalized customer journey.
/ / Do you have a standalone customer onboarding team? If yes, under which vertical (sales, marketing or customer success) does it function? If no, is the onboarding function outsourced?
All onboarding is conducted by internal teams who onboard thousands of customers each month. To manage such a large program we use our own Success Cloud - which offers resources, services, and trusted experts - to help customers achieve their goals.
/ / Do you provide onboarding services to all your customers or only to select customers? If the latter, how do you select these customers?
All customers are onboarded, yet each product or solution has a unique onboarding program created and managed by the team. For larger customers we may also deploy an onsite team to assist the onboarding process.
/ / What are the channels of communication you use for onboarding customers (video call, phone call, email, chat or on-premise)?
Currently, we use email, webinars, our customer community, our interactive learning platform (Trailhead), and phone calls.
/ / What types of content assets does your organization use for customer onboarding?
We use a wide range of assets, but in general, we rely heavily on digital assets. Of course, we have an array of automated tools and personalized journeys to get customers up and running. Webinars are effective at showing customers how to get started and the basics of how to set up their software. We also introduce customers to our customer community, and connect them to our learning platform Trailhead. Connecting customers with each other is imperative to onboarding and Forrester research found that customers who join a community (https://a.sfdcstatic.com/content/dam/www/ocms/assets/pdf/communities/Forrester-TEI-Customer-Community-Case-Study.pdf) create 50% fewer support cases and have an increased net promoter score by 39%. Onboarding is more than just teaching someone how to use your tool, it’s about helping them find a community as well.
This wide range of digital assets allows us to use email as the central delivery method for introducing the customer to the many assets they have access to, ensuring they know where to find answers, teaching them how to use their software, and setting them up for success.
/ / What are the top challenges you face in onboarding your customers?
Top challenges for all marketers is keeping a consistent communication and not letting customers fall off a cliff. A customer may be in conversation with several team members, such as sales and support. We must coordinate how we reach out to the customer in a day, so not to burden or confuse them. We try to automate the process as much as possible allowing us to scale our success teams one-to-one efforts with customers.
/ / What are the top benefits that you derive out of your customer onboarding program (increased CSAT, increased loyalty, positive publicity, or higher renewals)?
The largest benefit we receive from onboarding is greater lifetime customer value. The more a customer is able to leverage our products, the more they use it. The more they use it the longer they stay a customer. It’s a pretty simple value proposition. Our customers aren’t just buying a tool, they are acquiring a relationship. Onboarding is symbiotic, producing better outcomes for both the brand and the customer.
/ / On average, how long does your company spend on onboarding each customer?
Time spent onboarding customers varies by solution and the customers’ engagement with the program. The program will evolve depending on the customers' needs.
/ / Do you customize onboarding programs for different customers?
Yes, onboarding programs differ based on the solution and customer.
/ / How is resource allocation for onboarding programs done in your organization? Are there dedicated account managers for each program?
Each onboarding program is specific to a solution and customer. Onboarding generally isn’t owned by a single person since it often involves lots of moving parts, and in some cases a dedicated team for larger customers. The resources needed for onboarding vary based on the program but generally require content to be created, emails need to be drafted, programs set up, and the entire effort needs to be curated and monitored to ensure the customer is staying on track.
/ / What are the tools you use for customer onboarding?
From a marketing perspective, we have a series of tools and automated processes to create a customer journey. When a sale occurs it is reflected on the customer record stored in our CRM, which can trigger marketing automation tools that execute an onboarding program that directs customers to different assets. Each customer onboarding journey can be unique, and we use Salesforce to track different assets and manage the customer journey.
/ / Have you invested in advanced analytics to track the performance of your onboarding programs?
We use our Einstein analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to track performance, personalize the customer onboarding journey and automate processes.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive customer onboarding in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
One of the biggest drivers of onboarding in the future will be learning platforms. Customer onboarding via email is just the delivery method, the real power of onboarding is continuous education. At Salesforce we use Trailhead, an interactive, gamified learning platform we developed to help customers learn how to use our tools and improve their careers. We have over one million Trailblazers and 500 modules on Trailhead spanning Salesforce skills, tech skills like AI and mobile app dev, soft skills and content from companies including Google and AWS. Customers who use Trailhead average purchase 2X more, and they remain customers 4X longer than customers who are not active in Trailhead.
/ / In which areas of customer onboarding does your organization plan to invest over the coming years (scaling team, technology or any other)?
We’ll continue to invest in creating better and more intelligent experiences at every step of the customer journey.
Onboarding as a customer journey
Customer onboarding is one area where improvements made could tangibly affect business metrics positively.
A good onboarding experience leads to trust and high satisfaction
Narsi Subramanian, SVP of Customer Success & Support, MapR Technologies
Customer onboarding is key to delivering high-quality experience to customers
Aaron Hudson, Division Vice President, Implementation & Amar Sidhu, Senior Vice President, Service Delivery & Production, ADP
Align content assets to each step in the onboarding journey
David Karp, Executive Vice President, Customer Success, Numerator
Avoid the cookie-cutter approach in customer onboarding
Silvia Veronese, VP of Global Customer Success, Guavus
Let’s not forget the value of the human connection in customer onboarding
Nancy Porte, Vice President of Global Customer Experience, Verint
Locking in your onboarding plan to address scope-creep
Dave Ragals, SVP Customer Success, IgnitionOne