Client onboarding is the phase when you start building a relationship with your client. It is the time when you get a chance to create a positive perception about your company in your customer’s mind. The best way to avoid any confusion or missing out on any step during onboarding is to follow a client onboarding template. We have created a template that you can use for your business.
Before you start on using the template, you must understand clearly the importance of onboarding. There are chances that you have created a flawless product but your new client doesn’t know about it yet. They need a hand-holding during the initial phase of using your product. This is the time when you clear all their doubts and apprehensions about your product.
As a customer success manager, your main responsibility is to retain the customer for long-term. If you are waiting for your customer to raise an issue that they are facing with your product, then you might lose the end game. You cannot wait for them to finally reach the point where they get so fed up with your product or service that they finally decide to move away. You need to act proactively to prevent any bad experience that customer might have right from the beginning. And that’s why, it all has to start from the onboarding phase.
So, here’s the client onboarding template you must follow for a successful onboarding.
This is the first section of the client onboarding template where you gather all the business information about your customer. Below are the data that you must ask them to fill in a form:
- Business name: Which is the name of their company
- Client Contact name: It includes the name of the key person who has been in touch with your company while purchasing the product.
- Address: Here the address of the branch of their company which has been dealing with you should come, not their headquarter, if it is different.
- Phone: Their office contact number as well as that of the key person.
- Email: Here also collect both the company’s email-id as well as the buyer’s.
- Contract start date: This would be the date from when your customer’s subscription begins.
- Contract end date: This would be the end date of their subscription. It could be either after a month, or quarter or year. Basically for how so ever long the customer has bought their subscription.
- Comments: Mention any additional comments you have for your customer. You may include here the alternative contact number or just the name of other persons in their company whom you can approach alternatively.
Appoint your team
Before you start interacting with your client, you must appoint the employees in your organization who would handle this account. Hence, you must include this in your client onboarding template. It is based on the availability of your employees and you must also consider the team size that you would allocate to serve this client. In determining the team size, knowing the client’s budget is of utmost importance. Because only on the basis of that you can justify the cost of serving them based on all the resources you deploy. Some of the key personnels in your organization behind the client account can be:
- Customer Success Manager: This is the key person in your client account who would be in the constant touch with them. They are the first point of contact for your clients in your organization.
- Account Manager: They can be a replacement of CSM if your organization doesn’t follow customer success as a main function. In most of the traditional companies, account managers are the same as what customer success managers are in a new SaaS company. But their responsibilities are often similar in both kinds of organizations.
- Project Manager: They would handle different projects your clients might be running simultaneously with your organization. This is mostly practiced in the service based industries where there are multiple project managers handling multiple projects of the same client.
- Technical lead or Architect: These are the employees who would help create technical configuration of your product on the client’s production and system environment. For every technical issue, the client can approach Technical lead and they, with their team, can help provide exceptional customer support and keep the product usage as seamless and error-free as possible.
Once you are done with setting up your team, you must approach the client with your welcome package. They should be systematically sent to your clients and in an organized manner so that your client doesn’t get overwhelmed with too much information in the initial phase. You must send the following resources and emails to your client:
- Welcome email: This is how you officially announce to your client that they are joining you as a customer. Send a warm welcome email that thanks them for choosing you to start the business. Then include a brief overview about your company and the product.
- Tutorials: Send them the video tutorials and all the help content that would help them getting started with your product.
- Team introduction: In another mail, after a day or two, when they have got time to absorb your previously sent content, introduce your team members. This way, clients would know the faces behind the organization and that adds an immense value to your relationship with them. If email is not enough then you may invite them for a quick call of introductory meeting as well.
- Invite for Kickoff meeting: Send them another invite for a meeting which you will be holding with them for the strategic discussions. Share the agenda in this mail.
Kick off meeting
This is a very important meeting that you must include in your client onboarding template. Basically, in this meeting you are going to set a roadmap with the client of the goals they would achieve through your product or service. In this meeting, you can also bring out from them what expectations they have from you. These strategic discussions would help you cover the aspects that would make you accountable at a later point in time during your term of relationship with them.
Client onboarding template is easy to maintain when you adhere to strict guidelines of your onboarding process. Don’t execute all these steps in one go. Give some time to the clients to get slowly immersed in your organization’s environment. They also need some time to grasp the handling of your products. So make sure you keep your technical staff always free and ready for giving prompt support to the new customers. Because no matter how simple your product is, or how thorough your introductory tutorials are, a user is bound to face doubts or glitches when they use a product for the first time.
Once you execute this initial onboarding phase with much ease and systematically, you would prepare the client for another journey towards customer retention. And all the experience they gathered during onboarding would give extra mileage for them to remain subscribed and loyal to your brand.