Who here has a trick up their sleeve for engaging with ghosts?

  • 14 October 2023
  • 3 replies

Userlevel 7

I just met with a fellow onboarding person and they stumped me - so I’m determined to get to the bottom of this! They offer a self-serve platform (customers buy their software and set it up themselves). From there they get lost/disengage and they never hop on a call.

This causes a lot of lost accounts. Does anyone have a solid idea on how to address that?

Couple of things to know:

  1. They don’t have in-app guidance
  2. Their customers are not super tech savvy.
  3. The customers are on their feet and on the go a lot
  4. Their customers tend to ignore phone calls, blind events, emails, and texts.

Best answer by ArielHollie 17 October 2023, 02:34

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3 replies

Userlevel 7

This might be the billion dollar question! 

Gut reactions are - should we remove that option if it causes a lot of churn? It’s casting a wide revenue net, but it’s not really retaining anything.


Could the answer be that some sort of hybrid approach is required? For example - by signing up you agree to showing up to an onboarding call and if you don’t you lose access to the tool? 


Asking for a friend ;) 

Userlevel 2

@emaynez Would love to learn more about the customer if possible. I’m curious to hear more about how they know customers are getting lost or disengaged while also ignoring their outreach efforts.

Reading your description of the problem, it’s a tough cookie for sure. I’m not sure that we can say the self-serve model itself is the root cause of the churn because it’s drawing enough interest to bring in new customers. It does, however, seem that there could be points of disconnect in what’s being sold versus real-life application and functionality. 

I am, personally, not a fan of forcing a customer’s hand when it comes to user-training - to an extent. There’s a difference between giving something away and then taking it back versus saving the best parts for last. Maybe an approach could be that only certain features are released up-front while the release of remaining features is contingent on the completion of the onboarding call. Alternatively, you can always deploy accounts as ‘demo’ first before making them ‘live’. Again, that’s assuming that the issue lies in user-training.

I think the key here is to do more digging into the churn reasons. What kind of feedback are they collecting upon termination of an account? What type of self-serve product is this? I think we need more details - please. :)

Userlevel 5

Couple of things I can think of to help with this, but I don’t know of anything that will drive a 100% solution.


  1. Most important, make sure the self-implementation is TuboTax simple. If it isn’t, get rid of it. Think of how TurboTax changed the game for doing taxes, arguably one of the things people most dread on a yearly basis. Each step was simplified, it had a library of resources, video support, and now live chat. We had a saying when I was in the Air Force, “read a step, do a step, any trained monkey can do it”. If it’s not that simple, client’s simply won’t follow through.
  2. Offer live webinars on a schedule to assist in answering questions or providing a how-to for the most common sticky points. It doesn’t have to be a long call, just an hour, but some clients will want to have that live connection to ask a question even if they are configuring themselves
  3. Ensure you have a robust library to support the self-implementation. It should have articles, examples, video demos for harder pieces, and potentially a live chat to ask a question.
  4. Have automated follow-up emails with valuable information. 
    1. “You are X% complete on your self-implementation. It will only take about X minutes to finish your setup and be live!
    2. “Clients who use the platform benefit from….”
    3. Talk about the impact to them. What will it save them in $ or man hours.