Freelancers and other business owners and leaders understand the importance of periodically reviewing and assessing the experience they present to those who agree to pay for their products and services. Business owners and leaders must continuously strive to offer the best experience possible to those willing to do business.
For B2B service providers, creating a pleasant and efficient process that welcomes, i.e. onboards, new clients is Step One in affirming that the decision to do business with your company was sound. Good onboarding is good business.
Sets the stage for a good working relationship
Demonstrates your organization’s competence and efficiency
Kicks-off the customer retention strategy (begin with the end in mind!)
Develop an onboarding process that skillfully guides your clients and demonstrates that your organization anticipates needs and questions and take extra steps to eliminate miscommunication that may lead to misunderstanding, confusion, or disappointment. The goal is to assure your new client at every step that you’ve got this.
A videoconference call or an email from the project leader, perhaps joined by one or two other company leaders, is a good basic onboarding gesture. Do this to personally welcome the new client and express how excited you are to work with him/her. If you have a case study or two and you haven’t already shared them, send them now, to reinforce your experience and expertise in providing the solutions your client requires.
In a videoconference call or basic phone call, ask the client to review what a successfully completed project will look like. The answer will confirm exactly what your organization must deliver to fulfill or exceed expectations and make yourself eligible for repeat business. Take notes to ensure you understand the metrics the client will use to define success—results such as sales conversion rate or quarterly revenue or a deliverable such as a website upgrade or new logo.
On the call, confirm the project timeline, project milestones and payments linked to the contract signing and milestones. Confirm all resources that the client will provide to support the work, such as support staff and what that individual will provide.
You want to know early in the process if you have the labor needed to do the work and how it would impact the preferred timeline. Bear in mind that because this process includes client input, your organization receives instant client feedback and agreement and demonstrates your ability to communicate and collaborate.
Confirm all agreements in an email to the new client to complete the onboarding process. Top it off with a few branded swag items if you have any—pens, note pads, tote bags, water bottles and the like, if you have them, shipped to your client’s office.
After reviewing and confirming the project scope and milestones on the call, confirm in an email to further cement everyone’s understanding. Your client will appreciate your attention to his/her needs. Make it obvious that your goal is to do excellent work and make the client look good to the higher-ups at his/ her company.
Merry Christmas and thanks for reading,
Photograph: Cunard Line’s Queen Mary made her maiden voyage in May 1936.