Creating this extraordinary client experience begins the minute that new client signs their contract. It begins with the onboarding process.
What is Client Onboarding?
Client onboarding can broadly be described as the kick-off process between client and service provider where expectations are set, KPI’s are established, processes are communicated, risks are identified, and education (if needed) is provided.
How your clients feel about the start of the relationship will set the tone moving forward. If it doesn’t go smoothly, overcoming uneasy or negative feelings will be hard and gaining back trust can be tricky.
Clients want to feel good about their decision to invest with you.
Starting out with a crystal-clear process and detailed communication will help solidify their confidence in you, reaffirm that they made the right choice, and eliminate any potential hurdles or “sticky” situations down the line.
At Wauko however, we go a little further..
Setting The Foundation
Our process involves a deep dive into holistically understanding the client’s business – the operational processes, the current financial procedures and company policies. We analyse each aspect of the business in detail and help identify the company’s exposure to risks.
The impact of the onboarding process might not be felt initially and often times it can feel like a tedious exercise for the client who just wants you to start the work and “get it done”. This is flawed thinking! It’s building towards a vision without having a solid foundation in place, “a wise man does not build his house on sand”.
Clients don’t like change. They are set in their ways and oftentimes get stuck in a routine that works for them. Just because it works for you, doesn’t mean it is the most efficient process in the process chain throughout the company or addresses the potential risks the company is exposed to.
When you do not understand the business and the various risk exposures, you won’t be able to mitigate or adapt quickly enough when those potential risks become a reality.
“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it”.
The Onboarding Process
A step-by-step onboarding system is proven to:
- increase confidence and trust,
- improve synergy between client and service provider,
- reduce stress and confusion and
- create a mutual understanding of what is expected from the client and vice versa.
At Wauko, the onboarding process works much like a project – the onboarding project plan normally has four phases, with each phase consisting of multiple tasks and checklists. Although certain tasks and checklists are standard, we usually adjust where needed, depending on the type of client, complexity of the business and type of services needed.
Our love of technology and the seamless integration of all our systems helps automate onboarding functions throughout our business to make sure everyone knows what their tasks are when a new client comes on board.
Also, with the help of an integrated technology system, we can constantly monitor and track the progress of each client being onboarded.
A lot of initial work is very administrative, which we try and automate as far as possible. Automation saves valuable time normally spent on low-level administrative tasks that can now be refocused toward working directly with the client on the most meaningful and strategic work, so you can add value as quickly as possible.
However, it is vital to remember that as your business grows the type of clients you work with and the type of projects you take on will shift, and your onboarding process will need to be updated to reflect that. You also may need to update the content to reflect any changes in technology or tools used.
Ringing The Bell Isn’t The Finish Line
Repeat after me: Acquiring a new client, is not the finish line, it’s the start.
Failing to properly onboard new clients will have consequences that can ripple through the life of the relationship. Without a proper plan in place, execution becomes misguided, and the process has no direction. A new client relationship without clear direction and complete buy-in on both sides doesn’t stand much of a chance. I’m sure you have experienced this in the past. It’s not fun.
So, get the foundation right. Work together towards the client’s vision right from the start. As you aim to build long-term relationships with your clients, this initial onboarding process is crucial. Clients want a partner they can trust – the onboarding process strives to build that from the start.
“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock”.