Going above and beyond with your client onboarding process

In my post about client onboarding, I lay out the foundation for building a successful client onboarding process. You should know by now that client onboarding literally only does good things for you and your business!

  • Clients are much more likely to stay with you long-term if you have a professional (yet warm and friendly) onboarding experience.
  • Onboarding keeps both parties on the same page in terms of expectations.
  • You develop increased confidence in yourself because you know that you have a repeatable process you can apply to any client that comes through the doors.
  • You’ll be setting yourself apart and your existing clients will refer you to other people.

The reason it works so well is that many companies are a mess inside. It’s simply part of how the early business process functions.

Founder gets an idea. Founder builds idea. The idea works and starts to take off. Founder focuses on grow, grow, grow. Founder often has to hire on the fly, those team members work work work, the company grows, the product grows, the customer base grows, and everyone is just running all day long to keep the wheels on.

There’s no real time for documentation and creating processes. The people who survive in those places thrive in an environment of “just jump in, sink or swim!” and they figure out cool and inventive ways to get things done.

When you’re coming into a business like this they’re not really used to having order necessarily. So your onboarding and questionnaire sets up a calm air of: “It doesn’t matter what chaos is going on in your business and your day-to-day… this is what you can expect from me.”

Receiving your onboarding document will be a big relief to most clients. Never forget that most people love some kind of structure. They may not like a lot, but more people thrive in an environment with some rules vs. total anarchy.

If you remember, when I talk about client’s hurdles to hiring, a lot of times they have a need but they don’t feel like they have all the time/mental energy to devote to going out and getting the right person. An onboarding experience is part of you showing them that you are the right person. They pay the invoice, and you take them gently by the hand and lead them through what needs to be done.

OK, so you can read more about that in my full post on client onboarding if you haven’t already but now let’s get into the things that will set you apart.

Sending a welcome package (digital or physical)

This will REALLY make you stand out. I’ve been hiring for years and very rarely ever seen it done. In your onboarding process, it will come right around the sending of the onboarding document & checklist. Finesse it to your liking and where it makes the most sense for what you’re doing.

If you’re sending a physical product, you may want to get that in the mail ASAP. If it’s digital, you may want to send that after you receive the onboarding questionnaire back from them and it’s really and truly go time!

Digital product ideas

A quick welcome video — either a general one that you’ve created about your business or a personalized one, custom to the project you’re doing with them.

It can be all you (think an iPhone video introducing yourself to their team with a friendly smile and quick message). Or, it can be a quick 5-slide presentation done with a screen recording in Loom (with a little talk bubble so they can see your friendly face) as you talk over some key points about your business, their business, the project, and the results you’re excited to help them achieve.

Whatever the case, if you’re going with video, put some thought into it. Make sure it doesn’t get long, nor rambly, and make sure it has a point. The last thing you want to do is have this beautiful onboarding process screwed up by a cringeworthy video that messes up your whole professional appearance.

Don’t stress about this if it’s not for you. There are some careers where this makes more sense than others: think videographer.

It’s also something you can like the idea of now, but take the time to put it together for down the road. Here are some quick welcome videos to get you inspired. A lot are company culture or new hire videos but you get the point. (You can make REALLY good stuff these days in free software like iMovie… or just hire it out on Upwork). You can even do a fully animated video.

Sending swag

Now, this isn’t going to work for every business but if you’ve got a logo and some brand colors, why not? You don’t have to have some HUGE agency to send a client something physical.

Think things like coffee mugs — useful shit that will actually be helpful. Plus if they re-gift it, no worries, your name/company name/logo is still there.

You can use a print-on-demand service like Printfection so it’s not like you have to actually carry merchandise on hand.

If you’ve already got company product though, why not use it? My friend Gareth at @traveldeeper recently launched a line of travel merchandise based on his more than 9 years of traveling the world.

You’d better believe that sending his new clients a T-shirt, water bottle, or mug, upon signing a new contract is a great way to say thanks, stay top of mind, increase brand awareness and generate conversation. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Sending a personal thank you

If you don’t have any company swag no worries. Remember that old interviewing technique to send a handwritten letter as a thank you after an interview? The one that’s all over the internet yet NOBODY does!

The same applies here. Sending a handwritten welcome letter stands out! And nobody does it!

Digital nomading and way across the world? No problem. We live in the internet age and there’s a service for that. Handwrytten, Scribeless or Simplywritten are all good options. To get a script I’ve already written up for you, check out my full client onboarding kit.

Getting feedback on your onboarding experience

Alright, so we’ve talked about how to completely blow clients out of the water by sending something special as a welcome. Now, let’s talk about what to do a few weeks (or a month) down the road. Get feedback on your process!

This is especially useful in the early stages of your business when you’re just starting out with clients. You can send out a quick survey about the client onboarding process and find out what they thought of the process and if there was anything you can do to make it better.

As always, you’re going to keep the client in mind and make it easy for them (by easy, read sub 5 mins… they’re busy people after all).

Some tips for getting the most out of the feedback experience:

  • Ask for honesty, you really want this in order to grow.
  • Highlight that you’re constantly looking to improve the way you do business, that you value your clients, and make them feel good by the fact that what they’re doing will help “generations” of clients to come.
  • Let them do number ratings, that’s the fastest and easiest way.
  • But also provide space for them to write in comments if they choose. High-quality, high-value people will take the time to do so if there is something that they really want you to know.
  • Send it to the right person. If you mostly dealt with an assistant throughout the process, send it to that person as they had the most touchpoints with you.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my full-length post on how to set up your client onboarding process from A to Z.

And, if you’d like the done for you version, get my 22 page free guide. It’s called Your Freelancing Roadmap: Discover the 9 simple steps that lead to a six-figure income.

As always, reach out on Instagram @liveworktravelig with any questions or just to say hey. Hearing from readers is my favorite part of what I do!

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