How To Instantly Smash Buyer Relationships: Have A Awful, Buyer Information Onboarding Procedure
When I was younger (and much dumber), I bought an existing day spa business. On the day I took over, I had 16 employees, 7 treatment rooms, 2 pedicure chairs, and 0 computers. We booked appointments manually and paid our employees by counting up their appointments, multiplying that number by a straight percentage, subtracting out taxes, adding in tips, and then handwriting them a check. A low-tech process, to be sure.
I decided to sign up with a payroll and benefits services provider to unburden myself of this manual labor and let someone else take it over. I was delighted to pay $2.50 or so per paycheck just to not have to worry about it ever again. There was just one problem: from the time I signed my name on the dotted line to the time I started receiving services, it was 11 weeks. 11 weeks?!
Why did it take so long? Well, some of it was my fault, to be sure. I had the outrageously fun task of filling out a spreadsheet putting in information on each and every one of my employees. Whether they were hourly or worked on commission. Whether they received tips. Whether they were eligible for benefits. What workers’ compensation category they were in. Et cetera. So I did drag my feet on that one. Then, after I submitted it, it took them eons to get it in, with the result that I had to continue my old sub-optimal manual payroll process for almost a quarter longer than I had wanted to.
Now that I work at an integration software company, I’ve come to understand just WHY it was that it took my payroll services provider so long to onboard my data.
Typical Customer Data Onboarding IS A Lengthy Process
According to industry analysts, the typical B2B customer onboarding process is a well-known struggle that usually takes between 2 to 3 months. The big reason for this is that service providers — like payroll service providers — have very diverse customer bases. There are small business customers (like my business) all the way up to companies with thousands of employees. There are low-tech customers (again, like my business) all the way up to companies with huge IT departments. There are many formats that data can reside in – Excel spreadsheets, XML, EDI messages, even free-flowing script. There are many ways to send data – secure FTP servers, web services, email, phone, and fax.
Once the payroll provider got my data, they still had to unpack it, convert it to THEIR format, and then load it into their back-end systems in order to cut checks for my employees. When you consider all of this, you can easily see that each new customer they sign up could very well be unique, and that customer data onboarding could require as many processes as there are…well, customers.
But just because I understand the problem now doesn’t mean I understood then. Back then, I just perceived my payroll services provider as being difficult to do business with. In fact, because the onboarding experience had left such a bad taste in my mouth, I quickly changed payroll services providers as soon as my contract term was up.
It’s All Because of Crappy Integration Software
The root cause of taking so long is that all of these processes depend upon a small group of people with specialized skills to perform. Namely, technical developers and coders who work in the IT department. But it’s not their fault — the integration software platforms that have dominated the market to date have all been built FOR the godlike coders of the world. It’s no wonder that only the godlike coders could use them.
The platforms were so inflexible that any changes to existing processes required extensive IT involvement, even if they were minimal, because each change required custom code to enact. Crappy integration software creates a LOSE-LOSE situation. The customer loses because they have to wait 11 weeks to start receiving automated service. The business loses because they have an unhappy customer already disillusioned about their relationship and itching to get out.
It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way
There is an alternative. Having easy-to-use integration software can enable customer data onboarding within a matter of hours or minutes. It’s not that the software has to be more powerful…it’s that it has to enable a WHOLE NEW group of people to operate it. Namely, the non-technically savvy. Namely, business users who don’t know how to code. This is the reason Adeptia went into business in the first place — to empower integration for the masses, and to help businesses drastically improve their customer data onboarding processes (and accelerate their revenues to boot). By reducing dependence on IT and allowing business users to create and maintain secure connections with customers, our service provider customers have reduced their customer data onboarding time by as much as 70%. This, in turn, leads to good customer service and happy customers from the outset.
Which is just how it should be.