Onboarding customer-facing teams is a critical process that requires careful planning and execution. These teams are the face of your organization and play a crucial role in delivering a positive customer experience. Managers of customer-facing teams face a unique challenge. They must balance the need to trust their employees to work directly with customers while also needing to provide adequate coaching and support. This can be difficult given the limited time managers have to spend on one-on-one coaching sessions with their team members.

In this guide, we will discuss the best practices for onboarding customer-facing teams to ensure a smooth transition.

onboarding customer facing teams
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Develop an Onboarding Plan

The first step in onboarding customer-facing teams is to develop a comprehensive onboarding plan. This plan should outline the goals, objectives, and timelines for the onboarding process. It should also identify the key stakeholders, resources, and tools required to support the onboarding process.

One approach to new hire training is to have them shadow experienced colleagues, but this can lead to information overload and make it difficult for them to retain everything they see. Another approach is to have new hires read through standard operating procedures (SOPs), but this may not be practical until they have the necessary experience and access to the right tools.

A suggested approach is to combine the two methods. As new hires shadow their colleagues, they should document the processes they observe in real time. This “SOP” may not be entirely accurate, but the act of typing it out prompts them to consider whether any steps are missing and ask questions to fill in gaps in their understanding.

This approach also enables new hires to see processes with fresh eyes and identify opportunities to streamline workflows, potentially leading to their first projects. Writing things out can also aid in memory retention and help new hires connect different ideas together for a more complete understanding of their team and customers.

Interview a customer or partner

In many organizations, new employees are not given the opportunity to interact with customers or partners until they have been with the company for a while. However, there are benefits to involving new hires in these conversations early on. As impartial contributors, they may be able to elicit more honest responses from stakeholders and provide fresh insights. While this may seem risky, you can mitigate concerns by having the new hire prepare a list of questions beforehand and shadowing them on the call as backup. Alternatively, you could have the new hire summarize their findings from a handful of reviews of your company to achieve similar results.

Assign a Dedicated Onboarding Manager

Assigning a dedicated onboarding manager to oversee the onboarding process is essential. This person should be responsible for coordinating the onboarding activities, ensuring that all team members are trained and equipped to perform their roles, and monitoring progress. This can help ensure that the process is executed smoothly. This person should have a deep understanding of the organization’s culture, values, and processes, as well as the skills required for the role. The onboarding manager should be responsible for coordinating all onboarding activities, including scheduling and conducting training sessions, providing guidance and support to new hires, and tracking progress.

In addition, the onboarding manager should be available to answer any questions or concerns that new hires may have during the onboarding process. They should also be responsible for communicating with other team members and stakeholders to ensure that everyone is aware of the new hires’ progress and any issues that may arise. Another important responsibility of the onboarding manager is to ensure that the onboarding process is consistent across all teams and departments. This can be achieved by developing a standardized onboarding program that covers all aspects of the job, including product and service knowledge, communication skills, customer service techniques, and company policies and procedures.

By assigning a dedicated onboarding manager, you can help ensure that new hires receive the attention and support they need to succeed in their roles. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, reduced turnover, and improved customer satisfaction, all of which are critical to the success of your organization.

Run through the free trial or demo request workflow

One of the first points of contact with potential customers is through the free trial or demo request form. While someone on the team may be running through this regularly, it can easily become a “set-it-and-forget-it” workflow. By having new hires go through the flow, they can identify any errors, inconsistencies, or confusing points while learning more about the product or service and its messaging. This experience can give them insight into what their clients went through during the lead cycle, which can help them communicate and highlight certain features in a way that resonates with the ideal customer.

Provide Consistent Training

Training is a critical component of onboarding customer-facing teams. To ensure consistency, it is essential to provide standardized training that covers all aspects of the job. This training should include product and service knowledge, communication skills, customer service techniques, and company policies and procedures.

In product development, testing is a crucial aspect. The more people who can review something, the greater the likelihood of identifying bugs before releasing a new feature. However, QA testers are often the most experienced individuals in the company and have extensive knowledge of the product. To expedite the new hires’ understanding of expected product behavior, it may be beneficial to assign them some of the QA work. This approach will enable them to become familiar with the tool and identify errors or blockers that customers may encounter. They may even develop solutions to these issues.

Foster a Culture of Collaboration

Onboarding customer-facing teams is not just about training individuals; it is also about fostering a culture of collaboration. Encourage your team members to work together, share best practices, and support each other. This can be achieved by regularly holding team meetings where team members can share their successes, challenges, and learnings. Additionally, consider implementing a mentorship program where more experienced team members can provide guidance and support to newer team members. This can help build trust and foster a sense of community within the team. This will help build a strong team that is committed to delivering the best possible customer experience.

Another approach to fostering collaboration is to encourage cross-functional teamwork. Customer-facing teams often work closely with other departments within the organization, such as product development and marketing. Encourage your team members to collaborate with these departments to better understand the company’s products and services and to ensure that customer feedback is integrated into the product development process. This can help ensure that the entire organization is aligned around the goal of delivering a positive customer experience.

Finally, consider implementing team-building activities that can help build trust and strengthen relationships within the team. This can include activities such as team lunches, off-site retreats, or volunteering together for a charitable cause. By fostering a culture of collaboration, you can help ensure that your customer-facing teams are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and support they need to succeed.

Design an interactive demo

Consider providing new hires with a license for your company’s interactive demo software, and asking them to create an ideal demo that showcases one of your product’s best features. This exercise can help new hires put themselves in the customers’ shoes, identify the most important use cases and features, and think about how to tell a story that produces “aha moments” where the customer understands the product’s value and how it solves their main pain point. It’s a great way for new hires to get to know the customers and for the company to benefit from a fresh perspective.

Monitor Progress and Provide Feedback

Monitoring progress and providing feedback are essential to ensure that the onboarding process is effective. Regular check-ins with team members can help identify areas where additional training or support may be required. Providing constructive feedback can also help team members improve their performance and feel more confident in their roles.

To strengthen new hires’ understanding of the company and its customers, it may be beneficial to ask them to reflect every week during their first month. Three questions that can help with this are: What surprised you? What frustrated you? What can we do better? This approach may also provide suggestions for improving the onboarding process itself.


In conclusion, onboarding customer-facing teams is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. By developing a comprehensive onboarding plan, assigning a dedicated onboarding manager, providing consistent training, fostering a culture of collaboration, monitoring progress, and providing feedback, you can ensure that your team members are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and support they need to deliver a positive customer experience. Remember, the success of your customer-facing teams is critical to the success of your organization as a whole. By following these best practices, you can set your team up for success and ensure that your customers receive the best possible experience.