Being new is never easy, and stress about the unknown is always nerve-racking.
If you go to a new place for the first time, you may wonder how to adjust and how to make a good impression, for example. Even such prosaic activities as the first use of a coffee machine can raise questions.
Do you remember all those feelings?
A new client might feel a similar way when they start doing business with a new company. It can be worrying because new means unknown, and what’s unknown always evokes some emotions.
This all leads to the new client onboarding process. It’s essential to show why they need a product or service and how to make the most of it. Over 60% of clients admit to considering companies’ onboarding practices when making a purchasing decision.
What is the Customer Onboarding Process?
The client onboarding process is the basis of bringing a new client to your company. It’s all about starting a new chapter and relationship with a new customer. Client onboarding process steps must be taken wisely and with caution.
This builds the foundation for the whole cooperation, so it needs to be done to the highest standard possible.
The numbers speak for themselves: 70% of customers said that understanding how they use products and services is essential for winning their business. And we will tell you how to make it possible.
What you need to keep in mind is that the client onboarding process is not about acquiring a lead, but providing and formulating the basis for cooperation with leads who have decided that they want to become your clients. So let’s start with keeping this process at a high level.
There is no single ready-made client onboarding process template, even in one area of the market.
For example, the client onboarding process in investment and commercial banking will have some differences, even though both are connected to finance. After all, one covers the B2C market and the other B2B.
However, we can point out some important aspects to keep in mind when creating a client onboarding process template for your business.
5 Major Strategies for Effective Client Onboarding
Here are five major strategies for effective client onboarding.
1. Remember that people come first
The best way to begin a cooperation is by being open and by starting with people. Remember that one solution will not fit all.
For the client onboarding process to be successful, you need to remember that the most important aspect of this activity is the client. A people-first approach is important for increasing trust.
You will build awareness from the very beginning, encourage clients to ask questions, and contribute to an open dialogue. This is an integral part of good cooperation, thanks to which you can more easily anticipate any problems that may arise.
As proof of such an approach, you may want to send a welcome letter just to let the client know that you are beyond happy with the cooperation. You can write such a welcome letter as a questionnaire (see below).
Keep in mind that you are contacting a person or group of people, not the business. So use names and keep the atmosphere open and friendly. It would also be nice to avoid overusing the word company.
Do not limit the conversion to business only, small talk is not harmful, try to use it. People before business, it could be a key for success.
2. Create a client onboarding process questionnaire
This is the best way to get necessary information from a customer.
What information should such a questionnaire contain?
Start with the basics, such as name, address, telephone number, and their chosen password if required. Such a questionnaire can also be a good place for referrals.
Thanks to adding this to your welcome letter, you can kill two birds with one stone – you will say a warm welcome that makes a great first impression, and thanks to the questionnaire you will also gain some information about the client.
Here are a few of the most popular questions that you can ask. Feel free to add your own.
- What are your company’s goals and vision?
- Who is your target audience?
- What’s your budget for this project?
- How did you find out about our company?
- Why did you select our business for this project?
- What do you want to achieve by this collaboration?
- What are your expectations and concerns?
And some basics like:
- Who is the contact person?
- What are their contact details?
- What is the company address?
- What’s the best way to communicate?
- How often do you want to get reports?
3. Set kickoff meetings
Everyone involved in the cooperation should be at such a meeting. The date should be convenient for everyone and allow each participant to prepare.
What topics need to be covered?
- Introductions provided for the both client and the team.
- Main goals for the project.
- Each participant’s responsibilities and mid-term goals.
- What should be done first after the meeting.
- What steps need to be taken if something goes wrong.
- Answer any questions.
When concluding an initiative like this, both parties should know what comes next, how the action begins, and what the first steps of the cooperation are.
A kickoff meeting cannot end with unanswered questions. To arrange such a meeting, you can use CloudTalk’s Conference calls feature.
Meetings such as these are also a good time for an upsell. When, if not now? In the end, you agree on the details of cooperation, presenting your company and the steps you will take in connection with this cooperation, you show your best side.
Therefore, it is worth thinking about upselling. The client will be optimistic about the partnership (at least should be), and therefore it is worth updating the offer and proposing something extra.
The kick-off meeting is the right time to make the client aware that perhaps the upgraded version will better meet their expectations.
The last word has not been said yet, so you can modify the offer at any time and make some corrections to the initial assumptions.
4. Organize communication
Building communication with the client should be your priority from the very beginning. Setting a schedule for achieving process assumptions and objectives will improve implementation.
You have to take into account every aspect, such as the frequency of meetings and the time zone if your company works with clients worldwide.
The matter of communication is usually based on the choice of tool or software. Currently, a significant amount of conversations and meetings take place online, which is particularly useful if your clients are from other countries.
It could be beneficial to use software that supports workflow both within your team and with your clients. Regardless of what CRM system you have, CloudTalk will work very well with it. You can quickly integrate your external platforms and improve communication in a matter of minutes.
How can such solutions help you?
First of all, it gives you access to all information about a given client at your fingertips. After each conversation, you can supplement this information with notes or tags.
Everything in one place, without the need to search your emails or elsewhere. If a client phones, you will automatically be informed about who is calling and given all information about them with Caller ID. That’s a bread and butter of functionality of customer service tools.
Using such tools can also be beneficial for improving your service and workflow to provide quicker support. It often allows a seamless transfer between various employees, which is convenient when a client calls with a question and one agent cannot answer. This way, the client doesn’t need to hang on waiting for answers.
5. Prove you are worth it
The client onboarding process is just the start of a hopefully long relationship with your client. But, as the name indicates, it is a process, and so it takes time.
And to make it successful, you need to prove your quality.
Please keep in mind that you have to demonstrate your contribution to this cooperation – if a client asks to see the data then show it to them, and if they want a report then create one.
Remember about time zone differences and be understanding. Set up some checkpoints – small steps create a worthwhile process in their entirety. Also, be sure to communicate clearly if you are unable to do something.
It’s natural that you cannot always meet all customer requests, but you need to inform them if this is the case immediately.
Over to you
Management of client onboarding process meetings is a basic step that can guarantee long-term cooperation with customers. This is a business first impression, and yet it is only made once. That’s why the new client onboarding process properly is so valuable.
When creating a client onboarding process template for your business, you need to step into the client’s shoes and think about what you would need to know if you were them.
- User Onboarding for Ecommerce, SaaS Apps: Major practices
- Create High-Impact User Onboarding Email + Examples
- Customer Retention & Loyalty Measurement Guide
David Cacik, Head of Marketing of CloudTalk.io