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Make Customer On-Boarding Easy as Paint-by-Numbers for Cloud Services

As a kid with his first paint by numbers kit, you were given all the materials you needed as well as the guidance

First color all the ones with yellow.  Then move onto the twos in blue and the threes in black.  In just a few minutes you are making progress towards having all the little numbered areas filled.  You take a break, step back and are amazed at what YOU are creating..it’s a portrait of the Mona Lisa and it looks darn good.

As a kid with his first paint by numbers kit, you were given all the materials you needed as well as the guidance on how to get the job done.  You didn’t have to go to five stores, go hunt down a brush, or go to an 8 hour off-site to get trained on the history of the Mona Lisa. You had all the tools, the knowledge and the guidance right there in that little box.  Perfect for getting the job done.

As a cloud services provider you can use this same approach to enable your customers and get them started down the right path quickly without overwhelming them.  Earlier this year I launched a new website for a typical small business.  They asked for my help because they were intimidated by the thought of hosting and building their own site.  I do have to admit that once I signed up for the account the barrage of instructional emails was like rain in Seattle – abundant!  My inbox filled up almost daily with notes on how to setup our new servers, how to turn on email services, how to optimize our website for SEO and on an on.  I applaud the service provider for trying to help me get started but the good deed turned me sour after about ten or fifteen instructional emails.

My own real world example is probably an issue that many cloud services customers face every day.  Customers do want your advice.  They want your guidance.  But they want it in a way that takes them logically through the process and helps them make progress towards a bigger goal.  On-boarding of new customers and existing customers taking on new services is important, but it’s equally important that you don’t alienate them or confuse them with too much information coming simultaneously from too many directions.

The solution lies in the opening example – making the on-boarding process for new customers as easy as paint-by-numbers.  At Zoomstra.com we think that you should start by defining the big picture for different types of customers.  Then for each of those needs break down the major sections into easily consumable lessons. Each lesson should incorporate information with examples and a list of specific actions the user should take.  Bring it together by giving the user a way to easily navigate their way and record their progress as they go.  The customer will be thrilled that they were able to get up and running so quickly and you’ll be thrilled that customers are telling their friends and colleagues about their success with your services.

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More Stories By David Abramowski

David Abramowski is a technologist turned product leader. David was a co-founder of Morph Labs, one of the first Platform as a Service plays on AWS. He was the GM for Parallels Virtuozzo containers, enterprise business, and most recently he is the leader of the product marketing team for the IT Operations Management solutions at the hyper growth SaaS company, ServiceNow.

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