Client onboarding is perhaps the most crucial step of your entire buying process - it sets the stage for a successful and long-lasting relationship between your clients & your company.
The data on its effect is striking - while a positive onboarding experience results in 86% of clients stating that they are more likely to repurchase, a poor onboarding experience on the other hand, can lead to a 60% drop in potential revenue from new clients.
It is evident that client onboarding managers play a pivotal role for not only customer retention, but also renewals and referrals.
Today we will explore the role and responsibilities of a client onboarding manager, their essential duties, and cover some valuable tips and best practices on how to handle the process in the most effective way possible.
Who is Responsible for Client Onboarding?
The main responsibility of client onboarding falls on customer success teams - but in no way does this mean that they’re the only ones involved. A successful and efficient client onboarding is a team effort that requires collaboration from various other departments.
Client success teams closely work with:
- Customer support
and other relevant teams to ensure that clients have a positive and memorable experience at the beginning of their relationship with your company, and all their needs are met.
As the main point of contact for new clients, the client onboarding specialists need to plan and coordinate the onboarding process with internal teams to ensure a frictionless transition and smooth integration of products or services.
What Does a Client Onboarding Specialist Do?
A client onboarding specialist, or a Client Onboarding Associate, closely works with the Client Onboarding Manager to execute the onboarding plans created for each client. They often have specific clients they are responsible for, and oversee the entire onboarding process end-to-end.
They essentially act as a liaison between the client and the different departments within the company in order to ensure efficient communication and collaboration.
Some of their duties may include:
- Gathering information about the client
- Setting accurate and realistic expectations
- Configuring the product or service to meet specific requirements
- Holding training and education sessions
- Providing ongoing support to clients during and after their onboarding.
What are Client Onboarding Duties?
Client onboarding managers have numerous duties throughout the onboarding process, but the most common and critical ones are:
Understanding client needs & goals: Each business, client, and their expectations are unique. The first step of effective client onboarding is to understand clients’ needs and business goals.
Creating the onboarding plan: Based on this gathered information, a customized plan that addresses the client’s needs, with clear steps, tasks, and timelines should be mapped out for an effective implementation.
Establishing communication: For a seamless onboarding experience, the client onboarding manager should coordinate all communication between different departments and the client, and loop in relevant people at the right time.
Training & education: Client onboarding teams should hold education and training sessions to ensure customers are self-sufficient and comfortable when utilizing the product or service.
Addressing concerns: There will likely be many questions and concerns on the customer’s side during onboarding. Regular planned check-ins to assess the customer’s experience and settle any worries or doubts is a crucial part of this process.
Gathering feedback: New customers’ fresh eyes are a great opportunity to notice key improvement points in the processes. Gathering lots of feedback during onboarding, and making improvements to enhance the client experience are top priorities.
Identifying upselling opportunities: As the relationship with the customer develops, it is important to recognize opportunities to offer additional products or services that align with their unique needs.
How to Handle Client Onboarding?
A well-executed onboarding not only helps build trust and credibility, but also enhances client satisfaction and retention rates. But handling this process successfully requires effective planning, coordination, and communication. Here are a few of the key points to pay attention to during onboarding.
You should gather all necessary information about the client, and establish clear communication channels at the very beginning of the onboarding. Your clients feeling like they’re in good hands, and that everything is being taken care of for them is the best way to build trust early on.
Personalization is a minor adjustment on your end, but it’s a highly effective way to level up the experience you’re offering to your clients, which goes a long way. Tailor your onboarding plan to suit the client's unique requirements and preferences.
Set realistic expectations
Did you know that 63% of clients have unrealistic expectations about the onboarding process? It is critical for onboarding managers to set realistic expectations to get ahead of potential disappointments. Establish transparency about not only what they should expect, but also on timelines, milestones, and what is expected of them.
Remove all the hiccups
A recent study showed that 42% of clients faced difficulties during the onboarding process due to system integration issues. Frictions like these can seriously negatively affect your clients’ adoption of your solution. Ensure that all the technical issues are sorted out for the smoothest possible transition.
For effective coordination and collaboration, clearly define the responsibilities of each team member involved in the onboarding process. Additionally, keep comprehensive records of progress to keep everyone on the same page, create accountability, and most importantly, update your clients.
How to Ensure Timely Completion of Onboarding Tasks?
Effective time management is crucial to ensure timely completion of the onboarding process. Here are some best practices to manage this more effectively:
- Present a comprehensive plan with timelines and task owners to establish clarity, which promotes quicker actions.
- Prioritize tasks based on their level of importance to avoid delays on critical ones.
- Set realistic deadlines to avoid causing misleading expectations, and derailing the process which might cause disappointments down the line.
- Use project management tools to stay organized, track progress, and make it easier to stay on the same page with your customers.
- Automate where it makes sense to streamline repetitive tasks and reduce manual errors.
- Monitor and report regularly to track progress and performance in order to identify and address potential bottlenecks in the process.
How to Assist Clients During the Onboarding Process?
Properly assisting clients during the onboarding process is crucial to ensure a positive experience and set the foundation for long-term relationships. And this assisting goes beyond just making plans and sorting out technicalities - there’s a serious trust and relationship building aspect to it.
Key points to pay attention to are:
Accessibility: Be readily available to answer your clients’ questions and address their concerns promptly. To foster a close relationship, it is important for them to feel like you are within their reach at all times.
Education: Offer comprehensive training sessions and provide all the necessary resources to handhold your clients to be efficient users of your product or service.
Empathy: Ensure that you’re attuned to your client's challenges and concerns, try to understand their experience, and offer empathetic support.
Proactive check-ins: Schedule regular check-ins with your client to assess the progress as well as their experience, and address any issues before they arise.
Level up your client onboarding process with Flowla
With Flowla’s interactive client facing workspaces, you can:
- Easily map out & visualize the entire onboarding process
- Establish transparency
- Ensure you’re on the same page with everyone involved
- Unite all of the materials your clients will need neatly in one place
and do so much more for a more focused, guided, and smooth onboarding experience.
Mutual Action Plans can help you hold all the stakeholders accountable to ensure everything is progressing right on track, and you can communicate easily via built in chat.
Here’s more information on how you can use Flowla for onboarding, and you can sign up for free here.