It is a great feeling when you secure a new client for your agency. The satisfaction that your marketing efforts have worked out or that you’ve won a big pitch can be really exciting. When you secure a new client, the clock starts ticking for how they will be experiencing your service and first impressions count!
As well as making them feel valued and welcome from the beginning there are practical elements to the new engagement that will need to be ironed out e.g. understanding the business outcomes they’re hoping to achieve by working with you, gathering all their relevant data, collecting any artwork files or branding guidelines, understanding their internal approval processes, knowing who’s going to be involved in the sign-off process from their side – not to mention how you will be keeping in contact on an ongoing basis.
There are many things to consider and agree upfront that will enable you to avoid any misunderstandings later down the line.
This is known as client onboarding and for some companies this is a more “as it happens” part of business and every single time it is different. This may work okay if you’re a very small nimble company, but as you grow and there are more agency people in the mix and many more clients starting to work with you, it’s better to have a more standardised approach to client on-boarding.
Why is this? Why does it make sense to have a client on-boarding process? Here are some of the reasons why you should make the effort and take the time to create this all-important process.
It makes sure that every new client has the same experience
It is incredibly important for every single client to feel that they have had the same experience with you to others – besides if you are going to be asking for referrals from your clients, they need to know that whoever they recommend you to will enjoy the same excellent care and attention from the beginning.
Also, you want to avoid them feeling they are not as important as other clients, or that they have gotten a below par service.
The only way that you can make sure that every client receives the same treatment, is to set up a process that everyone in the agency can follow. That way there can be no confusion and also new account managers who start at the agency understand ‘that’s the way we do it’ and can hit the ground running quicker. Getting new employees up to speed is one of the biggest hidden costs for any growing business.
You can find out what they prefer for the future, such as contact methods
No two clients are the same, which means that each client is going to have their own ideas of what good client service feels like and will also require a slightly different level of service from you. Some will prefer you to contact them on the phone, some will prefer an email or text. It is increasingly popular to communicate on social media even in busines matters, so be sure to have your social media exude professionalism. One way to do this is hiring a social media marketing company like The Marketing Heaven who will build your facebook and twitter credibility. This way your new clients will have the feeling of being properly cared.
A key part of the on-boarding process is to make sure that you find out some of these preferences so you can adapt your way of working to suit them – besides, how do you know that you might even be ‘over’ servicing?
It allows you to find out more about them
The best way that you can make sure you offer the perfect service to your clients, is to know as much as possible about them. As well as your own research, one of the simplest ways to learn about them as a company is to ask them, ask questions about their objectives, any targets, current performance and key performance indicators.
All this information can prove to be vitally important for you to know and understand if you plan to surprise them by adding additional value. Invest your time in getting to know the client well from the start and it’ll pay dividends when you’re looking to extend the relationship for the future.
You are setting expectations right from the start
A client is going to want to know that you are the right choice for them, right from the very start. So, it is always a good idea to make the right impression at the earliest stage. By having a perfect on-boarding process you are showing them that you are taking them being your client seriously and value their custom.
Give your clients the perfect welcome and you can be sure they will definitely stick around with you in the long run.
So do you use a standardised client on-boarding process?
If you’d like a copy of my client on-boarding process template, please drop me a line at email@example.com.