When you have a quality client onboarding process, you bring clients into your business to make them feel confident in your services and clear about what you’re providing. It gives you the chance to quickly gather any relevant information to make your service delivery process better.
Your onboarding procedures will make their first impression with your brand confusing and frustrating or impressive and clear. You want to opt for the latter and provide a quality experience from beginning to end.
To do so, you have to think about bringing on a new client from signing the contract to starting the service. When every detail is considered and planned out, you will have a consistent and comprehensive onboarding process for your new clients.
What is client onboarding?
Client onboarding is the process of bringing new clients into your business after enrolling in a service.
During the onboarding process, you will collect required information, provide answers to questions and concerns, ensure your client understands the services they signed up for, and more. Since there are so many moving pieces required in the onboarding process, you want to streamline it so that nothing is left out and automate it as much as possible.
Your goal should be to provide them with everything they need from beginning to end, so they have a clear and quality experience.
4 step client onboarding process
Your onboarding process can be personalized based on your business, clients’ needs, and how you work with them. However, this is a general 4 step client onboarding process that you start with to develop your personalized system.
It encompasses the significant steps you want to take from welcoming your client to setting expectations.
Make it official
To officially become a client, there needs to be a signed contract and a payment. These are simple steps in your client onboarding process that can be automated depending on the customer relationship management system you use.
Your contract should outline the details of the service and your invoice, whether it’s paid in full, on a retainer basis, or as a downpayment should be taken care of before work begins.
Welcome the client
After a client signs their contract and pays their invoice, they’re officially ready to be welcomed to the team. You want to extend a warm welcome that makes them feel appreciated and welcome into your “family” of clients. Think of it as how you want to make guests feel when they come to your home. Your clients should have that same warm and welcoming experience, even if the process is completed virtually.
Your welcome communication should be personalized to your client. You have options in how you choose to set this up. You can create a templated welcome email or package of information about the program that you plug in with the client’s specific information.
Alternatively, you can send a personalized video to your client. Even a short 1-minute video can be impactful and leave a lasting first impression. Create a script for your video, and it’ll save even more time.
Complete the client onboarding questionnaire
After welcoming your client, you want to collect any relevant information that you need to complete the service or that you want to know about the client in general.
Many companies use a client onboarding questionnaire, sometimes called an intake form, to collect this information.
Your intake form can be as straightforward or as in-depth as you want it to be based on what you need from the client to deliver the service.
One of the most common issues in terms of service delivery is unmatched expectations. If the client feels like he or she didn’t receive what they paid for, they won’t be satisfied. There will be lots of back and forth and less than stellar reviews of your service.
You don’t want that.
Instead, before services begin, be sure to outline expectations as the process gets started.
You want to include expectations such as
- The service deliverables
- Objectives to be achieved
- Service timeline and milestones
- How often you’ll be in contact
- The best way to get in contact
- Communication turnaround time
- Client responsibilities
- Service provider responsibilities
- Point of contact
Once expectations are clearly outlined at the beginning, it is easier for you and your client to uphold your end of the deal. If there are any discrepancies at this time, you can communicate, and if necessary, make changes.
The method in which you communicate the expectations depends on your preferences. It can be done through a kickoff call, an email, a video message, or some other communication that will best get the message across.
Whatever you choose, be sure to offer a way for your client to ask questions and provide feedback, so there’s clarity for all parties involved.
Internal client onboarding processes
While there are client-facing onboarding processes, you will need to complete behind-the-scenes steps for yourself and your team involved in the service.
Here are some general tips to keep in mind.
- You want everyone involved in the delivery of the service to be updated on the client. Have a common spot in which you share information. This is often within the customer relationship management system.
- Outline the responsibilities and task due dates for anyone who has to work on the service delivery. This is usually kept within your project management tool.
Create a client onboarding process you’ll be proud of
Every new client that chooses to work with your business is a new opportunity to deliver a great experience. That experience starts as soon as they say yes. Be sure to outline every step that your client will need to complete in the client onboarding process and what you and your team need to do behind the scenes to provide a quality service.
If systems and processes aren’t your thing and you’d rather focus on service delivery instead of planning and executing all of the steps needed to onboard a client, an OBM is in your future. Online business managers can take your dream of having a flawless onboarding process and bring it to reality. Focus on providing a quality service delivery and let an OBM handle the rest.
Schedule a free discovery session to discuss how I can help you check creating and executing a client onboarding process off your to-do list.