Welcome to my three-part series on client onboarding, and how it revolutionized our agency! I hope you find this information instructive and helpful in creating your own custom client onboarding process.
[ Part One | Part Two ]
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We are in the last and final steps of the client onboarding process. I hope you have enjoyed these posts just as much as I have enjoyed writing them. I’d like to preface this blog post with some thought regarding the onboarding process, based on some feedback that I received; which has been fantastic by the way! I’d like to state that any client onboarding process will require constant tweaking and constant streamlining.
As your business grows, you will need to determine how your onboarding process will flow depending on the client you are working with. The overall process may stay the same, but the reality is that each client is different and each method is different as well. Also, keep in mind that no two businesses are the same and no two business owners are the same. This can also be said for clients and projects. The goal is not to have a cookie-cutter onboarding process, but a checks and balances system so that nothing falls through the cracks. You can bet that this alone will help your overall relationship marketing goals.
The Follow-Up Stage
Now, I will bring all full circle with part three of our system. In blogs one and two, I discussed why I decided that I needed a proper client onboarding process and why that needed to be a branded process. In this blog, I want to share with you the last and final steps in our onboarding process. The first step in this previous steps, which is the step that we are currently working the hardest one, is the follow-up stage. If you are a small business owner who is working with clients, this is going to particularly important for you. Why? Well, for many reasons. One of these reasons is that you are not going to want to waste a lot of time at this stage. This stage is crucial in setting yourself up and your clients up for success.
The follow-up stage for us is also where we implement our “kick-off” call. This is where we take 20 to 30-minutes to discuss any training pieces, account takeover, or any additional aspect of our business and what the client should expect. During this urgent call, we will circle back around and discuss various elements of our process, as well as any strategies. This also serves as a time to deliver the client with any tasks, timelines, and additional materials that we may need. This call will typically happen two weeks after we have taken over any accounts, performed any necessary audits and assessments. The idea of this call is to rectify issues that may have been missed during the developing stages of the onboarding process.
For me, this call is a lot about putting the client at ease as we move forward with the project. This is me extending the client an opportunity to share with us, any concerns that they may be having about their working with us. It also gives me a chance to strengthen our client-agency relationship. The importance of this cannot be undermined because clients get nervous those first few weeks and having a laid back call (or meeting if it’s a local client), is vital! We cannot stress it enough how many times just a 30 to 45-minute kick-off call helped to put our client’s mind at ease.
Again to reiterate some of the things that we discuss during this meeting:
- Clarify any questions, concerns or feedback the client may have
- Address missing elements that are missing in the project
- Discuss the timeline of events moving forward
- Put the client at ease and reassure them of your appreciation
This is truly where I, as the CEO and Marketing Director, have opted to stand out above and beyond our competitors because this entire process leads to only one destination and that is your ability to perform. Yes! That is why we are here, to deliver on that brand promise and to deliver on our project goals. Again this step is going to look different for everyone, but for us, at SoVerve Marketing Group it is the most critical step in this process.
Our deliverables “step” beings by explicitly stating in our contract as well as in our project management systems, all of the necessary milestones and each deliverable that is required to meet expectations, should be laid out with appropriate dates and points of contact. We also ensure to include routine follow-up calls, any necessary meetings, and consultation appointments, as well as any payment schedules that need to be maintained.
Remember that “deliverables” do not only include a project ending turnovers, like a website. You are delivering on more than just “what you were paid to do.” You are delivering an experience to your clients, and that is what this process is truly all about. The experience of working with and being nurtured by your company culture. That is what ultimately set you apart from the rest.
We think it’s important to keep in mind that not every client onboarding is going to be successful and you want to be very careful with the way that you tweak this process. You don’t ever want your client to feel like they were just another invoice or a sticker price in your lineup of services. You want to continue to build on that relationship moving forward, and this is where we feel like a lot of people drop the ball. We have to discuss this plenty of times on social media because it is such an often missed opportunity when we don’t take good care of our clients and nurture those relationships properly.
I hope that you enjoyed this client onboarding series, please share this with your community and feel free to leave my team or me any questions you may have below.
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