One of the essential pillars of any sales process or working relationship is having an excellent onboarding strategy. When the customer relationship is strong, that helps to build trust.
The customer experience improves when you learn about your client's needs and offer relevant solutions. Generally, all new clients want to feel secure in their business processes. By investing upfront in a solid client onboarding, you can be sure that when they get far enough in the customer journey, they'll be happy to pass along referrals as a thank you.
This article will discuss what client onboarding is, how to get optimal results with successful onboarding practices, and ways to transform the onboarding experience.
What Is Client Onboarding?
Client onboarding can be anything from introducing a primary point of contact, a first-time walk-through to explain how things work, setting expectations, and scheduling real-time check-ins.
Start on the right foot by taking note of these pieces of information and critical check-ins and milestones. Team members generally keep track of this information using an Excel template, but it would be beneficial to consider using automation software like Pulpstream instead.
Pulpstream helps to keep track of client information securely. It eliminates time-consuming manual entry and creates time for a high-touch and high-impact approach to onboarding.
Types of information Pulpstream helps with:
- Most backend procedures
- No-code process flows
- General policy compliance
- Client follow-up
- Key milestones and tasks
- Confidential client information
A Checklist for Every Client Onboarding Process
Since there are many moving parts with onboarding, it can take some time to find the ideal system. Getting honest and valuable feedback depends on your ability to build strong client relationships.
Here's a general client onboarding checklist in stages:
1. Learn It and Log It
Find out as much as you can about your client and what's most important to them during their onboarding process.
Make sure to log all this information in your client relationship management (CRM) system for easy access by other team members or customer success teammates in the future.
2. Prep for the Kick-Off Call or Meeting
Send a welcome email with any pertinent contracts that require signing and a detailed agenda of the meeting.
Have any other deliverables promised to the client ready and attached to the welcome email before the call or meeting.
3. Provide a Strong Kick-Off Meeting
Show new clients that you're taking care of them. It makes a great first impression and enhances the onboarding experience. Virtual onboarding is the way of the world and it isn’t going anywhere with an estimated 84% of people reportedly preferring remote meetings according to Forbes.
There are as many opportunities to continue to provide excellent service virtually. Here are just a few things to keep top of mind:
- Share copies of the signed contracts before the meeting. Leave some extra time to answer any outstanding questions they might have.
- Provide the client with login information and instructions about how to get familiar with the systems and follow along easily.
- Test your tech in advance to make sure it's all working well to avoid embarrassment and delays.
- Agree on the date to follow up after the meeting, and be specific about what you'll discuss in each meeting.
4. Post Kick-Off Steps
Send your client a thank you note to thank them for their time and emphasize how grateful you are to work together. Share the notes that you took during the kick-off meeting and be sure to reiterate that your door is always open for questions.
Make sure to add all the most relevant information to your CRM and any other software that you use to automate tracking. Pulpstream, for example, helps to take the pain out of collating data on multiple platforms. The centralized and automated access makes it easy to track client conversations and automatically notifies you of tasks so you never miss a beat when it’s time to get back in touch.
5. Always Make It Easy
The most important thing at any stage during the client onboarding process is to make things easy. A little empathy goes a long way. Ask for upfront feedback on how you can help streamline or clarify things during the onboarding process. Always check for understanding.
Create a brief 10-question (max) questionnaire. Use the metrics to improve the overall workflow for your clients. New customers are often looking for a way to vocalize issues with their service provider. Follow up on the questionnaire to let them know how you plan to implement their suggestions.
How to Know if Client Onboarding Is Working
There are key metrics that can help you to understand if your customer onboarding is effective enough to create a long-lasting relationship, here are just a few:
The churn rate is the rate that clients are disengaging with the company. It's like a turnover rate — the average client drop-off point on average.
Client Lifetime Value (LTV)
Client lifetime value is the projected amount of profit the company assumes to gain from a new client. The longer the client stays with the company, the longer their LTV will be.
Retention tells you how good you are at keeping clients. Invesp estimates that it costs five times more to find a new client than to retain the client you have.
To better understand client churn, you can review retention rates quarterly or periodically to detect any patterns in client behavior that can become insights for your business.
For example, if you see high churn within the first week of onboarding, it’s an indication that client onboarding needs more attention.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
This metric gauges customer loyalty by asking them how likely they would be to refer you to others. It can have a pretty direct effect on your revenue and helps you understand where any issues are.
Pulpstream Can Help With That
Digitizing the onboarding process has several benefits like improved productivity and seamless sharing among team members. It reduces the time and cost of paper-based processing. It helps to accurately keep track of milestones and feedback that helps to improve processes and client experiences. Enhanced level of security and accessibility with cloud storage is the cherry on top.
Automated solutions can also help generate reports quickly to make decisions more efficiently, which can be lifesaving in larger organizations. Pulpstream has achieved this and more for global brands like Randstad with great success, and we can help small businesses too.
Pulpstream offers a free demo to organizations of any size who want to empower their team with digital solutions and we would love to hear from you.