The client onboarding journey plays an important role in client retention. Client onboarding is the process that you have in place to introduce a new client to your company or your service.
It’s similar to onboarding an employee, and it is absolutely critical to creating a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.
As simple as that definition is, however, client onboarding involves a series of steps that need effective execution. Once you have a clear idea about the client’s journey from awareness to purchase, you can create a comprehensive client onboarding process that is suitable for all parties.
The challenge often lies in identifying the exact run time of the onboarding process. It primarily depends on the nature of your company and your business.
For many agencies, the onboarding process begins well before the sale. In the following article, we shall explore a client onboarding checklist, and see how businesses can streamline the process.
The 7 Important Steps To Follow
The following client onboarding checklist involves 7 key steps. Let’s take a look at them.
1. Assess Your Client’s Needs
When you first get in touch with a potential client, you need to assess their requirements and determine how closely you’ll be able to meet them. There is no point in wasting their, or your agency’s time.
Always evaluate this before onboarding new clients. If you offer the service that they want and are confident of doing a good job, bring them on. This is the first step of your client onboarding checklist.
Create a client profile for your potential client and see if they’re who you want to be targeting. Evaluate their requirements and determine whether you have the resources to meet the needs of the client. If you can’t, you are only making things more difficult for yourself.Lee Jackson, CEO of Event Engine learned it the hard way. To know more, watch out this video.
2. Outline Desired Outcomes and Goals
Source: Amber Horsburgh, Explain Digital Strategy to Your Mum
Identify the outcomes and goals as defined by your client, and plan out a roadmap to achieve those goals. Lay down everything, so that both you and the client know just what needs to be done.
Let’s say you have just brought on a client that wants a new website developed. It would be a wise idea to set up a meeting to outline all your goals and requirements before onboarding new clients. It won’t take very long, and the practice will ensure that both your clients and your employees remain on the same page. You won’t be offering services that aren’t in your scope of work.
3. Brief Your Team
Hold a brainstorming session with your team and brief them about the client. Let your team know what to expect, and define roles properly.
For example, if a client wants to develop a WordPress website and market it, successful execution will come down to cohesive teamwork. So you will have to set milestones and brief your team so they know how to manage that client. Make sure that each member carefully knows their job responsibilities.
4. Define Your Scope Within the Proposal and Contract
One common problem agency owners face after onboarding new clients is when the client asks them to do something that wasn’t laid out in the initial proposal or mentioned in the contract. That’s why you need to be as specific as possible when creating the agency contract.
Make sure the client reviews the contract and signs it before proceeding further. Highlight everything important so that both you and the client know what the original agreement is.
5. Make a Questionnaire
Creating a client onboarding questionnaire will go a long way in improving your relationship with your client. Many services are dependent on certain types of information before you can offer them. In these cases, developing a questionnaire is an ideal option.
Sending your client a questionnaire before work starts ensures that you get all of the information you need. Instead of bothering the client again and again for tiny bits of information, why not create a questionnaire and have all you need right from the beginning?
6. Create a Plan to Integrate Analytics
Source: Search Engine Journal
You might want to provide tutorials and walkthroughs to your clients on how they can manage things on their end. You also need a customer data platform that you can use in order to update all relevant details regarding the client and ensure effective client reporting.
Because every client is different, create a plan to integrate analytics and update them regularly.
7. Create a Welcome Package
Source: The Design Bar
In order to add a personal touch to the whole thing, you should consider creating a welcome package. This would include details about your agency, any case studies that you would like to share, or major projects that you have worked on. You can also add any high-profile interviews or featurettes.
A welcome package helps the client see your confidence in your business, and thus assures them you’ll do a good job. It may seem like a simple thing, but it will go a long way in enhancing your agency’s image before the client.
If your agency does not have a dedicated welcome package, a welcome email can serve the purpose instead.
At The End…
I’d just like to repeat that the client onboarding process plays a crucial role in retaining clients for the long term. It’s no secret that first impressions are very important, and by developing a comprehensive onboarding process, you can make things so much better.
An onboarding process for new clients will also ensure that each client is treated fairly, and improve your agency’s reputation in a demanding industry!
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