How can Playbooks help in Defining Perfect Onboarding?

Just one phenomenal customer experience can make a world of difference.

Karl Wirth

This statement can’t be true enough for the Customer Onboarding Process in the SaaS world! Some professionals argue that the onboarding process is not easy. Basically, it is easy. However, the process of perfect onboarding, where the customers are happy, is tough! 

When you make the onboarding experience smooth for the customer, s/he is most likely to continue with your brand for a long time. That easily translates into continued recurring revenue for your business. 

Now, to tackle the difficulties in the process, a ‘Playbook’ can come to your rescue!

Customer Onboarding Template

Who is this blog post for?

If you’re a B2B SaaS firm, and you have an onboarding process at your disposal, then this blog is for you. Now, according to the complexity of your process, the steps to onboard your customer, and most importantly, the time frame may vary. However, the underlying principle remains the same- which is to onboard your customers perfectly!

What is a Customer Playbook ?

First things first, let us understand the concept of a playbook. Simply put, a playbook is a series of time-bound activities. It is a detailed checklist or blueprint of steps prescribed by the Head of Customer Success (CS) which should be followed during the customer journey. 

Also, it contains the best practices that you must follow while dealing with your customers to improve their overall experience with the product.

An onboarding playbook is, similarly, the detailed sketch of the onboarding process and the time required to complete the same.  With playbooks, you will get a real-time view of which customers are in which step of onboarding.

How do you build a Customer Success Playbook ?

While designing an onboarding playbook, you need to understand your existing onboarding process & divide it into various steps. For example- having a discovery call, authorizing integrations, setting up a training session for the customer, etc could be various stages in the onboarding journey. 

Once the steps are clearly defined, they can be categorized into either of the following elements. The onboarding playbook, typically, consists of:-

  • Tasks-  which the Customer Success Manager (CSM) has to perform 
  • Product Adoption Milestones- the crucial product feature that the customer has used and how well the customer has adopted the product.
  • Outcome- A high-level business outcome that you expect your customer to achieve in this step.

Now, when you design the onboarding playbook, you need to identify if the process is:-

  • Low-touch Onboarding- It is mostly self-served.
  • Medium-touch Onboarding- It needs the involvement of CSMs/Implementation Managers.
  • High-touch Onboarding- It relies heavily on the involvement of your team. 

This is an important step because the playbook has to be designed based on the intensity of the automation or the human intervention in the process. 

Customer Journey Template

ParticularsLow-touch Medium-touchHigh-touch
Process Series of automated tasks and activities. Requires a human touch in the process.Completely rely on human intervention. 
Duration of the onboarding process7-14 days1-4 weeks1-3 months
CommunicationAutomated but personalizedIntermediate interaction with the CSM.Customers require constant touchpoints with CSM.
Learning SystemNeed to have good learning material for customers to help configure the system on their ownProvide help whenever needed by the customer.Introduce each module separately along with the best practices & help the customer set up each module. 
TouchpointsLow touch-base with the customer.Interact with the customer wherever automation isn’t possible. Continuous touch-base required. 
Product capabilityShould be capable to onboard a customer.Product capability is less when compared to the low-touch model. Not reliable on the product to onboard a customer.

This level of understanding of your onboarding process is of immense help to create a playbook. The reason is that it clearly shows the different steps that need to be taken according to the process followed at your organization. 

Suggested Read: Setting up playbooks

Sample Playbook

As mentioned earlier, playbooks follow best practices that need to be considered while designing the respective processes. When you’ve sample playbooks ready to be reckoned the whole process becomes much easier to handle and keep the track of. 

Here are some sample playbook screenshots which can help you with the progress of the task at hand.

Pro-tip: Check out the Onboarding framework or a sample playbook that you can use to simplify your onboarding process. 

P.S. – The main image has been taken from

Swagata is Head of Marketing at CustomerSuccessBox. Advocate for great customer experience. She is an avid traveler and when she is not working always on the lookout for new places to explore.