Although we published this article in 2014, client onboarding will always remain a best practice. Read below to find out what client onboarding is, what goes in to client onboarding and how it benefits everyone involved.
Onboarding is one of those terms people talk about but never quite explain. Understanding its importance and successfully implementing it keeps new clients happy while generating additional income potential for businesses.
What Is Client Onboarding?
Simply put, client onboarding is a method for welcoming new clients into (or “onboard”) a business, putting them in touch with the services available to them. Many people associate onboarding with employee onboarding, the process a business uses to introduce a new hire to a company. Even there, however, companies often fail to implement a good employee onboarding process, wrongly assuming that an orientation program and HR meetings will take care of it all. The same issue often arises with client onboarding. Many businesses believe customer service structures sufficiently address client onboarding issues. That assumption, however, leads to frustrated customers and lost accounts.
First Impressions Count
Client onboarding is not that simple. Far too many businesses drop the ball after gaining the client, assuming new clients can figure things out for themselves. Not easing new clients into a business’s system can permanently damage the relationship with the client. Designing and implementing a successful onboarding system, however, pays off by streamlining tedious and time-consuming tasks to a process used repeatedly for many clients.
Client Onboarding Benefits Everyone
After the successful sales pitch has done its job, and a new client enters a business’s system, the client onboarding process must work well. It is, after all, the first taste of the company many new customers receive.
Businesses with client onboarding operations can benefit in several ways:
- Faster processing times
- More efficient information gathering
- Complete online record keeping
- Business-wide continuity
All these items lead to happier clients, better customer retention rates and higher cross-selling opportunities.
What Goes Into the Client Onboarding Process?
If you ask a group of people what client onboarding is, chances are you will receive numerous (and sometimes muddled) answers. With a little thought (and some prompting), most agree that quality computer programming and implementation make client onboarding successful.
The value of client onboarding stems from two things: introducing the client to the business and addressing their concerns and questions from the earliest point while gathering and maintaining information and records on clients. This knowledge helps you not only provide service to them, but also gain insight into what other products would appeal to them.
Achieving this means having a full comprehension of the business’s requirements and goals. Some companies require more data collection and customer care. Others require specific records and data for regulatory compliance. Many need an array of information organized and made available to a wide set of users. Onboarding that fails to address specific business requirements is useless.
Client Onboarding Specifics
Since the exact set up of client onboarding depends upon a company’s individual needs, specific inclusions vary from project to project. Some common facets of successful client onboarding programs include:
- Know-your-customer (KYC) approval methods
- Ensuring employees who deal directly with clients have the skills to do so
- The ability to measure the success of different client onboarding initiatives so that the process is constantly improved
Once a client onboarding program is in place, it must serve the needs of all areas within a business while also attending to the needs of all types of clients. To read more about the essential steps needed for effective client onboarding, please see this hubspot article here.
The Pay-Off of Investing in Client Onboarding
Client onboarding not only provides a way to retain clients, but also a way to encourage them to purchase other products—a potential way to increase revenue in the long term!
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