Many entrepreneurs make the mistake when acquiring new clients, of neglecting a vital phase of a new client relationship, the onboarding process.
An effective onboarding process should typically include proper training and orientation. Businesses need to train their clients on how they wish to work with them and convince them that cooperation will make the relationship thrive, and of course, their business.
In this piece, we break down the client onboarding process into a few simple steps which can aid in preventing overwhelming your clients and ultimately lead to a robust relationship in the long-term.
We suggest implementing the following processes:
1. Obtain all necessary information.
When you begin the onboarding phase, it’s vital to gather as much essential information from your client. To make sure they’re not burdened with requests for information, we suggest creating a list which is broken into sections, such as payroll, VAT, income tax, personal tax and daily operations in the scenario of an accounting firm.
2. Compile an onboarding questionnaire.
A significant part of any onboarding process is asking all the right questions. Questionnaires are best answered sitting down face-to-face with a client as opposed to an email as more vital information is gleaned this way.
Furthermore, posing the questions in person will make the entire process of onboarding your client friendlier. Ensure that all your answers are recorded and saved to cloud storage to ensure that the information is secure and easily accessible by both parties.
3. Write an engagement letter
A proper engagement letter needs to contain your client’s information and what services and solutions your business provides along with your fee structure. Once your client has gone through this and agreed to all the stipulated terms, the business owner is less likely to be fatigued by potential scope creep, and in the long-run, there will be no surprises for both parties.
4. Send a welcome package
A welcome package commonly contains a cheat sheet with all your business information and key dates that your client needs to remember and also answers to common questions, i.e. anything that might be beneficial to them at the start of the relationship.
It’s a novel idea to also consider including branded merchandise such as pens, t-shirts or even a flash drive; your welcome pack should make your client feel special and not like another number in your ledger.
5. Get the ball rolling
At this point, the owner of the business takes all information gathered and commences carrying out all the duties stipulated in the engagement letter. Once the ball starts rolling, continually inform your client about any turnaround times, so that they know that they’re always kept in the picture.
6. Constantly check-in
Regardless of whether you conduct business via telephone, face-to-face or Skype, it’s of vital importance that you check in regularly with your client. Ask them how their business is doing as it makes them feel that your business will help theirs grow. Lastly, when issues are found early, your client will be happier.