Did you know that how you onboard your clients can be just as important as the project you deliver? Seriously!
Why? Because if your client onboarding process is letting you down, you’ll start the project off on the wrong foot, and may never be able to recover from it!
This can lead to creating nightmare clients, out of great people.
And we very definitely don’t want that.
We want to impress our clients, let them know what to expect, and keep them happy!
So here’s what you need to do to onboard your clients correctly.
Psst! Not sure what client onboarding is or the process? Read this guide to client onboarding!
1: Establish yourself as an expert
There’s no faster way to shatter confidence with your clients than to come off as unsure about what’s supposed to happen, and when.
I mean, think about it: Your client just handed over a fistfull of cash, and if you’re disorganized you’re going to come across as unsure about what you’re doing. Not at all the professional you actually are.
I see this happening all the time, as service providers struggle to remember to collect things they need from their clients in advance, resulting in a ton of back and forth, projects dragging on longer than they should, and clients left wondering if they hired the right person.
That’s why you need to take the time to sit down and establish a client onboarding process (as well as all your other processes!) in your business, so you know what needs to happen and when it needs to happen, and then clearly convey that information to your clients.
A great way to do this is with a Welcome Packet. A simple document explaining the timeline and how your client can get you exactly what you need, whether it’s text, images, or filling out a questionnaire. This will keep both you and your client on-track and let your client know right away that you’re a pro who has a strong process in place.
Psst! A Welcome Packet is NOT the same as an Intro Packet. Your Welcome Packet is for paying clients and gives them all the details they need to know. An Intro Packet is for potential clients, and helps set expectations before y’all agree to work together.
2: Set the right expectations
One of the things we forget because WE know how we work (and when we work) is that our clients have NO idea what to expect.
And that’s not because they’re bad people, or dumb, it’s because they’re busy being experts in their zone of genius while we’re busy being experts in ours.
So it’s our job to educate our clients on what to expect, as well as what we expect from them.
And in this current pandemic world where we’re all living at work (AKA working from home) 24/7 and weekends are the same as weekdays, expectations can be really skewed.
That’s why we’ve got to create a strong client onboarding process to tell our clients things like our office hours, response times for things like emails, whether they can call us whenever or need to schedule a call, and any number of other things that they likely don’t know about the project or how we work.
We’ve also gotta tell them what we expect in terms of giving us feedback, responding to our questions, making payments, or just generally keeping the project moving from their end.
So sit your booty in your chair and write down what the client should expect during the project. Think about what they need to know beyond the timeline, and get into the details about communication, payments, or anything else that they need to know. You can put all of this in your Welcome Packet too, but be sure you also include it in your Intro Packet.
3: Impress your clients
Okay, if your clients aren’t already impressed by your clearly outlined client onboarding process and expectations, then this last tip is really gonna knock their socks off.
People love to feel special.
And making someone feel special during the project isn’t hard at all. It takes just a few extra minutes of work to brighten someone’s day and give them those warm fuzzy feelings about you and your company.
There are lots of ways to do this, but here are a few of my favorites that you can choose from:
Using an app like Loom, you can make a welcome video telling your client how excited you are to start working on their project. You can write a script once, then just personalize it for each client by making a fresh recording and saying their name and mentioning their specific project. This doesn’t have to be elaborate, a two-minute video is all it takes to welcome your client and set the tone for a great relationship!
If one of your expectations of your client involves sitting down and completing a lot of homework, you may want to send a little something to sweeten the work. A Starbucks (or similar) gift card will make knocking out that homework much more enjoyable.
Really have a lot for your client to do? Consider sending lunch on the day you know they’re working on it!
Note: I’ve seen some people send alcohol instead of coffee, and I strongly recommend you don’t. While not everyone likes coffee, they can likely find a drink or snack they do enjoy at a coffee shop. Alcohol, on the other hand, can be considered offensive or inappropriate if your client doesn’t drink it.
Most people don’t seem to take the time to send handwritten notes anymore, which makes them feel extra special. Grab some cute notecards, or get some printed with your branding, and welcome your client to the project the old-fashioned way!
If you need your clients to use a project management system that they’re likely unfamiliar with, upload files somewhere in a certain format, or generally do things they don’t normally do, video tutorials can make their lives a lot easier (and impress the heck out of them).
Again, using something like Loom, you can record your screen this time and show your clients step-by-step how to do whatever it is you need them to do. And the best part? You can likely make these videos once and re-use them with multiple clients by adding them to your Welcome Packet!
No matter what you choose, remember that it doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. Just consider what would bring your clients joy and improve their experience working with you!
A strong client onboarding process is really important to keep your projects running smoothly and create a great experience for you and your clients.
Remember to set yourself up as an expert from the very beginning with a Welcome Packet. Then, set the right expectations with your clients by letting them know what to expect during their project. Finally, impress the pants off of them by going a little above and beyond with something like a personalized welcome video.
Doing those things will give your clients an incredible onboarding experience and get those warm fuzzies going before the project even starts–setting the rest of the project up for ultimate success.