Implementation Playbook

katroylance Member Posts: 2 Navigator
First Comment Photogenic

Hey Everyone,

I was tasked with building out an implementation playbook for new customers, which will be used during the onboarding process. Our implementation team is fairly new so this will be built from the ground up! What are some key playbooks that you've used frequently or seen the most success from?


  • Allison Mortens
    Allison Mortens Member Posts: 9 Navigator
    First Comment First Anniversary Name Dropper

    Hi hi! I'm happy to help and have a few questions to guide your process building.

    1. What information do you need from your customers to successfully implement your product? Using a standardized document, like a formatted Excel workbook, to collect this information from your customers sets both your team and your customers. The other piece of this is to make sure that your customers are clear on how to use that document and how long it should take to collect the needed details.
    2. How deep and wide is your standard scope of work for implementations? Establishing a standardized scope of work based on what and how successful customers use your platform will help you be able to manage, measure, and improve your processes going forward. Consider the level of engagement your team will have with the customer in this standardized scope as well.
    3. What milestones should your customers be achieving during implementation? Segmenting out your implementation process and journey by milestones will help track the progress of your implementations for your team and your customers alike. Within each milestone like Information Gathering (to start) may have a combination of tasks, meetings, and emails that drive the project forward. This may look like:
      • Email - schedule kickoff meeting
      • Task - log meeting notes
      • Email - send implementation workbook and instructions
      • Email - schedule workbook review
      • Task - log initial build

    This resource is another great place for strategies to employ and mistakes to avoid in developing these processes.

    Good luck!


  • Ashton Liu
    Ashton Liu Member Posts: 29 Expert
    First Comment First Anniversary

    +1 to Allison's points above.

    A few other thoughts:

    If you're building this from the ground up, which is a fantastic project, start simple. A standard Excel or Google sheet is a really good starting point. Task, helpful links, due date, assignee are common things to include. Due date will be very helpful especially if you have a planned or agreed upon go live date. Once you have a workflow ironed out, you can explore other technologies to help you better manage onboarding projects.

    There's a lot of content about implementation vs. onboarding. It might be useful to think of your process through this lens. Not to say you need to choose one over the other, but instead to think through which tasks are technical tasks required for your platform and which are oriented toward setting up your customers for success. Obviously in practice there is a lot of overlap, but you can organize some of the tasks and milestones around these.

    In terms of playbooks/processes for implementation, my org's technical implementation team uses a similar approach: kickoff to discuss milestones, followed by sharing a technical workbook/info pack, loading certain configurations necessary before integrations with external vendors.

    There's a separate slack channel Preflight Slack that might have content and conversations relevant to your project.

  • katroylance
    katroylance Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    First Comment Photogenic

    Thank you both for your comments! We're in the process of implementing ChurnZero, so that link was spot on!

    The plays I'm currently creating need entrance/exit criteria and we want to automate as much as we can. With this project, I've noticed that many of the steps within the implementation playbooks tend to be manual tasks as was mentioned in Allison's comment. For example, send an email, schedule a meeting, etc. If majority of the steps are manual, does that dampen the effectiveness of a playbook?

    This is my first time having to create, let alone use a playbook so I'm open to any thoughts on this!

  • Amanda Flurry
    Amanda Flurry Member Posts: 11 Navigator
    First Comment First Anniversary Name Dropper

    Hi @katroylance,

    I was perusing GGR and happened to see your most recent comment. Congrats on implementing ChurnZero! As a disclaimer and in full disclosure, I am a CSM at ChurnZero.

    One thing that's important to differentiate is Plays vs. Journeys. Journeys are intended to to measure progress of a customer through a process, like implementation. They are vital for answering questions like "Are my customers progressing as they should be through this process?" You can be alerted when a customer is falling behind and take action proactively! Plays work really well with Journeys. When you think of Plays, think automation. While Journeys + Plays both have external facing aspects, only a Play can send a message, be it an email or an in-app announcement!

    Accordingly, you make a great point about automation. For the example of sending an email to schedule a kickoff, I would queue that up as an email that requires review by your CSM. I bet the bulk of the language in that email is static for each customer and maybe only requires light customization if any. You can also use Journeys and Plays together! We have a really good video on this in our ChurnZero Academy. I am not linking since it's gated content, but check out the video "Streamline Customer Communication During Your Customer Onboarding." It's super helpful!

    Also, lean on your CSM! They'll be able to help you find ways to increase automation. And of course, posting here is great, too, so we all get to chime in.

    Let me know if you want to chat further!