How to Create a Perfect Client Onboarding Experience

Erika Macauley shares how to create the perfect client onboarding experience.

You know the feeling: You’ve landed your dream client. The kind of client who’s the reason you love doing what you do. You might be done convincing them you’re the answer to their prayers right now. But when it comes to wowing them, providing value, and getting them just as excited as you are about working together, the work’s just started. A stellar client onboarding experience is key to starting your working relationship with a bang and setting you both up for a successful collaboration.

Today I’m telling you exactly how to make sure your client onboarding experience blows your clients’ socks off.

Tell Them What to Expect

Let’s backtrack for a sec. Before your client onboarding process even starts — like, the second the dotted line is signed — your clients should know exactly what’s to come. Communicating what’s ahead will make them feel informed, confident, and ready to go!

Give clients a timeline of what steps are next, what needs to happen before moving onto the following project steps, and any deadlines they need to meet. Make sure they know everything that happens (and when) when well in advance. 

Your clients shouldn’t ever feel like they need to chase you down, or be left wondering where their stuff is. Setting expectations and deadlines upfront will ensure everyone knows exactly what’s going on and when.

Help Clients Stay On Track

Your clients are busy people. With everything else they have on their plates, you can’t expect them to stay on top of your projects and deadlines on their own. They’ll get lost in the sea of items (maybe) added to to-do lists and never seen again.

That’s where project plans and timelines come in handy. These shared docs let clients know when you need things from them so they can plan accordingly. They can also help keep you out of that land of no return to-do list.

The last thing you want to do is send your client an urgent email with something they need to answer you about tomorrow. People hate that. It’s terrible form. And honestly, you will not get that answer on time.

Don’t Flood Their Inbox

If you get half the shit in your inbox I do in a day, you know how annoying it can be to get peppered with unnecessary emails. STREAMLINE, people. Please.

Your clients shouldn’t get any more emails from you than they absolutely have to. That means you should be consolidating your communications to keep those inbox bombs to a minimum. 

For example,  your contract, invoice, and welcome kit should be sent in one communication. Not in a mess of individual emails. If you have multiple items for review, send one email with multiple links. Wherever possible, do your part to leave your client’s inbox alone.

Roll Out the Red Carpet

You know those folders you used to get on the first day of school? The ones with your schedule, locker combo, the cafeteria menu, field trip permission slips, and all the docs you and your parents needed to have a good year? Remember how nice it was to have them all in one spot? That’s what it feels like to get a nice little welcome kit from a service provider at the start of your client onboarding experience.

Welcome kits give your clients a one-stop-shop for all things related to the work you’re doing for them. Whether you make a fancy Canva PDF or keep it simple with a Google Doc, your clients will appreciate a central source they can refer to whenever needed.

A kickass welcome kit will have the following:

  • Info about how you work/your processes
  • Communication guidelines (a helpful spot to set your boundaries!)
  • Important project dates & deadlines
  • Quick links to book calls, view invoices, access project files and client portals, etc.

Tell Them Where to Find You

If you don’t tell your clients how to communicate with you, you may find yourself getting random messages on platforms you don’t often use… Even worse, you could become the victim of 11 p.m. text messages. Know how to avoid those scenarios? Communicate exactly when and where clients should contact you.

Tell clients how to contact you (email, Voxer, Slack, etc.). Also, share when they can reach you. That means if you don’t work Fridays, tell them. If you need 24 hours to respond, tell them that too. Setting those guidelines early on will benefit everyone. 

And, if you have team members who handle different things, tell clients who they should go to about what.

Get Their Info

There’s a lot of info you can get from clients right off the bat that will serve important business purposes and help you get to know your clients. Using a questionnaire at the start of your client onboarding experience can get you all of that critical info and help you avoid bugging clients for things down the road.

Use your questionnaire to gather project info before a kickoff call so you can make the most of your time on Zoom and skip covering the basics.

You can also use your questionnaire to gather important biz & tax info, like their registered business name, address, and items you need to keep good records… The kind that makes tax time waaaay easier.

Questionnaires are a great tool for getting insights on your clients, too. Like,  what they enjoy doing or their birthdays. You’ll be glad you asked for that stuff when it comes time to send a client appreciation gift!

Loop In Their People

If your client has a team helping them run their business, ask if there’s an EA/PA, admin, project manager, or OBM who should be looped in on your project on their end. 

If a client’s big enough to have a team, they probably have someone handling their admin work who should know what’s happening. They can help keep the client on track and help do what’s needed on their end for a successful project. Plus, those team members usually know where everything stands on the client’s side and can be really helpful.

Get Your Client Onboarding Experience In Gear

If reading this made you realize your client onboarding experience is lacking, don’t sweat it. Helping clients develop the best for their businesses is kind of my jam. Set up a 90-minute Strategy Call with me, and we’ll take your client onboarding process from basic to boss in no time.


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