Introduction: What is client onboarding and why is it important?
Client onboarding is a process whereby you prepare a prospect to begin working with you and further developing a relationship with them. You are preparing them on how to best use your product or service and it’s their first introduction to the inner workings of your business after the initial inquiries about pricing and if you’re accepting new clients. Generally, onboarding begins when they agree to become your client but for those who take a bit longer to decide, onboarding can include that follow up period where you answer more questions and hopefully guide them toward making a purchase. Some argue that onboarding continues until they no longer need your services.
Preparing a thorough client onboarding system will save you time, money, and a bit of your sanity because any system resolves a problem and, in this case, that problem is getting all the client info you need, tracking all that paperwork, plus making them feel welcome. Always wondering if you sent out the more updated forms or not having a clear way of labeling and storing the returned paperwork will distract from your other clients or marketing tasks. Having all your documents written, proofread, edited, branded, stored in one document folder on your computer and with an easy labeling system will save you hours of time searching for the right components.
Of course, the dream is to have multiple prospects making inquiries at all times so it becomes even more imperative to be organized with an easy yet thorough system. Ultimately, you want to make it as easy as possible for your prospect to sign up for your classes or coaching programs. If you keep sending incomplete packets or the wrong, outdated forms, that leaves a negative impression which may cause your prospect to find another coach.
Let’s also be clear that your onboarding process will differ based on what product your prospect wants to purchase as well as how long they have been your client. The paperwork and forms described above are generally for those new clients who want ongoing coaching for several weeks or months. In this case, a solid contract with length of time and billing stipulations is important to have before the first coaching call. But if your prospect wants to purchase a class or an eBook, you won’t need as much paperwork but you should certainly make that prospect feel welcome with personalized emails that answer all their questions and leave them with a positive experience overall.
For those loyal clients who have been with you a long time, you may have other products, events, or services that will be of interest to them. You will approach them much differently than you would a stranger or someone who’s new to your brand; therefore it’s a different type of onboarding. Their needs may be different based on what new product they are purchasing so it now becomes your job again to show them how to best use and get the best results from this new product or service.
Happy customers will refer others to you and will continue to buy from you. That’s the most important reason to create an onboarding system.