How to Onboard New Clients: A Quick Guide


October 10, 2022

Written by

Merlene Leano

Picture this scenario: You are part of a sales or customer acquisition team responsible for increasing the business’s revenue through closing more new deals and projects with new clients.

After all the late-night phone calls, after hour edits, stressful weekends, and bottomless coffee mugs that you and your team have devoted in acquiring a new client, you’ve finally closed the deal. Congratulations! Your hard work has paid off!

At the same time, it means that It’s time to put your game faces on and show what your business can do for your clients.

After everything that’s been said and done, and the client has signed the contract, what happens next?

The moment you begin working with a new customer, it is extremely important to have a clear picture of what comes next, as this will determine whether or not you have a positive working relationship with that client. This is when the need for developing an appropriate new client onboarding checklist proves essential.

If you still don’t have a background on what comprises a new client onboarding process or if your team isn’t keen on practicing them too often, then you’re missing out on great sales opportunities! Fortunately, this blog has you covered. In this blog, you will be familiarized with 6 best practices that will teach you how to onboard new clients like a pro.

What is Client Onboarding?

Understanding Client Onboarding

It involves the process of presenting your goods or services to potential clients for the first time. Typically, the entire process includes everything from welcoming them to your brand and introducing them to your work process, to addressing their service-related concerns and dilemmas, to presenting them with all of the required resources.

In a nutshell, the process of onboarding new clients is comparable to presenting existing customers with a map that will direct them through the many steps of exploring your goods and services.

Why is Client Onboarding Important?

Why is Client Onboarding Important?

Generally, onboarding clients is a process that aims to improve their satisfaction and drastically reduce churn or attrition rates among clients. If a client does not go through this procedure, they are less likely to grasp how your service works. In other words, they will not be able to reap the full benefits of your services, which, in turn, potentially raises doubts about the value that is expected to be projected for your brand.

Optimizing your client onboarding process is not a mere add-on, but rather, a vital component to ensure that all your budding partnerships will go as planned. Nailing this part will eventually lead your business to experience the following:

1. Reduced Churn

During the first stages of working with a new client, you should brace yourself for the possibility that they might not push through with the project. By optimizing your onboarding processes, your team becomes more proactive in developing and strengthening your relationship with them. Aside from allowing you to save time and money, your new customers will remain loyal to your company if you provide them with value when you first begin working with them.

2. Enhanced Operational Efficiency

Establishing an open line of communication between your organization and the customer as part of the process of onboarding new clients is standard operating procedure. By doing so, you gain an understanding of what they require and anticipate from your business. When it comes to carrying out your responsibilities, the knowledge of your clients’ expectations provides you with a stronger foundation to stand on. Consequently, the overall efficiency and effectiveness of your actions will move on an upward trajectory.

3. Higher Client Satisfaction Rates

Clients are more likely to be satisfied with the service they receive from you if they observe that you are well-versed in what you do. If you provide a detailed outline of what they can expect from your team in the future, and if you demonstrate a willingness to strengthen the relationships that exist between the company and its clientele, you are more likely to retain your existing clients and pave the way for new partnerships and ventures.

4. Diminished Scope Creep

When requirements are not defined, scope creep (also known as requirement creep) happens. Scope creep is the process by which the scope of a project changes over the course of its lifecycle beyond what was originally agreed upon by the business and the customer. For example, the grand opening of a restaurant was delayed by three weeks due to significant last-minute alterations made by the contractor. Naturally, the postponed grand opening in this scenario gives way to a ripple effect of adjustments on the budget, resources, and workforce.

When you optimize your client admissions, you expose your clientele to what they should expect in the future. As such, if you are currently working with them, they are already familiar with the terms that extend beyond the scope of the service that has been agreed upon. By acing this component of client onboarding, both parties are less likely to experience scope creep.

5. Increased Customer Acquisition

It will be simpler to form long-lasting relationships with your clients if you are able to meet as many of their requirements in the shortest time frame possible. Additionally, the exceptional work that you do and the positive relationship that you have with them allow you to expand your business through referrals made by your existing clients, which ultimately results in an increase in your total acquisition rate.

6 Key Client Onboarding Process Steps:

Key Client Onboarding Process Steps

Client onboarding allows you to present your clients with a comprehensive strategy for the work that is still to come. In essence, you can ensure that all parties are on the same page by improving your onboarding processes, particularly with regard to the specifics of the project and the milestones that must be reached. This enables you to develop a space for open communication between your company and clientele. It also allows you to answer any queries that they might have regarding the partnership that you have established with them. That said, here’s a new customer onboarding checklist to guide you on how to be successful with newly closed client deals and partnerships .

1. Identify Your Client’s Requirements

The first step in our client onboarding guide is quite simple: know what your client needs.

This is one of the most important aspects of a good onboarding process. It is your responsibility to understand their needs. You might think that you have done your part by presenting a specific solution to a certain customer's difficulty or need. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that every customer is different. Put yourself in their shoes to grasp their intent, pain points, long-term aspirations, and difficulties. Doing so gives you valuable insights into how you can tailor your services so that they can fit their requirements and criteria more aptly.

2. Communicate Thoroughly with the Client

When it comes to communicating with new clients, you have two primary choices: One, conduct in-depth research on their business or arrange a face-to-face meeting with them. To get the most out of your research, try to be as comprehensive and intensive as you can. When you schedule a meeting with them, make sure that you ask them all of the pertinent questions so that you may elicit information about their requirements, goals, and motivations. Once you’ve accomplished the initial assessments, the next step is to come up with an actionable plan to ensure that your collaboration will be fruitful in the long-run.

3. Identify Possible Hurdles 

Using a shared channel of communication, actively discuss with your clients the potential setbacks that both parties might face along the way. If you require anything from your client to ease the workload or if it is necessary to perform some tests such as additional access to company information, this step is the best time to request it. Finally, and most importantly, see to it that you go over all of the project's requirements, such as the time frame, potential milestones, required resources, special instructions, and any other key components that may significantly affect your operations. This will ensure that you can start working without any delays and keep your team from falling behind schedule.

4.  Delegate Roles

When you have a solid plan in place, the next step is to brief your staff on the current scenario. Put as much of your best employees to work as you can. Take them step-by-step through the project's specific deliverables and explain to them how they can engage successfully and constructively.

If you want to leave a lasting and positive impression on your customers, keep in mind that there simply can't be any room for error. As such, the optimal course of action that guarantees you live up to the requirements set forth by the client is to provide each member of your team with an extensive map beforehand. Consider the fact that your approach needs to be measurable, and ensure that the responsibilities distributed to each team member are both physically and mentally feasible and fall within their skills and capabilities.

Getting this step right will help you stay on target.

5. Ask for Feedback

This can’t be stressed enough, but feedback enables you to reassess the parts of your operations that need further improvements. Give your customers the opportunity to ask any questions they may still have regarding the partnership you are working on. Remember to be receptive whenever they deliver critical feedback or ask questions. Consider the fact that this will play a vital role in determining whether or not they will use your services once the project has been completed. In this light, make sure to respond to and address all of their questions and concerns with maximum clarity and precision.

6. Give a Summary of the Project (and Do Follow Up)

Remember to take notes during the onboarding meeting. Take into account all of the essential details of the project that is currently being worked on. If you believe you need to create a spreadsheet or document for it, go ahead and do so. Then, write a summary of what was discussed in the meeting. After that, you should discuss it with your customer to verify that you are both on the same page. It also helps lessen the likelihood of misunderstandings. These documents are highly useful, particularly for the upcoming meeting that you will have with your customers, as both of you will be aware of any clarifications or missed details.

Buckle Up!

Are you ready to start that new project with your brand-new client? Take time to onboard your new client! First, you need to know what client onboarding really is along with its benefits. After you get acquainted with its context, the next thing you should do is to learn the necessary steps to guarantee that your onboarding process is in the bag.

While there are various aspects of your business that impact your client onboarding processes, customer service plays a significant role in cultivating the relationship you’ve established with your clients.

Assuming that you pulled off the onboarding part successfully, the next thing to do is to think about how you can retain your newly found clients.

How can you do this? That’s through after sales support!

If you have reliable customer service channels that can provide excellent after sales support, you can nurture your existing clientele as you can provide them with assistance whenever they need it, thus ensuring that you secure their loyalty to your brand.

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