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The #1 client onboarding checklist

With a subscription based business model, it is of utmost important that you provide a delightful customer experience in every interaction with your clients. That is the only way to make sure that your client stays for long term with your business. Getting started with a client in the right way is most important in building a long lasting relationship with clients. That’s why a client onboarding checklist is mandatory for you to cover every aspect of onboarding with your clients.

Onboarding is the phase when you start interacting with your client for the first time. This is when you take into account all the aspects of the client’s business and start adding value to them. But before you start, there are various steps you need to follow to turn your relationship into a long term and fruitful one. If this onboarding process is well structured and pre-planned, then there is hardly any chance of you missing out on anything mandatory. So, let’s get started with the client onboarding checklist.

Know your client’s profile

Before you get started with kick-off meetings with the client, before you even meet them for the first time, it is important to gather all the information about them. This will help you create a profile for your customer which will be useful in the longer run. You can either send a questionnaire to them to gather this information. Or, if you are running a high-touch onboarding process for any client, then you may as well meet them and collect all the information you need. 

The kind of information you can collect can be as follows:

  • What is their budget for using your software
  • Their company’s website and business niche
  • Who are their competitors
  • What are their annual goals
  • What challenges they are currently facing
  • Point of contacts within their organizations along with their roles and positions
  • Who are their target audience

These details will give you a gist of your customer profile which you can save in your CRM software for future reference.

Create your team structure

Before you start interacting with your client, assign different representatives in your organization who will handle this account. You can start with an account manager or customer success manager (CSM). 

Then there could be a project manager who will be handling different projects within the client’s organization. For technical support, you can appoint a tech lead or a technical architect whose job would be to understand the client’s system and environment in which your product would be working. 

Welcome email

Welcoming your clients is one of the most important steps in your client onboarding checklist. Once your team is ready it is a good idea to introduce the key members in your team to the client. To set up a kickoff meeting, you can send them a warm welcoming email. 

Give a brief introduction of your company, your product and your accomplishments achieved so far before you propose them for a meeting. Make sure to add a clear agenda of the meeting in your mail. That may include:

  • Proposed available time for the meeting
  • Brief intro or designation of the people joining the meeting
  • Explaining who will be working on which part of the client account
  • Inviting key persons from client organization

This would give them an assurance that you are taking care of their account in a well organized manner. 

Training and Product orientation

There might be different people at various levels in your client’s organization you would be interacting with. Some might be at a C-suite level, others at mid-level management, while the rest of them would be the end-users of your product. As a successful CSM, you need to be able to interact with each of them to demonstrate the value your product can bring to their work. 

While the top level managers can be given the product orientation through personal meetings, the end users can make use of the online tutorials you have for your product. Send them the links to all the tutorials and other resources that would help them guide their usage and enhance their experience towards successful product adoption.

Hold strategic discussion

Once you have introduced your team members, this is the time when you get deeper in understanding their business. Your Customer success manager should ask what challenges they are facing for which they opted for your product. Their clear expectations from you should be put on table in this meeting. 

This is when you can correct them for any wrong assumptions they would have made about your service. Use this meeting for aligning them with what you can deliver along the path of providing solutions to them. By the end of this meeting both the parties should be on the same page. 

Identify their business goals and opportunities

The meetings you attend during onboarding are the best time to anticipate what future needs of theirs you can fulfill in the future. You can set future goals with them in terms or growth rate or revenue that your product can help them achieve. This is important for them to remain engaged with your product and your business. Set achievable goals and avoid setting too ambitious promises which may hamper your relationship later if they are not achieved.

This whole exercise will give you an idea of what potential of business expansion they possess with you in future through upselling and cross-selling

Present your solutions to the client

This is the final step that makes up to your client onboarding checklist. Based on all the findings you have gained in your previous interactions, create a plan and strategy around it. Once you are ready, call the client for a presentation where you will explain to them about everything you have understood about their business ecosystem along with all the solutions you have designed for them. This will cement your relationship because this is how you can win their confidence and their trust would start building on you from hereon.

Final thoughts

If you are aiming for a long term retention of your client, then you need to start putting efforts from the beginning. And that demands from you to maintain a client onboarding checklist in your organization. 

You need to lay a foundation in the onboarding phase for the long-term relationship you will build with your clients. Hence, this is the time when all the doubts they have should be cleared and they should feel confident of the choice they made by selecting you over your competitors. 

What they expect from your product is to provide the solution for the challenges they are facing. Through all the steps in your client onboarding checklist, you would have a clear picture of the working environment and only then would you be in a position to guide them towards their desired results.

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