Your client onboarding process is crucial for your business.
It’s the mechanism through which your business development team and/or sales team can provide an elegant handoff to your service delivery people. In turn, your new customers gain increased confidence in your offering and in your business.
Is yours as effective as it could be?
Below, I outline three principles we’ve kept in mind while structuring our client onboarding process, a process that we see as foundational to Prialto’s success.
3 Main Principles Of An Effective Client Onboarding Process
1. Develop a greater sense of client confidence in your business, immediately
Modern buyers are hesitant to sign on to a new service, especially when they fear the inevitable productivity dip that typically takes place before a new service becomes additive.
When your service is offered remotely from a globally distributed team like ours, it’s even more important (and difficult) to get your client onboarding process right. Our new clients are particularly fearful. They worry that they will need to provide a lot of heavy personal management time to make our service work, since our virtual assistants reside a world away in Asia and Latin America.
To overcome this, we work to wow the client with the amount of management support we will provide on their behalf. We put their entire support team of virtual assistants and their manager on the onboarding call so that they hear from each member of their team and understand how each of their roles will make the productivity dip as minimal as possible.
This addresses one of the greatest fears of the new client, and puts them at ease by encouraging them to follow our lead. Instead of doubt and stress, they feel reassured and supported.
2. Collaborate through context, both professionally and personally
Studies show that when meetings begin with a bit of personal sharing, all attendees are more productive than if they would have kept the meeting “all about business.” When we take time to highlight the personal context in which work is conducted, we collectively create the trust and respect that is foundational to work collaboration.
As mentioned, we begin every client onboarding call by introducing each member on our new clients’ support team. Since we’ve already sent a detailed biography of our new client’s primary virtual administrative assistant via email before the call, we’re able to jump right in and outline each additional team members’ role in helping our new client. We also shine a special focus on the new client, asking him/her to tell us about the professional and personal aspects of his/her life. The more information we have, the better we can support our new client right away.
We follow these introductions with a series of preference questions. Many of these preferences have been collected in advance of the call via a web form or survey. However, asking further questions of the new client builds trust by illustrating that we have worked with people like him/her, and we know how to successfully lead a busy professional through the productivity dip to the “sweet spot” in which the service we offer is creating lasting value.
These introductions and follow-up questions help bridge the context gap between our new client operating in a high pressure North American business environment and the world in which our virtual assistants live in Latin America and Southeast Asia.
If you have a globally distributed team, you know firsthand how important these aspects of bridging the context gap are to the continued success of your business, your team, and your clients.
3. Continuity is built step-by-step
New clients who sign on with a business like yours for a new service are often attracted by one specific partner, employee, or executive. But neither your business nor your new client should ever be dependent on any one or two people to achieve success.
Building continuity of service that will stand the tests of time starts with the client onboarding call. That’s why the call should never be with just one person, but with the broader support team.
It's important to note that someone on your team should always document all preferences and key information shared on the call. And whenever possible, the call should be recorded--if that’s okay with the new client.
The Onboarding Bridge
Services are difficult to sell because of all the trust building required between provider and buyer. The provider must convince the buyer that the productivity dip will be minimal, and the buyer must convince the provider that he/she will be a client capable of riding out the productivity dip.
A good client onboarding process will:
· Help the new client slow down in a time-efficient way in order to get started
· Help overcome the business and social context gap between the service provider and service buyer
· Begin the process of ensuring continuity of service for both the business and the client
By proactively addressing each of these bulleted needs, the onboarding process becomes an elegant handoff from sales to service that positivity defines your brand.
Article by Eric Taussig, CEO of Prialto