Case Stories

Customer Onboarding: Setting the Bar

A flexible onboarding experience for a diverse range of customers


Our client partner needed to reimagine their customer onboarding journey. This was a critical experience for customers which could make or break their expectations and determine their on-going relationship with the service provider.


We helped cross-functional teams focus on creating a cohesive vision for a customer experience and define new initiatives across the organization while assessing existing initiatives against the vision.
Customer onboarding

Creating a framework and vision for a flexible onboarding experience

Harmonic Design worked in close collaboration with a rapidly growing product and SaaS company in the restaurant industry to redesign their new customer onboarding journey. Though our client’s products, services, and high-touch service model had proven very successful, they needed to evolve this model as they rapidly scaled their customer base and operations.

The client reached out to us to collaborate on a project focused on evolving the customer onboarding journey, as this was determined to be a critical time for customers which could make or break their experience and expectations for their future with the client.

Though many new initiatives were underway that would affect the onboarding journey, the client needed assistance creating and aligning the organization around a cohesive and tangible vision, actionable within 18 months. The key goals for the evolution of this journey were to improve the customer experience during onboarding, provide a flexible range of solutions for each moment that could be customized for each customer and executed at scale, improve efficiencies, and reduce costs to the company.
Restaurant Service Provider
Restaurant industry
Key Activities
Service Blueprinting
Experience Mapping
Service Vision
Moment Architecture
Roadmap Alignment

Defining limits with stakeholders

We began this engagement by interviewing stakeholders and members of the core project team to understand the current state of the customer onboarding journey and current thinking around opportunities for improvement. We worked with client stakeholders to redefine the limits of the onboarding journey to include the time when customers first find out about the service until they feel they are up and running and getting value from their new system.

With this information at hand in the form of a current-state blueprint, we conducted a hypothesis workshop with a cross-functional, multi-level group of employees. In this workshop, we identified the most urgent and important opportunities for improvement. After identifying opportunities and ideating on possible solutions, the group imagined those solutions as end-to-end journeys.

Researching customer needs to ecosystem fit

Next, we developed a qualitative research protocol that would help us learn about the experiences that recently onboarded customers were having, and their functional and emotional needs and preferences. The client team conducted research sessions in four markets with Harmonic coaching support. The specific aims of this research were to learn about recently onboarded customers’ experiences, understand how the client’s products and services fit into customers’ business ecosystems, and discuss the hypothesized opportunity areas established in the preceding workshop.

Constructing the future vision for onboarding

Upon completion of the research, we facilitated analysis and synthesis sessions with the researchers. Through this process we found some hypotheses to be correct and even more urgent than expected, some to be false assumptions, and some new opportunities. Synthesis was conducted onsite at the client’s office. We developed several artifacts to help facilitate, the vision work that was to follow. These artifacts included a detailed experience map, a first iteration of the future-state moment architecture, and research-based customer profiles to ground discussions during activities.

The vision workshop was conducted in two parts. First, a group comprised of leadership and stakeholders worked to define a strategic vision for onboarding. Following this, a group including additional front and backstage employees collaborated to operationalize the vision.

From these activities and ongoing meetings and work sessions that continued after the workshop, the team compiled a series of key recommendations to improve the customer onboarding journey, provide a flexible and scalable range of options at each moment during the journey, increase efficiencies, and reduce costs for the business.
What’s a moment?
Journeys unfold in a series of moments. A moment (e.g., checking in for a flight) can include one or more touchpoints and take place in one or more channels. Each moment offers an opportunity to create functional and emotional value for customers and staff.

Scaling up successfully

This engagement helped bring together cross-functional teams at the organization that were not used to working together. It helped these teams focus on creating a cohesive vision for a customer experience and in defining new initiatives across the organization. It also highlighted the importance of certain initiatives that were already underway and eliminated ideas for initiatives that did not reflect actual customer needs. The organization now had a common language and framework to work quickly in parallel and partner more nimbly.

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