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Thought Leadership

Seven steps to creating an onboarding strategy

Finding new clients is not an easy task. But their encounter with you will determine if it will be even more difficult to keep them. We have been dealing with the onboarding question in the last five blogs. Now, we have put together a strategy for you which will contribute to customer retention. Done well, it will influence your cross-sells and up-sells too.

Going digital will influence how you think about everything in your business. So, start small. Don\’t try and reinvent everything in one go.

 1. Create a digital onboarding mandate: 

\"startup-meeting-brainstorm\"The mandate should embrace every little aspect involved in onboarding the new client. Keep it simple! Make sure you have the basic required information necessary for effective follow-up. You may include optional items like products that he/she has a need for, documentation, and such like. When creating this, get as much input as possible from your sales, client services and marketing teams. Remember, you are planning for a digital customer journey. Moving to a digital arena will minimise human error and maximise the speed of onboarding. Don\’t loose focus.

2. Let Teams and team members understand their responsibilities: 

Just because it\’s digital does not mean you don\’t need a team. For a lot of them it may be a new thing to use digital platforms to onboard customers. Every team and their members need to understand exactly what you expect of him/her about onboarding new clients. Some will feel that personal touch will get lost in digital onboarding. It won\’t. It will just work in a new way. You can attend to a client faster and more informed when you use digital technologies. Encourage your team members to explore every part of their responsibility for every step in the mandate. Let them give feedback and work with their concerns.

\"people3. Describe the process to new customers: 

Get your client’s buy-in. Expose them to the new experience. Let them try it and comment on it. When your clients know what to expect, and also what you are trying to achieve with the process, they will embrace it with open arms. You may need to tweak and adapt some of the parts of the process, but it is usually easier if you have honest feedback. After explaining the process to them, ensure that there is help along the way that can guide them towards the next step, should they need this. The client will then experience the process as efficient and well-organised.

4. Create the necessary documentation around onboarding: 

You are moving into a new frontier. People will want to know how this new method works, what it is all about and what they can expect. Give them access to the necessary standard and branded documentation in whatever form they need it. Team members and new clients will respond with confidence that all is going the way it should when they have everything they need. Keep them informed. Make sure you have your mandate close at hand to remind you of what you are busy with. Don\’t waste paper or time. Remind yourself that you want to move away from printed solutions towards digital methods. Do forms online or in pdf. At this point it will be great if your CRM system can integrate with mobile and online channels. Make use of e-books and info graphics to further clarify or describe the process, the product, the service, etc. Use this documentation to collect and save the required information. Hint: Lead capture pages are a brilliant place to start.

5. Create a welcome and/or freebie package: 

\"gift\"Small tokens of appreciation make your client feel special. Everybody loves receiving an unexpected surprise, even if it is just a welcome e-mail or small gift. It always leaves a good impression and will definitely not go unnoticed. Brand it! Any welcome package or freebie should be clearly associated with your company.

6. Plan and automate follow-ups: 

Think about the experience of subsequent interactions. If newsletters and other online communications aren’t planned and automated, these often fall by the wayside. When you have gone through so much trouble to make the new client feel welcome and special. Don\’t abandon the client after a welcome gift. Go the extra mile and touch base again. This not only keeps you in your customer’s mind but possibly facilitates successive sales.

7. Get the client’s feedback:

It’s crucial to ask new clients to give you feedback regarding their experiences during the onboarding process. This way you will discover any possible problems. Collect all the suggestions that can help improve the onboarding process in the future. Clients who are encouraged to share their viewpoints about their experiences feel more associated to your company and know that they are valuable to you.

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