Client onboarding is the process of bringing a new client into your business—giving them everything they need to be able to work comfortably and happily with you and your team.
A typical onboarding process includes: answering questions and concerns, creating and developing your relationship, helping your new client to understand your product or service, and to ensure that they feel comfortable enough to approach you with anything they might need to assure their loyalty and continuing engagement.
Why is onboarding so important?
First impressions count. It’s true. Onboarding is going to help you to keep hold of your new client and minimize any chance that they’ll feel uncomfortable, out of place, ill-informed, and ultimately, better off with someone else.
There are several advantages to be gleaned from a straightforward onboarding process:
- Optimum efficiency
- Happier clients
- Easy workflow
- Added understanding
- An influx of referrals
Setting off on the right foot
First things first—always be clear with your new clients. Setting off on the right foot is what onboarding is all about, so make sure your facts are straight, and both yours and your client’s expectations are in line.
- Be clear about your role, their role, your team’s roles, and how they should interact.
- Make sure you outline what your client can expect from you.
- Let your client know what you expect from them.
- Educate them into everything that happens during the different processes of working together.
- Discuss all or any availability issues, boundaries, deadlines, and turnaround times.
- Prime your client into how to handle revisions.
- Instigate rules to contain scope creep
- Discuss how contract enforcement will happen in the case of disagreements and how each party will stick to given terms.
- Consider all avenues of available training and education.
What steps should you take to provide a great onboarding experience?
- Welcome your new client.
- Take care of all the paperwork.
- Find out everything you need to know about them.
- Be clear about expectations—on both sides.
- Create clear channels of communication.
- Choose the best players for your team—those who can provide the right support, service, and results.
- Integrate the relevant technology on both sides of the relationship.
- Follow up on everything you’ve done and stay engaged.
Gearing up for success
Your onboarding system will prepare you for success—not just in managing your client, but attaining the results that they need you to supply. Good relationships create loyalty, and client retention demands on a healthy and happy partnership, throughout every area of your work together.