In our series on onboarding thus far, we have focused on best practices specific to onboarding new employees, but it is just as important to have a process to onboard new clients. A poor onboarding process for new clients can plant the seed in their head almost immediately that they might not want to do business with you for long. Instead, having a clear process reinforces their decision in a positive way, and can start the process of converting them into evangelists for your business.
With proper documentation, you always know the steps, and work through them the same way. This makes it easier for your techs every single time. Here are some of our tips for onboarding new clients.
Define the onboarding process — and let the client have their say
Onboarding is not a discrete process, but rather a pathway towards the ultimate goal of a satisfied client. Client relationships are always a work in progress. How do you know if the client is happy with the relationship? Ask. Let the client define the success of the relationship, and you can avoid having unsatisfied clients.
This sounds simple, but it bears mentioning. Send them a nice welcome email. Call the point of contact. Thank them for the business. Direct them to the first steps in the onboarding process. Make them feel good about the relationship from the get-go.
Your new clients hired you for a reason, and you need to understand what that reason is. While tempting to think it is about solving technical problems, chances are that they see it differently. They look to you to ease their anxiety about complex technological issues, or they may simply wish to free up organizational resources for other things. You will do yourself a lot of favors by taking the time to talk to your new clients and understand their motivations, in their own words. If you have a clear sense of what your clients are looking for, you will be in a much better position to meet those needs.
Remove all barriers to onboarding. The easier the process is, the happier the client will be. Take the initiative to find out what they need, and do it. Ask them about their issues. Schedule a meeting to walk them through the basics so that the process of helping them can begin as quickly as possible. If a client has to do all the work, and feels that they must initiate every contact or action, then the client is less likely to be happy with the relationship.
Build on your foundations
Although you are at the start of your relationship, don’t stop selling now. The onboarding process is precisely the point where you have to make sure the client knows about the different services you offer, and how they can maximize their relationship with you. Give them as many reasons as possible to stay — the onboarding process is where you can start taking steps to reduce your client turnover. Better still, make them so happy that they recommend you to their friends — and give them an opportunity to do this, too.