A poor client onboarding experience will have clients feel like they made the wrong decision and may ultimately cause them to leave.
On the flip side, an outstanding client onboarding experience can have a profound impact on your business:
If you want to achieve everything above, you need to systemize and improve your client onboarding process.
This process may change depending on your business. These steps are a guideline to follow, but they aren't written in stone.
In general, you shouldn't start doing any work until you have a signed contract from the client. Otherwise your client is not legally bound to anything, which means you could put hours and money in to a project with no return.
Once you're notified that the client has paid and signed the proposal and contract, you can move on to the next step.
An onboarding questionnaire is the best way to get client information. This is your chance to get everything you need to get the project off the ground.
Here are some things to include in your client onboarding questionnaire:
Once you have this information you can now assign the client to the team taking over. Make sure the lead point of contact has some commonalities with the client so they build a strong relationship.
Have a meeting with the team taking on the client and debrief them with all of this information:
All previous communication with the client should also be shared with the team. Ideally all of this information will be in your CRM or client management software.
Once the meeting is over, the project should be launched in your preferred project management system or workflow software. If you usually invite clients to collaborate in the project, now is the time to do it.
This is the meeting that gets it all started. Everybody (including the client) should be excited and ready to get this project off the ground. Client kickoff meetings are a key place to build trust with clients and set the tone for the rest of the engagement.
These are some of the things you should go over in the client kickoff meeting:
By the end of the meeting you should have built a strong rapport between the client and team, eased any doubts from the client and have clear action items to take the project forward.
After your kickoff meeting make sure the client gets some sort of welcome package. This is an opportunity to educate the client and reinforce their purchase decision. Make them feel special—a little effort goes a long way!
It can be a mix of both digital assets and physical products. Your package of digital assets can include:
Also be sure to send your client something physical as well. You don't even need to be in the same country to send your clients something meaningful.
You should have a checkup call with your client 30 days in to make sure everything is running smoothly with your team and client. This is your opportunity to make sure that nobody has dropped the ball during the onboarding process.
Remember that customers are far more likely to churn in the first 90 days. If you can catch mistakes early, you'll be able to keep more clients.
The checkup call is also a great time to nudge clients for more information or documents that they may be slow to give you. Sometimes an email just doesn't cut it.
After the client is fully onboarded set a date to check back with everyone and make sure everything went as planned:
Were there any unanswered questions in the onboarding questionnaire? Did a client really like the swag you provided? Are you still waiting on the client for anything?
Your onboarding process is a constant work in progress that can be improved. By collecting data you can improve the process based on fact and not feeling.