Would you want to provide a smooth and seamless client onboarding process to achieve that so-called myth: ✨customer satisfaction✨?
If yes, what’s stopping you? Or what would help you do it better, faster, and in a more organized way?
If these are the questions you have in mind, you’ve come to the right place.
Today, with this article, I will be talking about the practice of onboarding checklists and how well they can enable you to achieve an effective onboarding process.
At its core, a client onboarding checklist is a checklist that highlights the essential steps you should follow as you’re moving forward with a new client; it allows you to be organized, precise, and never miss an important step while laying the foundations of a strong, ongoing relationship with your future clients.
As important as it may be, creating a client onboarding checklist is quite easy and manageable if you pay close attention. All you need to do is write down whatever you think is necessary for you and the potential client to do during the onboarding, this way, you’ll be able to keep track of their process and interfere in case of any issues.
Having made a simple definition, let’s now move on to my version of an inclusive client onboarding checklist that has all you’ll ever need to create one that lasts. 💯
1- Prepare all the materials.
Before you even start to think about taking any action, which I know you’re very willing to, you should simply take a step back, roll up your sleeves and do a tremendous bulk of preparation. This might not be the most fun step, but it sure is critical to set off with a good start.
Preparing highly educational materials may seem like a thing you must do solely for your clients, but let me tell you, it’s actually for your own good since you’ll be benefitting from them throughout the whole onboarding process.
Let’s take the first average step, for instance.
It’s about welcoming the client, sending them an email, creating a good first impression, right? Well, what kind of an impression would your email create if it failed to form an engagement between your client and your services?
This is exactly why you should always be prepared and ready to provide detailed help center articles -they are great at explaining complex features and answering some common questions- a simple video that introduces your product in the simplest way and shows what it has to offer in an easy to understand way.
You can also display use cases and success stories about your accomplishments reviews from your existing customers and create a better picture in the client’s mind.
I’d personally recommend instructive videos since I find them very appealing, visually engaging, and quite simple to understand since the viewer gets to pause and rewind however they like and participate in a fun learning environment from the very start.
2- Work that email magic.
Moving on to the broadest area that you can feel free to create miracles.
I’m talking about the power of effective onboarding emails and their significance for any client onboarding checklist, folks.
For starters, they’re super easy to operate. But what’s more important is that they are the most effective method that enables you to reach out to your clients, even towards the end of the onboarding process, to let them know how they’re doing or ask for feedback from the ones left dissatisfied.
So, at this point, you should create a sequence of emails that will be automatically sent to your clients based on their experience or particular behaviors they showed during the overall process. You can also use these emails when you want to keep in touch with some of the clients that seemed to have loved a feature a couple of days before/after others did or sadly failed to complete the process.
And if you think that’s good advice, we’re not even halfway through it!
There are several email types that you can include in your client onboarding process; let’s take a brief look:
- The Welcome Email
This one is obviously the first one that comes to mind when one talks about sending off emails to clients. Saying hello to each of your clients who have recently become familiar with your product will help you make a proper introduction and make them feel comfortable and engaged.
- The Check-up Email
As previously mentioned above, this email can be sent to those who have failed to complete your process or haven’t passed a particular step along the way; you can ask them what’s wrong, encourage them to come back by giving a word of advice, and show that you pay attention to their journey.
- The Success Indicator
As the name suggests, these are the emails you send when your clients complete certain steps during the onboarding process. You can send these to ensure the client stays informed on the next steps, further milestones, or the advanced feature tips to learn more about what they’ve been experiencing.
- The Results
Finally, you can send a report-like email to let your clients know about how well they’ve done throughout the whole process & how successful and productive they managed to become. This will motivate your clients to take further action and stay engaged with your onboarding.
3- Go in-app.
I think you’ll be on the same page with me when I say your whole onboarding mission is to grap the potential client’s attention from the beginning of their very first interaction with your product. And yes, the detailed preparation and the warm welcome will get you started, but they won’t get you so far.
To help your clients understand the value of your product, there are additional tools and concepts that you implement within your process along the way.
In-app tips are one of them.
With the numerous ways you can send in-app tips, you’ll be able to guide your clients as they discover more and more about your product. These in-app tips can be:
- Small pop-up windows and product tours that automatically appear on your product’s UI
- Automated tooltips that walk your clients through every step of the onboarding journey
- Built-in tooltips that appear when clicked on
- Messages sent via live chat
- In-app checklists that give your clients a hand while they’re moving on from one step to another
All these in-app tips will help you achieve different purposes; with checklists, you can encourage your clients to complete the assigned onboarding tasks by letting them know about progress in an interactive way. Pop-up windows and product tours are wonderful tools that introduce the first steps that eventually lead to the Aha! Moment.
Live chat messages are great for welcoming new clients and building a client relationship on a personal level; they’re simply a wonderful way to show you’re always reachable and eager to help. And built-in tooltips will enable you to explain every feature your product offers in a more understandable way, since the potential client will be in charge of receiving the information when they need it.
4- Schedule an onboarding call.
Congrats, you’re almost done with the main components of any great client onboarding checklists. So far, you’ve been exposed to email sequences and in-app tooltips, which are really considered the only essentials you should include.
However, there can be an additional method you can use to guide your clients through all the steps of your onboarding, and trust me, it’s a highly impactful way -also affordable- to strengthen the onboarding experience you offer, especially if you’re a startup or a small business.
Including a follow-up call in your client onboarding checklist will help you ensure that your clients are engaged with your product slightly after a few days following their registration. Again, you can send them an email inviting them to a short check-up call or reach out to them via live chat.
This part is all about communication channels. Onboarding calls will work perfectly for some, while for others, it may not be so great to have a phone call with you; they may prefer messengers or emails.
With those who are willing to have an onboarding call with you, here’s what you should do to make it work great:
- Collect as much personal information as possible; you need to have a clear understanding of the expectations, goals, previous experiences of the person you will be interacting with.
- In light of the information you have gathered, try to give high personalized onboarding suggestions regarding the value and use case of your product.
- Make sure you answer all the key questions the client has already in mind and meaning to ask you.
As I mentioned earlier, this step is not mandatory but is highly effective and I believe it’s worth a shot for those who are running new businesses and could use some money-saving methods during their onboarding process.
5- Keep the communication going.
Now that you have managed to create an engaging relationship with effective communication, what you need to focus on is maintaining it, which can be as tricky as trying to build one from scratch if you loosen up and take it for granted, of course. Just like any relationship, really. 🥲
To prevent yourself from paying the cost of ineffective business relationships, you can start by outlining a particular process that solely focuses on creating effective communication with your clients.
And here’s what you should be focusing on as you’re trying to keep your ways of communication consistent.
- Being clear about the main point of contact
When setting up your team, you must make sure the client has a clear idea of their main point of contact. This person can be the team leader, project manager, organizer, or somebody in charge, depending on the required knowledge. You should ensure that this person is always accessible and their detailed contact information is shared with the client.
- Deciding on the communication schedule
When you’re setting up a communication schedule with a particular client, it’s safe to keep in mind that the schedule you’re setting must match your client’s availability. It would be best to consider the time zones, the frequency of your check-ups, and the availability of your own team.
- Exchanging feedback on a regular basis
Giving and receiving feedback is another wonderful way to communicate effectively with your clients and keep your relationship consistent. When it’s time for you to provide feedback, make sure to examine and review everything your clients went through beforehand so that you can offer them a personalized, client-oriented summary. Similarly, when you’re the one receiving it, make sure your entire team pays close attention to any kind of negative/positive comments the client has to share.
PS: For further information on forming a mutual interaction with your potential clients, you can check this article to find out how a great client questionnaire looks:
6- Educate the client – the final touch.
Congrats! You’ve almost finished onboarding your client, so what’s next?
It’s now time to set up the tech side. 💻
First things first, you need to offer a new client workspace within your management workflow. This step could be highly dependent on what your company prefers to use: a Google Drive folder, a Notion page, or simply whatever your teams are currently using.
This step will vary accordingly to your preference of project management tools, so after deciding to stick with a particular project management tool, you should customize your checklist accordingly.
As for the client education part, it’s important to understand that enabling your client to integrate into the platforms your teams use will significantly reduce the chances of your project failing and it’s just as important as the communicative relationship you’ve managed to create.
To make sure your client is sufficiently educated and has successfully integrated into your tools, you can provide instructive details in your welcome email so that your client will know how to access the tools and use them seamlessly.
7- Hold a kick-off meeting.
Once you’re done with all these steps, it’s time for the first official kickoff meeting! Sounds exciting. 🤩
This step is all about introducing your client to the final & visualized project plan. There are several ways to host a kickoff meeting; in the past, the most common way to introduce your client to your plans for the project you’ve been both working on was simply to invite them to your workspace, have a lunch meeting, take an office tour while discussing the details, or something similar.
But since we’re kind of experiencing the golden age of digital technology right now, you can also go for a video conference, and it would be more convenient to meet numerous clients at the same time -saving you the time and energy- and also given the current circumstances where everybody is encouraged to work remotely due to the health risks.
There you go! With these 6 steps, I hope you will be able to make your clients feel at home, make sure they are happy to have chosen your services in the first place, and lay a foundation for a long and productive collaboration.
I hope you found this article helpful! See you next time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make a client onboarding checklist?
You can create an efficient client onboarding checklist simply by taking these steps:
- First, prepare all your materials beforehand.
- Send personalized welcome emails.
- Use In-app tools to improve client engagement.
- Keep your communication consistent, exchange feedback, include a check-up call.
- Make sure your client is educated thoroughly.
- Host a kick-off meeting
What is an onboarding checklist?
An onboarding checklist is a detailed list of steps you create in order to keep track of your client’s progress and help them experience a seamless onboarding process.