Outsourcing the onboarding/implementation and the structure of CSM department

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Vid Lekovac
Vid Lekovac Member Posts: 4 Seeker
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edited August 2023 in CS Org Conversations

Hi all,

I have been lurking around here for a while and I would like to first say I got so much useful information here! Today I have a question or rather a topic I would like to have a discussion about - outsourcing certain CS elements. 

Our department is at a place where we have to plan and prepare a strategy for the department's future. We see a couple of possible directions, however, we would like to keep the core team small and not expand. We are currently responsible for the tickets, onboardings, NPS, and renewals. With this in mind, we are thinking of outsourcing some of the workloads. For example, we would like to outsource the onboarding of the customer. Generally, I am against outsourcing due to the decrease in the quality, however, I can not find relevant examples to show to our management that this would be a bad idea and maybe I am wrong and this would work well. 

My question is if anyone has experience with outsourcing?

I would think a good solution would also be to just increase our department just a bit and have a dedicated implementation and support team member. The CSM would then be the person overlooking the onboarding and customers' journey after the sale. Or we could just invest in CS software and automate as much as possible, however, I am not sure if we are at a point where we could justify high costs.

I hope the above makes sense! If anyone has any similar issues I would be happy to discuss it on a short call ?

Thanks,

Vid

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  • Jeffrey Kushmerek
    Jeffrey Kushmerek Member Posts: 96 Expert
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    edited August 2021
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    Hi Vid, 
    while I applaud your efforts to keep your team small and agile, I would highly advise against outsourcing the onboarding and implementation. There is arguably no other post sale task that is most important. You only have 1 chance to make a good first impression, and by having an outsourced team do the onboarding, you are going to seriously jeopardize that.
  • Ben Simms
    Ben Simms Member Posts: 3 Seeker
    edited August 2021
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    It makes sense to compare and contrast your options depending on your implementation and onboarding scope.  I recommend connecting with @Jeff Heckler to at least have an initial discussion. 
  • Shareil Nariman
    Shareil Nariman Member Posts: 9 Contributor
    edited August 2021
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    Hey Vid!

    Great question and discussion topic. I've done both for a while now (building onboarding from the ground up internally and outsourcing parts of it). Both have pros and cons, but my general take is outsourcing a critical part of the customer experience like onboarding is not great for said customer experience.


    To the point that @Jeffrey Kushmerek makes, this is a chance to set those customers up for success, you want your onboarding team to really be bought into your approach and company vision, that's hard to get when you outsource those roles. 


    As for CS tooling, you'd be surprised how many options there are. I'm biased to Arrows.to since I work here and we are building tooling for that onboarding journeys, but they are worth checking out as a means to supplement your current team and making them more efficient vs. cutting costs by outsourcing that function. 


    In my experience, this ends up resulting in support tickets and questions about the process anyway, so you'll have to invest to solve for that problem too if you go the outsourcing route. 


    Happy to chat more when you want!

    Shareil
     

  • Andreas Knoefel
    Andreas Knoefel Member Posts: 74 Expert
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    edited August 2021
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    The question is not if to outsource, the questions is when.

    Here is my quick litmus test:
    1. Do you have dedicated onboarding SME's?
    2. Do you have a solid onboarding methodology with templates, plans, procedures that is flexible enough to be integrated into their framework?
    3. Do you have partners entrenched at customers who become the default GoTo (or GoThrough partner)?
    4. What incentives do you provide for the partner, who is either a VAR or an hourly body shop?
    5. Can you enable, nurture and support your partners?
    I answered yes to all five when I managed CS with a small team AND nurtured partners from boutiques to the Deloitte's and KPMG's, and worked with a partner network who became an extension of our team.

    Check also this article of mine for further details: The journey to operational excellence - customer success from early teams to mature operations
  • Jeff Heckler
    Jeff Heckler Member, CS Leader Posts: 80 Expert
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    edited August 2021
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    Vid,


    Your search to identify areas of efficiency and entertaining a 3rd party to meet those needs is achievable and will prove out via ROI.

    The approach is much like @Andreas Knoefel starts to open up.

    You can build highly repeatable processes with measureable rigor to direct toward an outsourced model.

    I would love to discuss over a short-call, as you allude to.

    Thanks,

    Jeff

    jheckler@marketsource.com

  • Vid Lekovac
    Vid Lekovac Member Posts: 4 Seeker
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    edited August 2021
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    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for the reply! 

    In my previous experience outsourcing tends to decrease the quality as well and I agree onboarding is important. Also, our software has a steep learning curve which makes it even more important.  However, I am curious how would you then see us scaling up? The only other way I see is automation (in-app onboarding using some external software) where the customer gets onboarded with email sequences, webinars, and video tutorials.

    Best,
    Vid
  • Vid Lekovac
    Vid Lekovac Member Posts: 4 Seeker
    First Anniversary Photogenic
    edited August 2021
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    Hi Andreas,

    Thanks for the reply. 

    I really like the litmus test. I will definitely try it with our team. Also, I will read the article you shared.

    Would you mind if I get back to you and ask some additional questions? 

    Best,
    Vid

  • Vid Lekovac
    Vid Lekovac Member Posts: 4 Seeker
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    edited August 2021
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    Hi Jeff,

    I really appreciate you are up for a call! 

    I'll reach out to you soon if that is okay with you. I just want to fall back and organize my thoughts first.

    Best,
    Vid
  • Jeff Heckler
    Jeff Heckler Member, CS Leader Posts: 80 Expert
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    edited August 2021
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    Vid,


    You are most welcome.

    Yes, of course, - I am happy to discuss at any time.



    Best regards,

    Jeff


    jheckler@marketsource.com

  • Jeff Heckler
    Jeff Heckler Member, CS Leader Posts: 80 Expert
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    edited August 2021
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    Vid,


    I competely understand your concerns, and they are valid.


    With the right staffing augmentation and professional services and resources partner (outsource, 3rd party) a client can receive a higher quality of skill in the marketplace and get implemented much more quickly.  Third parties have rapid deployment methodologies and practices created from years of creating similar environments and programs.


    In regards to scaling up: yes, automation, particularly in-app (both adoption and just-in-time education), could be a key component of the strategy.  However, blended models including initial human engagement based on customer profiling, data enrichment, and health scoring can also prove to be of very high value.  Meanwhile, there are a near unlimitess number of ways to establish, introduce, and maximize digital enablement and support strategies (online community, support, knowledge base(s), FAQ(s), webinars, short-length videos, online tutorials, and learining guides - to name a few).


    Jeff Heckler

    MarketSource

    jheckler@marketsource.com