First Impressions Matter: How To Effectively Onboard Customers
The importance of warmly welcoming new clients cannot be overstated. How you onboard customers sets the tone for your relationship, sets expectations and aligns goals.
Follow our practical roadmap with dedicated checklists to streamline your onboarding process. The workflow applies to digital marketing agencies, public relations firms, design studios and any other type of agency.
We'll dive into the following 7 stages of the onboarding process for customers:
- Document client information
- Assemble a dedicated team
- Onboarding questionnaire
- Prepare accounts
- Welcome letter
- Kick-off meeting
- Regular update flow
By adopting this template, you'll be well on your way to fostering successful, long-lasting client relationships. Let's get started!
1. Onboard customers first step: document important information
Kickstart the process by entering your clients' information into your chosen spreadsheet or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
Ensure that all the data compiled by your sales crew is documented into this system. Keep this information up-to-date for a complete and precise record of your interactions with the client.
Below, we've listed some of the most critical client details you should gather when you onboard customers:👇
- Company Name: The registered name of the client's business.
- Industry Type: The specific field or sector where the client's business operates.
- Company Scale: The magnitude of the client's business, defined by workforce size or annual turnover.
- Primary Contacts: The names, job titles, and contact details of the main personnel you'll be interacting with.
2. Assemble a dedicated team
As a digital agency, the team you bring together when welcoming a new client can make or break success. Depending on the services and requirements, your team could encompass a variety of roles:
- Account Manager: Often the main liaison for the client, the Account Manager nurtures the client relationship, understands the client's needs, and ensures those needs are effectively communicated.
- Project Manager: The maestro of the project who oversees the timeline, budget, and deliverables for the client's projects.
- Strategist: Whether they're a master of content, digital, or overall marketing strategy, the Strategist's role is to devise plans that resonate with the client's objectives.
- Creative Team: Graphic designers, web designers, copywriters, and videographers who breathe life into the creative assets.
- SEO Specialist: This individual fine-tunes the client's content and website to enhance search engine rankings, ensuring that the client's digital presence doesn't go unnoticed.
- Social Media Manager: If the client wishes to amplify their social media footprint, a Social Media Manager is a must. They curate and manage content, engage with users, and stay on top of the ever-changing social media landscape.
- Data Analyst: The data analyst monitors and interprets campaign performance data.
- Technical Support: When your agency's services involve website development, app development, or other technical aspects, a tech whiz is a must-have.
- Legal Advisor: Depending on the client's industry and the nature of the projects, a Legal Advisor may be necessary to ensure all your activities are compliant with laws and regulations.
Remember, the secret lies in assembling a harmonious team that can cater to the client's needs effectively and efficiently. The size and structure of the team may adapt as the client's project changes over time.
- Account Manager:
- Project Manager:
- Creative Team:
- SEO Specialist:
- Social Media Manager:
- Data Analyst:
- Technical Support:
- Legal Advisor:
3. New client onboarding questionnaire
As an agency, the art of understanding your new client begins with a well-crafted onboarding questionnaire. Gather crucial information that dives deep into the heart of your client's business, their aspirations, and their target audience.
The questionnaire's objective is to harvest as much relevant data as possible about your client. Understand their business model, products or services, target audience, marketing objectives, key competitors, historical marketing efforts, and more.
The content of the questionnaire should be a mix of open-ended questions that elicit qualitative responses. Additionally, add closed-ended questions for gathering quantitative data. Keep your questions straightforward, and free of industry jargon.
After sending the questionnaire, be ready to examine the responses in a follow-up meeting. This provides an opportunity to clarify any ambiguities and delve deeper into certain areas.
Below, we present a checklist of essential questions to consider including in your onboarding questionnaire 👇
About the Business
- Could you briefly describe what your business does?
- In which industry does your business operate?
- Who are your main competitors?
- Who is your ideal customer? Please provide as much detail as possible (demographics, psychographics, behavior, etc.).
- What marketing activities have you engaged in so far? How successful were these?
- What marketing channels have you used? Which have been the most successful?
- Do you have any existing marketing assets (website, blog, social media profiles, etc.)?
Goals and Objectives
- What are your short-term and long-term business goals?
- What are your specific marketing objectives?
- What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) you use to measure success?
Budget and Timeline
- Are there any specific deadlines or key dates we should be aware of?
- What is your budget for our services?
About the Brand
- What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
- Do you have any existing brand guidelines (logos, color schemes, tone of voice, etc.)?
Expectations and Preferences
- What are your expectations from our agency?
- How do you prefer to communicate (email, phone, in-person, etc.) and how often?
- Are there any specific challenges or obstacles you think we might encounter?
4. Marketing Onboarding: Setting up essential accounts
Set the stage where your collaborative performance will unfold. One of the most significant steps in the onboarding customer process is preparing the necessary accounts.
Let's dive into different accounts you might want to set up when you onboard customers:
- Client Portal: If your agency leans on a client portal or a CRM system, creating an account for your new client is step one.
- Project Management System: Platforms like Rock, Asana, Trello, or Basecamp are digital workspaces where your client's projects will take shape. Allow clients to keep track of project milestones, facilitate seamless communication and approve deliverables.
- Communication Channels: Tools such as Rock, Slack, or Microsoft Teams are lifelines of agency-client interaction. Set up a dedicated channel or space for a smooth, uninterrupted conversation flow.
- Digital Marketing Tools: Depending on your service offerings, you may need to establish accounts on various digital marketing platforms. These can range from Google Analytics, Google Ads, to social media accounts.
- Billing and Invoicing: This involves registering billing details in your system and automating recurring invoices, ensuring a hassle-free financial exchange.
- Client Portal:
- Project Management System:
- Communication tools:
- Digital Marketing Tools:
- Billing & Invoicing:
5. The power of a well-crafted client welcome package
An agency's welcome package is more than just a collection of documents – it's the opening act of a long-lasting and productive client relationship. It's your chance to lay the groundwork for your partnership and share insights about your services and workflows.
Here's a glimpse into the essentials of a standout welcome package for onboarding new customers:
- Warm welcome letter: A personalized welcome letter is your first chance to express excitement about your future collaboration. Reaffirm what the client can anticipate in the coming stages of your partnership.
- Introducing the team: Humanize your agency by sharing details about the team members who will be working closely with the client. Besides their roles and contact, consider adding a fun fact or hobbies about team members.
- Service overview: Offer a detailed snapshot of the services the client has enlisted, and how they will be delivered.
- Workflow and timeline: Outline your task management processes and approximate timelines for different tasks.
- Contact details: Equip the client with the necessary contact information for any potential questions or concerns. Make sure to include both primary and secondary contacts.
- New customer onboarding checklist: A step-by-step checklist can guide the client seamlessly through the onboarding process, ensuring no detail is missed.
- Access credentials: If the client requires access to specific software or platforms, don't forget to include login details or access instructions.
- A Token of appreciation: Depending on your agency's culture and budget, a small gift can add a personal touch. This could be a simple branded notebook or an elaborate gift basket. While not mandatory, it's a delightful way to express your appreciation.
- 👋 Team Introduction
- 👀 Overview of services
- ⚙️ Process and timeline
- 📱 Contact information
- ✅ New customer onboarding checklist
- 🔐 Access information
- 🎁 Small gift or token
6. Nailing the first impression: client kickoff meeting
The kickoff meeting is much more than a formal introduction. It's an opportunity to set a positive tone for the relationship, establish mutual expectations, and synchronize on the project's goals, scope, and timelines.
Here's a step-by-step guide to effectively plan and conduct a kickoff meeting that can set the stage for success when you onboard customers:
- Pre-meeting preparation: Arm yourself with a thorough understanding of the client's business, industry, and the specific tasks they've commissioned. Create a detailed meeting agenda that outlines the discussion points for the meeting.
- Identifying attendees: The meeting should bring together key stakeholders from both sides. Include the project manager, account manager, and strategic leads from your agency, along with the decision-makers from the client's side.
- Setting the purpose & goals: Kickstart the meeting by explaining its purpose and goals. Typically, this involves aligning both parties on the project's trajectory and clarifying roles and responsibilities.
- Project overview: Delve into the project specifics. Cover the services you'll be offering, the project's goals, the target audience, and other relevant details.
- Roles & responsibilities: Clearly identify the involved parties from both sides, their roles, and their responsibilities. Defining this information ensures accountability and clarity, smoothing out the workflow.
- Establishing timelines & milestones: Share the projected timeline, highlighting key milestones and deliverables. Set expectations for when the client can anticipate results or specific output from your agency.
- Communication plan: Discuss the communication plan for the project duration, including the frequency of updates, the client's primary contact point, and the communication tools in use.
- Facilitating a Q&A session: Allow the client to ask questions or express any concerns. Ensure everyone is on the same page and preemptively address potential issues.
- Next steps: Wrap up the meeting by summarizing the agreed-upon next steps and confirming any immediate actions.
- Schedule a kickoff meeting and time
- Send invitations
- Research client, industry and overall project
- Write a meeting agenda and share with participants at least 48 hours in advance
- Share meeting notes and summary
7. Regular update flow
Establish a regular rhythm for updates and communication with your client. This could be weekly emails, recurrent meetings, or timely updates via a project management tool.
Your main objective here is to ensure the client stays in the loop regarding the project's progression and any significant developments.
Onboard new clients with the free Agency Customer Onboarding template!
Ready to take the hassle out of client onboarding? We're delighted to introduce the Agency customer onboarding template – a free, user-friendly tool designed to help agencies seamlessly integrate new clients.
Our comprehensive template offers a structured approach that saves time, builds trust, and promotes clear communication. We share a standardized yet customizable onboarding process for customers that can be adapted to suit your agency's unique needs and those of each client.
The client onboarding process template is a fantastic resource for agencies looking to streamline customer onboarding processes. Enhance client satisfaction, and lay the foundation for a successful and productive working relationship.
Give the marketing onboarding process a try today – it's free!