What is an onboarding process and do you really need one for your business?
First impressions are everything and that 100% goes for business too. I mean, as much as we try hard not to judge a book by its cover, it is kinda ingrained in us. So, when we are spending our precious dollars earned on hiring a service provider to further our business, more than ever we are looking for the right fit that understands our goals and actually care about us
Many business owners are so focused on perfecting their craft that they put all of their eggs in one basket! And while it is obviously important to deliver quality work at the end of the project, it is just as important to ensure that the client is kept informed and top of mind from the moment they hop on that discovery call to offboarding.
Imagine this: You put in so much hard work leading up to the discovery call… only to fall flat afterwards during the onboarding phase. Your client is now feeling a little skeptical as to wondering if they hired the right service provider to work with.
Uh oh. The last thing you want is to send mixed signals to your clients… and to have them feel semi-regretting their choice! That’s no way to start any partnership! They need to feel like they have made the right decision every single step of the way.
Having an efficient and effective onboarding process is absolutely key nowadays as a service provider as it reflects your professionalism and quality of work prior to starting the work. Here are three reasons to have a solid onboarding process for your business to increase value and client satisfaction.
It Keeps Processes Efficient
You know how the saying goes… time IS money! When we choose to spend as much time perfecting our internal processes as much as our portfolio work, we are embodying the CEO in ourselves.
Running a business takes a lot of time and work. However, it can save time and relieve a whole ton of pressure if we were to develop processes and systems that work in favor of our business and of our clients. Imagine not having to scramble every single time you receive a lead and trying to figure out what the next step is and how to convert that lead into a client?
Related post: 5 Reasons You Need An Client Offboarding Process
It Helps to Set Clear Expectations
A clear and effective onboarding process can help set expectations and boundaries with your clients prior to starting the work. This will give them a taste of your working style while letting them know what is expected of them in order to have a thriving partnership amongst the two of you.
As someone who has hired other creatives and service providers before, I can tell you one of my pet peeves is not knowing what is coming up next or expected of me. Being upfront and clear in communicating office hours, response timeframes, and upcoming deadlines are all important elements to include at the beginning of the onboarding process. The goal is to ensure our clients feel at ease every step of the way and are not left wondering “when do I get X back” or “what am I supposed to do next?”.
For example – if there are deadlines to be met at each phase of the project, your client needs to be aware of that timeline, as well as the repercussions should they not be met. This should be explained as early on as possible so that it is clear to them.
Remember, we are in control of our businesses and it is up to us to guide our clients through the journey. Don’t end up taking on the “order taker” role… take charge of your business and step into that consultant role from the get-go!
It Reaffirms You Are the Best Fit
Believe it or not, our client experience is a part of your overall business brand.
A streamlined process showcases the level of professionalism and care we put into our business. It shows that we care about our clients and the time spent together beyond their dollars. Not only have we anticipated their needs and every question in their heads with an onboarding process, but we are also reaffirming that we are the best fit for them.
Let’s face it – our business is not about us. It’s about our clients and how we can best serve them.
An onboarding process goes beyond a discovery call or a Starbucks gift card! It’s about truly understanding what your client needs and ensuring you are fulfilling those and more. When we truly understand how our ideal client thinks and acts, it can truly make a whole world of a difference and position you as one heck of a first impression and a kickass business owner.
Now that you understand the value and importance of creating an onboarding process for your business, here’s part two where we go over what to include! Grab a notebook – it’s about to get juicy!