Onboarding a new client is an exciting moment for your team, but without an established process, it can be a disjointed affair. You want to successfully and smoothly onboard your new clients so they feel appreciated, engaged, and understood on day one. When you do, your team can get to work executing deliverables, and your clients will be happy they chose you. Here’s how to make that ideal scenario happen.
1. Use Technology to Streamline the New Client Experience
A lot can get lost in the hustle of onboarding a new client. From sorting out contract terms, communicating client goals, and arranging kickoff calls, there are a lot of details. Make sense of the mayhem by streamlining your new client experience, weaving in customization to personalize it when appropriate.
Collaborate with your legal team to develop digital contracts, agreements, and disclosures. The pre-work you do to transfer paper contracts to digital form will be well worth the effort for everyone. Your client will have a clear, easy-to-read contract and can use a digital signature to indicate agreement.
By skipping printing, scanning, and other old-school practices, you can close contracts more quickly. Plus, you retain a timestamped record and proof of agreements to things like payment terms, which support your engagement. Signed copies of contracts and terms are delivered to you and your client, signifying that it’s time to get to work. Finally, completed signatures can kick off the next onboarding step: client education.
2. Make Client Education Hassle-Free
You’ve received your new clients’ signed contract, you’ve scheduled your kickoff meeting, and now it’s time to relax, right? Wrong — now it’s time to begin client education. Design a set of automated welcome emails in your customer relationship management platform that begins after contracts are signed. Take clients on a journey through your company, introducing their account managers and the tools they’ll use.
If you’re providing software-based services, automate an education series to facilitate software adoption. Monitor clients’ engagement to ensure they’re reading, watching, and engaging with content at key milestones. Include knowledge checks and set alerts for account managers when results are poor. Reach out to clients whose results indicate difficulties and provide swift resolution of issues. This high-touch follow-up can ensure client success, improve satisfaction, and garner desired results.
Offer a variety of training sessions to help your clients succeed. Develop an introductory or 101-style education series that includes time during or afterward for live questions. Make your training flexible for clients in any time zone by providing an on-demand pre-recorded video. Allow clients to submit questions to a dedicated email address that your team responds to quickly. This swift response and personalized experience will boost your clients’ adoption rates and build trust.
3. Set Expectations for Communication
In preparation for your regular touchpoints, establish how and when you’ll communicate. This information may be included in your welcome series emails, reiterated in your kickoff call, and reinforced through account managers.
If the nature of your engagement requires it, set up a SharePoint site or client folder where documents can be shared. Provide a tutorial in your education series on how to upload items and share best practices for success. Make this tutorial optional, as some clients may need less assistance than others.
Schedule future touchpoint meetings and explain when and how meeting agendas will be set. By outlining how you plan to work with your clients, you can establish credibility simply by being clear. Use the momentum and excitement that often comes with a new contract to fully engage clients in your budding relationship.
4. Identify Opportunities and Showcase Capabilities for Long-Term Value
The digital ink may have only recently dried, but there’s no time to waste when it comes to providing added value to your clients. Clients’ needs may change, and they may be unaware of the breadth of your services. Use engagement assessments like surveys and meetings to identify potential new needs or opportunities.
Create a standard survey with qualitative and quantitative questions, customized to the client’s relationship. Use this to check in on their satisfaction while inquiring about what pain points, challenges, and opportunities they face. You’ll be able to identify any gaps within your current service delivery and better understand their remaining needs.
Create a client newsletter series, specific to the services you’re delivering. Include case studies that are relevant to your relationship, which can build trust and establish credibility. If you’re providing marketing services, showcase sales funnel enhancements you completed for a paid search client. An interior designer might feature recently completed home offices for a new residential client. Include labels and tags in your client profiles within your CRM to ensure you’re delivering on-target communication at every phase.
Build a Strong Client Relationship Through a Seamless Onboarding Experience
Onboarding your new clients doesn’t have to be cumbersome, but strategic pre-work and research are required. Review previous onboarding experiences and recent client losses to examine what went well and what went wrong. Learn from missteps and lay the groundwork to prevent them, staying nimble and adjusting in real time.
Deliver regular feedback surveys to existing clients, checking to ensure their satisfaction and trust. Layer this quantitative research with info gleaned from account manager interactions to improve current relationships and update the onboarding process. Commit to a culture of continuous improvement, candor, and service, and you’ll earn loyal clients for the long term.