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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.
Purna Chandra Mahato
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.
Aaron Hudson, Division Vice President, Implementation, ADP, works as a senior management professional with experience in several highly technical business environments. Significant progressive leadership experience in customer-facing, revenue generating roles as well as internal information technology support functions. Able to ensure a high level of customer service through a thorough understanding of new technologies and their impact on service delivery.
Amar Sidhu, Senior Vice President, Service Delivery and Production, ADP, is an ambitious and bottom-line results-oriented Executive level leader. He has extensive leadership experience in Sales, Customer and Employee experience, Contact Centres and Transformational Change. He confidently balances big-picture strategic thinking with attention to tactical details. Amar possess 22+ years experience in the financial industry, leading large-scale teams in complex cross-matrix operations.
Interviewed by Aishani Majumdar
/ / What are the technologies/trends driving customer onboarding today?
There are a lot of different trends impacting onboarding today, but the most prominent across customer profiles is digitization of the workplace.
Previously, organizations would adopt solutions that could only be accessed by a few individuals in specific roles, but now, solutions – regardless of primary function - are being used each day at all levels of the organization.
For example, in the past a company’s HR and payroll systems would generally only be used by HR and payroll teams. But now these solutions have functionality that makes make them a day-to-day tool for everyone from the front-line employee to the executive level.
This ‘consumerization’ of previously backend systems has resulted in more complex change management needs. Organizations now need onboarding and deployment programs for each distinct area of the business in order to clearly establish and communicate the benefits of the solution and to encourage adoption.
/ / 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?
ADP Canada has a standalone implementation team that is responsible for onboarding customers – from small mom-and-pop shops to large, multinational enterprises. The team functions as its own vertical, reporting directly to the executive level of the organization separate from other lines of business.
The ADP Canada implementation team is completely internal, and all functions and aspects of an implementation are managed and executed by our team. We do this because of the nature of our offerings. HR and payroll require a complex and thorough understanding of things like legislative and compliance requirements that our customers face.
To best deliver that high-touch, high-quality experience for each of our customers, we ensure our implementation team has individuals with extensive and unique skill sets, and a team for each implementation. Having a team internally, managing all aspects and functions of the implementation is the most effective way to try to work towards delivering a positive client experience 100% of the time.
/ / Do you provide onboarding services to all your customers or only to select customers? If the latter, how do you select these customers?
We provide onboarding support to 100% of our clients. Any organization that works with ADP Canada – from small shops to large enterprises – receives assistance.
Implementation needs vary greatly based on the size of an organization, as well as the solutions and technologies they are adopting. One of the things we hear most frequently from our clients is their appreciation for having an implementation associate assigned to them, regardless of their size.
/ / What are the channels of communication you use for onboarding customers (video call, phone call, email, chat or on-premise)?
We use a wide array of communications channels to support all aspects of implementation, and typically they are tailored to the products and services being adopted, as well as the complexity of the implementation itself.
For a small business, an implementation can be as streamlined as a phone call with screen sharing and can be completed in one to two hours.
For our medium and large-sized clients, where often the implementation is a little more complex, more ongoing touchpoints are required. In these cases, we use everything from video and phone calls, to secure email, secure file transfer and on-premise meetings.
Our goal in any implementation is to use the communication channels that best allow us to maximize productivity and effectiveness, ensuring security and privacy in the sharing of all information, and creating a seamless experience for the customer.
/ / What types of content assets does your organization use for customer onboarding?
One of the most effective assets we have for implementation is our Getting Started Guide – a tool intended to give clients a thorough overview of every stage of the implementation.
The guide outlines steps that the organization should take while the implementation team is being coordinated, the types of data and documents that they will need to collect and provide as a part of the implementation, information on how to enrol and engage with online training tools, and guidance about steps that can be taken throughout the process to ensure a smooth and effective implementation.
/ / What are the top challenges you face in onboarding your customers?
There are really three challenges that are universal when it comes to onboarding – for both ADP and other providers.
First, client resource availability - smooth implementations require focused and dedicated resources, and in many cases, payroll and HR practitioners are tasked with taking the lead in addition to their day-to-day workloads.
Second, often we see clients attempting to do too much all at once –concurrently attempting to update systems across the business. On paper, the synergistic nature of attempting to do multiple implementations at once seems realistic, but the reality is that it can often lead to projects colliding with one another, and unforeseen challenges stemming from changing multiple areas of the infrastructure at once.
Third – and we see this in all sizes of customers from large enterprises to small businesses – is an implementation beginning before buy-in has been secured from all internal stakeholders that will be impacted. If a new HR or payroll system is going to be implemented it has the potential to impact the way reports are generated for finance, change the way that supervisors interact with their employees on matters like pay stubs and benefits information and even how employee performance is managed. Stakeholders across the business need to be engaged early to ensure a smooth implementation and easy adoption by all staff – even if IT and HR may be leading the adoption of the new solution.
/ / What are the top benefits that you derive out of your customer onboarding program (increased CSAT, increased loyalty, positive publicity, or higher renewals)?
All of our internal metrics at ADP Canada point to the fact that a positive implementation experience for our clients has an immense impact on client satisfaction and loyalty. We work hard to put processes in place that limit potential barriers to implementation, while making every effort to ensure the experience is smooth, manageable and results in a positive experience for the client.
We measure customer satisfaction across different areas of the business – everything from how a client interacts with our account management team to implementation and ongoing client service after the solution is in place.
At ADP Canada we want our clients to be more than customers – we want them look to us as a trusted partner. We continually strive to create a positive experience across all areas of the business.
/ / On average, how long does your company spend on onboarding each customer?
HR and payroll can be complex and, depending on a number of factors, such as business size and solution type, implementation can span anywhere from hours to weeks – as with any type of implementation across any business, it is really dependent on the scope of the project.
/ / Do you customize onboarding programs for different customers?
Every implementation starts with a standard template – a proven and repeatable framework that, regardless of client size or suite of services being adopted, provides a basic roadmap and plan for the implementation. Based on years of learning and refinement, we know this framework leads to success for clients adopting services from ADP Canada.
With that said, we also know that the needs of an organization vary from one to the next, so we also customize our approach to meet those needs. While smaller organizations that are using fewer solutions typically require less customization, mid-market and large organization require it more frequently.
For instance, an organization that has sites across Canada may look to roll-out a new solution in a phased-market approach, so we would work closely with them to customize the onboarding approach to allow for roll-out in one market first, followed by others shortly after.
Training, an area that we provide our clients at no cost, is another key area where often we tailor our services to better serve the client – finding the right mix of on-premise and on-demand training to help their organization with adoption, as well as customizing the training approach to best suit the company’s needs.
Our approach is to begin with a formula and a plan that we know provides the foundation for a successful implementation, and then work closely with the client to adapt that plan to any and all unique needs of the organization.
/ / How is resource allocation for onboarding programs done in your organization? Are there dedicated account managers for each program?
We have a dedicated and specialized team of resource managers at ADP Canada that act as a central hub for resource identification and allocation for our clients. These resource managers analyse the scope of the implementation project and determine the type and number of resources required, and match to the implementation staff that are best suited to deliver a great experience for the client.
The resource managers work closely with our implementation team to assemble and assign a project team that provides any specialized knowledge needed (such as expertise with complex benefit plans, etc.) and is physically located as close to the client as possible (for any on premise supported needed).
Once the implementation team has been identified, an implementation manager is appointed to the client to ensure that the program is executed successfully.
/ / What are the tools you use for customer onboarding?
We’re fortunate that at this stage of ADP Canada’s maturity many of the onboarding tools we use have been developed as a part of the solutions that are being adopted themselves, allowing for tight integration and ease of use and access for our clients.
For example, some of the electronic tools used to collect data and requirements from customers – such as payroll files – can be shared with us by the client via a tool directly connected to ADP Workforce Now®, which is the solution they are adopting, as opposed to through another method. This can streamline a significant part of the onboarding process. We work to expedite the process via what we call “interviews” – electronic tools that allow us to document client requirements while at the same time doing configuration. The shift to the Cloud means that fewer steps are needed to securely share information, and processes can be streamlined to expedite onboarding timelines.
For smaller customers that may not currently need to adopt a solution as robust as ADP Workforce Now®, our implementation team will walk through the solution being adopted and ask specific questions of the client while at the same time doing configuration. This allows us to not only provide back a report of our understanding of their requirements at the completion of that call, but to already have their solution set up in a manner that will allow them to begin using it.
/ / Have you invested in advanced analytics to track the performance of your onboarding programs?
Analytics are a core aspect of how we measure the success of our implementations, with a specific focus on customer satisfaction.
We base our metrics on the Net Promoter Score approach, and one of the first touchpoints for our clients post-implementation is a survey (conducted and analysed by a third-party resource) to quantify their experience. Our goal is to always score a nine or ten-out-of-ten, and any feedback below that level initiates a process in which the account manager for the client makes contact within 24 hours to address any issue, determine what could be improved and ensure client satisfaction.
We also utilize analytics to conduct keyword analysis on those same customer satisfaction surveys, to allow us to most effectively determine ongoing trends that could otherwise be overlooked. By focusing on these underlying trends that may not be reflected in simple scoring, we can make more informed decisions faster, allowing us to provide the best service and deliver the most satisfaction for our clients.
/ / 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 implementation challenges that clients face, particularly when they don’t have a dedicated team for the implementation, is finding the hours needed to manage the internal requirements of the project on top of their day-to-day roles.
As such, one of the big trends that we’ll see over the coming years is a push towards “All-In Implementation” – effectively, reducing the manpower needed from the client organization to as close to zero as possible. Of course, there will always be a level of input needed from within the organization, but the ability to take as much of the effort out of the process for clients will be a differentiating factor moving forward.
For service providers like ADP Canada, one of the big trends will be delivering an onboarding experience that is more reflective of a B2C approach, than B2B. Now that solutions are being adopted by users in many more areas of the organization than before, both the tools themselves and the way they are presented to the user need to be more user-centric and more in line with consumer products.
Ultimately, the goal would be for a frontline employee to be as excited to download the ADP Workforce Now® app from the App Store or Google Play, as they are in downloading an app for a game or personal fitness.
Lastly, clients promoting their ROI in the new tools, and how onboarding impacts that return will be a key trend moving forward. All service and solution providers will be focused on better displaying best practices right from implementation, as well as providing advice that will help clients derive the best value and meaningful results from their investments.
If a client is going to invest in tools that are promised to be more productive and profitable, they need to see exactly how that happens and how the needle is being moved.
/ / In which areas of customer onboarding does your organization plan to invest over the coming years? (Scaling team, Technology or any other)
We’re in a very fortunate position in that ADP is growing strongly in Canada, and our customer profile is growing as well. One of the core areas we’ll be investing in is growing the size of our team to ensure we are always able to provide the high-touch and high-level of expertise and experience our clients deserve when undertaking an implementation. Along with adding skilled individuals with experience across the organization, we’ll also be looking to invest in adding talent geographically, ensuring those individuals are located close to where our clients are based.
Beyond individuals, we are also continuing to invest in integrating functions of the onboarding process directly into our solutions themselves, digitizing areas of the implementation that are currently conducted manually and streamlining the process for our customers. The more that can be integrated into the solution, the easier the process for the client and less effort required on their part, which will allow us to move closer to delivering on the ‘All-In Implementation’ style offering they would like to see.
Lastly, investing in value-added services will also be a focus. Increasing customizable training for our clients on new solutions, providing in-depth advice on how to improve internal business processes to maximize ROI from a solution, and digitizing processes in order to allow our team to focus on higher-value service to the client during and immediately following implementation are all areas of onboarding where we see an opportunity to deliver unmatched customer satisfaction over the coming years.
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
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
Connecting customers with each other is crucial for onboarding
Mathew Sweezey, Principal of Marketing Insights, Salesforce
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