If you’ve ever found that something seems to go terribly wrong on every single project you do it’s easy to think “why am I attracting all these bad jobs?“. Perhaps your sell a digital product and you keep getting stuck answering the same questions or perhaps you have 1:1 client services and you’re spending way too much time in admin and not actually getting the job done.
The problem isn’t likely the job itself, but the processes you’ve setup around it. So save yourself some time (and heart ache) and get a good onboarding system in place.
What is onboarding?
Think of onboarding as an induction process for your customer. It sets the boundaries of the service, project or product and in a nutshell, reiterates what to expect. It gives the customer all the details they need to understand the process and know where they stand.
An onboarding process for an online store may be a simple as sending an email notifying your customer when their product will be arriving, for a consultant it may be a more in depth project plan.
Yes you’ve probably got everything all outlined in your terms and conditions, but let’s be real, how many times have you sat and read all those terms and conditions before checking boxes.
You may already have one in place and didn’t even know it!
An onboarding process is going to take away a lot of pain if all goes to hell.
Why you need an onboarding process
Having an onboarding process will help you establish a solid relationship with your customer. It will help you set expectations and address any concerns the client may have. Over all it is going to saves you time in the long run.
The number one reason to have a good onboarding system in place is happy customers. Everyone wants happy customers. Having this process will make the client feel super special and also their expectations are set to ensure a smooth running process.
Other benefits are having less scope creep (for 1:1 services) or just generally being more efficient (aka your time is saved).
What to include?
Generally in the onboarding process you’ll want to cover a lot of the logistics. So things like:
- The process
- What’s included / What’s not included
- Timelines & key deliverables (particularly what is expected of them)
- Questions/Survey on the client/customers expectations
- How & when to contact you
You may even want to include a welcome pack for your customer for that added wow factor which could be physical products, a nicely designed brochure, a hand written card or a video education series.
How to deliver onboarding?
If you’re doing 1:1 client work I highly recommend a component of your on boarding to be delivered either face to face, phone or skype and then followed up in writing. This gives the customer an opportunity to air any concerns and ask any questions they may have. You never want to be in the situation where your client turns around and says ‘I didn’t understand what you meant by that’ particularly when it comes to scope creep or if you’ve been waiting on something key to the project that has meant a delay for the project.
If you’re selling physical or digital products then emails should suffice, for a bit of extra special love some videos or something a little more visual will also work in your favour.
Can you automate this process
Yes and no. There are aspects that can definitely be automated in particular with digital products or shipping physical products.
For instance if you’re selling a digital or physical product you can schedule a series of emails to be sent at certain intervals after they have purchased. If you offer 1:1 services you may want to have a little welcome pack that includes all the things that are general housekeeping things like the process, how to contact you etc. And then follow it up with the things that are unique to the client. It’s all about identifying the process and checking the boxes as you run through it.
Onboarding will help you establish solid relationships with your customers and generally keep them happy (and save you time and heart ache in the long run).
Do you have an onboarding system? Leave a comment below