Transform Traditional Customer Onboarding with Virtual Simulations
Traditionally, onboarding a new technology customer involves a series of training sessions — often a recorded demo — that showcases the features of the technology solution for the client. At best, these demos would be optimized by presenting a different recorded demo for different client groups or teams, to customize features and benefits to those most critical to that particular team.
However, customer onboarding is successful when it helps new customers get maximum value out of a product or service. While traditional customer onboarding sessions may teach a new client how to use a product or service: they tend to be ineffective in engaging teams, and in driving behavioral change that improves technology adoption rates.
Check out our blog: 5 Stages of Technology Adoption
To make the customer onboarding experience truly effective, and optimize the delivery of onboarding information and technology adoption (while standing out from the crowd), a radically different approach is needed.
One way that technology companies are rethinking customer onboarding is by integrating virtual simulations as a learning tool. Virtual simulations, that can be customized to suit different needs, offer onboarding using experiential learning: improving understanding, retention, engagement, and technology adoption.
5 Phases of Virtual Simulations
A well-designed virtual simulation may have different contexts on the surface: perhaps one involves landing a spacecraft on the moon, another opening a coffee shop. However, there are five phases that are common to a well-designed virtual simulation that can be found in any context: to improve adoption, reduce churn, and draw more tangible links to ROI.
Phase 1: Mission aligned
The first phase of a virtual simulation for customer onboarding is mission alignment: introducing participants to a performance challenge without introducing the technology at hand. Instead, deliver information and context to align to the mission and sub team tasks, clarify roles and responsibilities, interdependencies and ways of working.
Focusing the team on the challenge at hand provides an immersive experience, drawing the team together with a shared objective. Be creative with the context: this fun element will keep people engaged — whereas a familiar scenario, or one directly related to the client’s business model may distract team members, or cause them to rely on real-world subject matter expertise instead of focusing on the simulation.
Phase 2: Challenge accepted
Once the teams are aligned with the mission, they will be motivated to accomplish the goal — and beat the other teams. A well-designed simulation will then inundate the teams with information: some of it relevant, some not. The teams will be driven to access pertinent data: but they will have to sift through mounds of data to find it, just like in real life. Additionally, at this point the best simulations will not provide all of the data that is needed: leaving some gaps in necessary information to be discovered along the way.
Complexity at this stage is good — with a focus on mission, context and data, but not yet on technology.
Phase 3: Frustration achieved
Purposely frustrating participants seems counter-intuitive, particularly for experienced customer onboarding specialists: whose primary goal has long been to eliminate frustrations! However, a well-designed simulation includes a period where customers are frustrated, building feelings of isolation by emphasizing information scarcity, silos, and barriers to effective communication.
At this point, provide teams with an ineffective solution — the antithesis of your product. Make it difficult to read and poorly presented, and most importantly, a tool that doesn’t help or support decision-making and performance! Much the same way that providing limited information forces the team to identify gaps in data, a sub-optimal solution helps them identify gaps in what they have, versus what they need.
Phase 4: Questions answered
Once you’ve built up frustration in participants and made them identify (on their own) the information and solution that would solve their problems, you provide it: introducing your technology.
This introduction will be structured to display the ways that your solution meets the needs that were identified above: providing both the data that forms the basis of good decision-making, and the tools to make it happen.
You know when a magician does a trick and you sort of know how he did it but it still has an impact? This is very similar. While participants in a virtual simulation may understand the way that the experience is structured, they will still find it effective: remaining engaged, understanding the technology, and transferring that knowledge to real life — all contributing to better adoption and improved ROI.
Phase 5: Technology adopted
Great simulation experiences not only bring your technology product to life, but they also connect technology to real life: to team behaviours and new ways of working. A well-designed simulation will provide the customer onboarding experience by which new clients realize the features and benefits of the solution on their own: driving adoption with experiential learning, and improving results.
see6 offers contextual simulations targeted at improving the performance of virtual teams, providing the insight needed to create real behavioral change for real business results. If you are interested in learning more about how see6 can help your virtual team reach its goals, contact us today.