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What To Know About Client Onboarding for Service Providers

Client onboarding is the step in between signing an agreement and your first meeting with your client in the client journey. It's like offering a champagne toast before the real work begins, and it should reassure your client that working with you was the right decision.

A successful onboarding process seamlessly welcomes your new clients into your business. Your process should include setting expectations, providing the tools and education for success, a review of what is and isn't included in your fee, how to communicate, and more.

An image of a business handshake over empty notepads on a blue glass desk.

In 2022, 88% of service leaders agree clients have higher expectations. Having a personalized client onboarding process can help you manage client expectations by identifying the right communication strategy per client relationship.

Another phase of a client onboarding process is the product/service walk-through. It will not matter how seamless your products and services are if you do not educate your clients on how to use them. 70% of clients say understanding how they use products and services is very important to winning their business. This may mean breaking down client knowledge into sections. For example, a customer welcome letter and a client welcome guide may sound similar, but the guide will include deeper knowledge versus a simple welcome letter.

Spend more time personalizing your client onboarding. 90% of consumers say they will spend more money with companies that personalize the customer service experience.

A successful client onboarding process looks like this:

A chart of the client onboarding process. Step 1) Welcome Packet. Step 2) Schedule Initial Meeting. 3) Gather & Collect Information. 4) Add to Communications System. 5) Initial Meeting.

Best practices for a successful client onboarding:

Create a timeline for your clients

If your product/service is part of a long or complicated process, break down the entire project into a timeline and point out common outcomes along the way.

Define expectations and set milestones.

Remember, identifying the right communication strategy should begin before a client uses a product or service. We recently listened to an episode about anger on The Happiness Podcast, and learned that people often become angry when their expectations are not met. It's imperative to manage expectations on timeline and outcome throughout the entire process to avoid surprising your client.

Meet your clients where they are

Provide information about your area of expertise to help your clients better understand the process based on their needs and knowledge. During the onboarding process for your law services, you might want to collect your clients' knowledge of the industry and process. Be proactive in explaining terms and processes to them. Because people don't want to seem ignorant or stupid, they make assumptions based on context clues. Don't be afraid to define terms simply. Are you an estate attorney? Explain what probate means in simple terms.

Automate repetitive processes

Streamlining customer onboarding is best achieved by establishing a repeatable framework. This can be done by providing a client welcome guide, having a company blog, and client resources along the way.

Check-in during and after the onboarding process

Be sure to ask clients if they understand what exactly you are trying to communicate or how something works. Not just in your onboarding process but in your follow-up email.

Want to personalize your client onboarding, but don't know where to start?

Click here to schedule a mini strategy session with NEW Consulting today.


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