Why it’s important to create a smooth onboarding process
Your onboarding process is one of the first dealings with your client and as such plays an important role in the building of a lasting and fruitful relationship.
The process you use will be seen as reflective of how you will continue to work with your client, so it’s important to make a good impression from the very beginning.
If you are disorganised or the process is complicated and intrusive on your client’s time, it could sow doubt in your client’s mind as to how easy it will be to work with you and the quality of work you’ll produce.
However, a simple process that is easy and straightforward and doesn’t ask for any superfluous information will create a sense of ease and confidence at the start of your working relationship.
Step 1 – Know what information you need
Create a list of all the information you need from your client, then go through that list again and make sure that you haven’t added any ‘nice-to-have’ items.
GDPR will play a part in this as you can’t ask for or hold onto certain information for no good reason, so make sure that everything you ask for has a purpose.
Use this list as a master checklist to make sure you don’t forget items and have to go back and ask again later.
If in your industry you find that you always require more information depending on the initial answers given, then tell your client that this is the case so they know what to expect.
Step 2 – Make sure you’ve covered what you need them to know
You will want to make sure that all payment details and terms and conditions are clear during the onboarding process, so take some time to go through this.
We always make sure that the client understands that as bookkeepers we are regulated by HMRC and there are certain criteria I have to fulfil as part of my insurance and regulation. Setting this out clearly at the beginning of the relationship makes sure that there are no unreasonable expectations going forward.
Make sure that you’ve covered how you will get paid – what the deliverables are and when payment is due. Again, by making sure that everyone is on the same page you can avoid misunderstandings later.
Step 3 – Automate wherever you can
To make the process simpler for you and to create a professional appearance, automate wherever you can.
If you have a series of questions that are asked every time, create an online questionnaire that can be filled out easily with dropdowns, tick boxes, and text boxes.
Use an online signature service such as HelloSign or DocuSign for your contracts and terms.
Create an email template that is used for every new client so you can just fill out the specific details without having to write out the whole thing every time.
And whether you use online services or not, create a folder on your computer where you keep all your onboarding documents, both for the client and your own checklists, to make it easier to complete the process.
Step 4 – Go through the process with every client
Once you’ve set up your process, use it with every client. It sounds like an obvious thing to say, but sometimes we’re in a rush or we don’t want to bother people so we skip steps. Don’t do that – you’ve created this process for a reason; follow it.
The onboarding process shouldn’t be complicated or long-winded. Taking the time to create a process with checklists and automation will set you up for successful onboardings and create a great first impression with your client.
A quick check to see how simple you’ve made your onboarding process is to delegate it to someone else and see if they can follow it through. If not, you could probably simplify it more.
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Contact us about how we can help you create and manage your onboarding effectively, and to get a little superstar treatment, on:
Telephone: 020 3362 4436
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