After the Contract: Best Practices for Client Onboarding
You’ve worked hard to negotiate and execute your contract. Now it’s time to bring your client aboard, and start delivering. Do you know how to enforce your contract terms, while providing a stellar client experience? Do you have a new client welcome process established for your business? Here are our Top 7 Best Practices for exceptional new client onboarding:
Educate Your Team:
- Be sure your team knows your contract terms and obligations. Creating a contract summary document that outlines the scope, timeline, milestones and mutual obligations will ensure you are satisfying everything you agreed to provide. Store this data in a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) application or another tracking mechanism. [There are free options out there, like Google Sheets or Airtable.]
Engage Your Client:
- Start with a Warm Welcome. You can set the right tone to start your engagement by having a new client process ready to go the minute the contract is signed. This process should include:
- Welcome Letter
- Team Contact Information / Introduction Letters
- Written Details About Your Delivery Process
- Engagement Schedule / Checklists / Documents
- Next Steps & Expectations Document
Gather Necessary Information:
- Create a comprehensive Client Intake Survey that gathers all of the necessary information and details you need to start working immediately. Let’s say you are about to commence bookkeeping for a new client. You would want to know about their systems, accrual basis, revenue, contracts, expenditures, bank accounts, and more. Be sure to consider the work you need to do, and then develop the list of questions that will enable you to start working from the moment you receive their survey responses.
- Provide open and ready access to any documents or information that they will be using or reviewing throughout your service delivery process. Are you providing cleaning services? This document repository might include MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) that provide chemical ingredients and safety procedures. Will you be creating social media content and posts for your client? Use a content management system to share your content for review and approval.
- Stay on Track. Timely delivery of services will ensure your clients’ expectations are being met and preferably exceeded. Encountering an obstacle that may impact your timeline? Communicate early and often to keep them in the loop and make sure they don’t feel forgotten.
- Measure Success and Satisfaction. Check-in with your clients once a month for the first 90 days, to get their feedback, and determine if any adjustments need to be made to your delivery approach. After that, be sure to follow up every 6 months. This keeps you connected to the process, helps you ensure they are pleased with their progress and provides opportunities to sell additional goods and services.
- Create and update a service delivery tracking report that includes key contract deliverables, deadlines, actual delivery dates, any obstacles or issues, and customer feedback. This will help you maintain awareness of your progress, as well as serve as a closeout report at the end of your contracted obligations.
As with any process, don’t be afraid to make edits as needed to suit a particular client engagement. Standard practices improve your efficiency, but flexibility is key to a high level of satisfaction.
Do you have concerns or questions about how to deliver on a legally binding contract? Be sure that you speak to an experienced legal professional. The team at the Law Office of Adriana E. Baudry LLC is available to guide you through the process.