Attracting new clients is a significant achievement. Your actions in the early stages of a relationship will set the stage for what could be a long and mutually beneficial relationship. Although onboarding your new clientele is essential, it could become a headache if you’re not organized and customer-focused enough. Here are some actionable ways to onboard clients with minimal hassles.
Introduce Clients to All Relevant Team Members
It’s vital that new clients feel supported in their business relationships, especially during the early stages. They also need to know which people at your business can help them with specific needs.
Think about setting up a meeting where a new client can get acquainted with everyone who’ll be helping them. If it’s too difficult to find a time that works for every attendee, think about creating video versions of the team introductions personalized for each client.
Additionally, tell the client any communication specifics they need to know. For example, you might request that they copy the project manager on all communications to keep that person in the loop. The preferred communication method matters, too. Is it faster for a client to contact someone at the company by phone, or is there an instant message platform that’s more efficient?
Create Client-Facing Guides for All Tech Tools Used
Whether you’re a freelancer working independently or part of a larger organization, there’s a good chance you use various tech tools. People at technology startups know how important it is to ensure a customer utilizes a product before it’s time for them to pay the first bill. If clients don’t get the first-hand experience of how something can help them, they’ll decide it’s not worth the cost.
It’s similarly important to make sure people understand how to use the technology that’s critical for helping your company run smoothly. When they feel overwhelmed rather than excited about the respective technologies, they may start having second thoughts about the business relationship. Plus, when new clients know their way around tech tools, all the interactions with them should be maximally productive for everyone involved.
Consider making client guides for every tech product they’ll need to use, whether a project management platform or a team communications tool. Add step-by-step instructions and screenshots to make the content as understandable as possible. Then, at the end of each guide, provide contact details that people can use if they have questions.
Digitize the Document-Signing Process
It’s no longer feasible to expect people to sign and return physical documents once they become new clients. That approach wastes time and paper. It also places too many burdens on the client, such as potentially making them find scanners or fax machines to get the signed paperwork back to you.
Making the process as digitized as possible brings convenience while assisting with recordkeeping. One possibility is to choose a secure, cloud-based platform that allows adding e-signatures. Then, they can enter into legally binding contracts without the challenges often associated with physical documents.
Some solutions also highlight the places in a document where a person should sign. That feature significantly reduces the chances of a client overlooking it so that it takes longer than necessary to get all the paperwork signed.
Build a Client Onboarding Checklist for Internal Use
Consistency is one of the defining features of an excellent onboarding process. Forgetting even a couple of steps could create preventable challenges later in the relationship. However, you and any other parties involved in onboarding clientele almost certainly have other duties to tackle. That’s why it’s ideal to create an onboarding checklist for your company to use.
That’s an even more useful option once you’ve onboarded enough clients to feel confident about what works well and what doesn’t. Your process won’t be perfect from the start, and that’s okay. However, documenting the improvements and sticking to the same approach with each client will help you deliver outstanding results in every instance.
There may be instances where several people share responsibility for getting the onboarding checklist finished. In those cases, make sure all relevant parties have access to the document and know the steps they must take. It’s ideal to use a shared checklist that updates in real time. Then it’s easier to notice any delays and identify the cause.
Send Your Clients a Questionnaire
Getting to know your clients is an essential part of a successful relationship. However, everything you need to know won’t necessarily come up in an onboarding phone call. You can fill in the gaps with a questionnaire that people complete on their own time. It’ll increase the chances that everyone is on the same page at the start and throughout the relationship.
Format the questions to get at the heart of a client’s vision and their short and long-term goals. You may find it useful to create open-ended questions where people can write responses of an unlimited length. That’ll allow them to clarify things as much as necessary.
In addition to asking clients what they hope to achieve with the relationship, get details about what they don’t want. For example, if you’re creating content for a client, there may be certain words always deemed inappropriate if describing their brand. Similarly, the client may want to avoid certain topics. Those are among the particulars that’ll come to light in a survey.
Seek Feedback After Onboarding
Even if it seems your current onboarding process is working as well or better than expected, room for improvement almost certainly still exists. Take the time to ask your clients to weigh in on what they found most helpful and which experiences were not as positive.
You can use a survey to collect this data but think about putting it in a different format than the questionnaire used to better understand the client’s needs. For example, ask your client to what extent they agree with statements, such as “I felt supported at all stages of the onboarding process.” Then, give people space where they could elaborate on their answers if desired.
Clients should appreciate that you’re asking them feedback as part of the pursuit of continual improvement. Requesting their input shows that you care what they have to say and will consider it when navigating future onboarding processes.
Your Onboarding Process Will Evolve
It’s natural that your onboarding process will change as you get more experience engaging with clients who have different needs. As you apply some or all of the tips here, it’s also valuable to adjust your process after learning ways to improve it. Remember to document all changes in a checklist so that the approach stays constant and has the desired effects.
It’s also useful to have periodic check-ins with everyone at your organization that has any onboarding involvement. Even if you’re the main person that handles getting new clients up to speed with your business, others will undoubtedly have thought-provoking insights.
When you treat your onboard approach as something that evolves as needed, that mindset encourages looking for ways to improve while always staying mindful of client needs. Then, you’ll be well on your way to helping new customers feel comfortable and increasing their likelihood of sticking around.