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How a Client Onboarding Checklist Can Drive Results

Improve your onboarding process with a new client onboarding checklist. This way, you can make a great first impression and retain more customers.

Whether you're a small business owner or in charge of a large corporation, a client onboarding checklist is essential to your success. You want your new customers to feel welcomed, supported, and valued from the moment they begin working with your organization, and a checklist can help you gather all the information you need to build a strong relationship.

Imagine you're a new client trying to work with your company. Consider what you want to know and how you want to be treated. Your onboarding checklist lets your clients see you're a serious, professional business ready to provide the services you advertise. Be precise in your communication, and ask for clarification if you need it. A client onboarding questionnaire should be relevant to the industry and services you provide. Look for ways to improve your questionnaire if you need more detailed answers. Each customer must receive the same care and attention, and you can ensure consistency when you have a solid checklist in place.

When you implement a checklist for your onboarding, you can standardize the process as you work with new clients. The welcome email will introduce your brand, sparking a conversation between you and your customer. You can begin building a working relationship with effective communication and clear expectations as you gather information. Look for ways to streamline communication with clients and identify problem areas as they come up. Remember that you can always tweak your welcome email, checklist, and questionnaire if needed.

The purpose of a client onboarding checklist

As a business, clients seek you out for the value you provide. The purpose of your client onboarding checklist is to minimize communication mistakes and be thorough with your onboarding process. Your checklist makes it easier to stay organized and to provide every customer with the same level of attention they deserve. As your business grows, your customer onboarding checklist becomes essential to your ability to serve customers.

Here are a few other ways an onboarding checklist is used:

  • Welcome clients. You have the opportunity to welcome your clients and set the stage for how you'll work together to succeed.
  • Manage expectations. Onboarding new customers with a checklist helps establish expectations from the beginning of your client relationship. Let customers know your expectations during the sales process, and demonstrate your organization's value by being clear about what you offer.
  • Collect data. An onboarding checklist is your first effort at gathering necessary information from potential clients, so it's crucial to get the process right. Collect the correct data from your clients, and build a strong foundation of trust between you and your customer from the moment you begin working together.
  • Ensure consistency. An onboarding checklist sets up your workflow process and ensures consistency from client to client. This is valuable for delivering a great customer experience.

Without a checklist, you may see a divide growing between you and your clients. Customers use your business because they need your services, and it's vital to show that you're a professional, dependable company.

While the checklist helps you stay organized, be mindful of the tasks you must accomplish to stay on top of your list. Follow-through is needed, and this is where the human element of your services comes in. You can have a great onboarding checklist, but it must be followed for you to take good care of your clients.

Why is a client onboarding checklist important?

Client turnover is a problem, no matter the size of your business. With a new client checklist, you show customers how important they are to your company. Ask the right questions, and your clients will know that you take their business seriously. Protect your client base, and gain referrals from happy clients when you produce efficient, effective results. When your customers are satisfied, they're going to keep coming back. If you discover that you have a high client turnover rate, it's time to reassess your onboarding practices.

To improve client retention and grow your audience, you have to find out why they're leaving in the first place. It may be the speed of your responses or a lack of response to questions. Customers may go with another provider because they don't feel like you're listening or there isn't a strong connection. The onboarding checklist lets you see what communication you're providing, allowing you to look back and catch anything you may have missed.

Scope creep is another issue many business owners must deal with. You want to set boundaries early on in your business relationship, or the scope of who is responsible for what is going to get blurry. Once a client has expectations that go far beyond the scope of the services you provide, they may be disappointed with anything you do. This is a big issue for some companies, as angry customers leave negative reviews regardless of your efforts.

Prevent miscommunication with a clearly designed new client onboarding checklist template, and prove to customers why they're choosing your company over and over. This allows you to communicate with ease and utilize your resources as needed with solid management. Good communication will give you the customer success you deserve and make running your business easier.

What to include in a client onboarding checklist

An effective onboarding new customer checklist includes specific, actionable items designed to open conversation, gather information, help you follow up, and evaluate the entire process.

The first step is to include a welcome email. This welcome email doesn't have to be text-heavy, but it should show clients what your organization can provide right away. To write an effective email, keep it simple. Understand that your welcome email will give clients a first impression of your brand. You want to be clear, show your style, and provide clients with a CTA. A successful email shares enough information but doesn't bog down the reader. Let your clients know who you are, how to reach you, and what to do next in the onboarding process.

Your onboarding checklist will also include creating an onboarding survey. This survey allows you to gather relevant information that can enhance your onboarding in the future. If you discover clients aren't taking the time to complete the survey, these questions may need to be answered in a phone conversation instead. You may need to follow up on your survey questions, as the answers provided will shape how you deliver services to the client. Once a survey is reasonably answered, the next step in the customer onboarding process should be to schedule a kickoff call, where you can start building a stronger relationship with the customer.

You want to know that you're serving your clients well, and this is done by evaluating your onboarding process. If clients are frustrated, you want the opportunity to make things right and identify what went wrong to prevent the issue from happening again.

Developing an onboarding process that works in your client retention strategy takes time. You won't know what clients want or what your onboarding process is lacking if you never ask. This is done by following up with clients, especially when a client hasn't responded to an email after a few days. Make a phone call or send a text message. Let clients know you take their business seriously when you invest time in reaching out.

Organize your business with a client onboarding checklist

Successful client onboarding is a process that requires organization, and you can do just that with a checklist. Good organization starts with a new client onboarding checklist, which can help you build strong relationships, boost customer retention, and grow your business.

Your client onboarding checklist will allow you to set the parameters of your working relationship early, clarify the services you offer, collect data, and provide effective communication. You get a better understanding of your clients and their needs when you ask questions and you're open to constructive feedback.

Once you have your checklist, use our tools to help you make the most out of your business venture. At Mailchimp, we offer automation tools and marketing software to help you build a productive client onboarding process, so you can deliver a great customer experience. Stay organized and connected with every client you serve when you develop an open line of communication through email.

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