New Client Onboarding Process + FREE Checklist For Your Creative Agency

New Client Onboarding Process + FREE Checklist For Your Creative Agency

– A strong start is everything, from what you do in your personal work, business work, and
particularly client work. It shows up over and over again just how important onboarding is. It’s the driving key to help
your clients feel at ease, engaged, and empowered to
achieve success with you, no matter how long the roadmap looks like. We’re going to be covering
that in today’s video, and I’m going to walk you through my workflow that takes place, and I’ll cover it through
my tool that I use to run my business, which is Samepage. So I’m super excited to
share it with you all, so keep watching the video, take notes, and subscribe for future
videos just like this. (upbeat rock music) Hey hey, CEOS. Welcome back. If you’re brand new here, I’m Theresa, Operations Coachsultant behind Loop Link, and I’m here to help you complete the loop in your business operations and expand your agency with excellence. And I’m all about helping you
shift from a CEO-dependent to a systems-dependent operations by leveraging your systems,
people, and processes. And what we’re going to be covering in today’s could very well be one of the top processes of your agency, the client onboarding process. So what do we talk about when
we think about onboarding? So I’m talking about your
client’s very first experience with your creative agency, whether it’s on day
one, a couple of weeks, or spanning over a few months. However, when we talk about onboarding, we’re focusing on the period of time from when your client has paid up to when they are fully up and running and leveraging your services or products. It’s about providing
that seamless experience that sets them up for success. A lot of people mistake
that onboarding starts from the time a prospect says yes to executing the agreement
and making the payment. That’s more of a sales process
or a conversion process. So why is client onboarding so critical? It deserves a ton of time
and attention to get it right because the biggest thing is this: your clients just paid you, and they want to be reassured that they made the right
choice and decision by investing in your
services or your products. This is the moment that
they’re the most excited and can’t wait to get started. They’ve invested in making
this successful with you. So if you have the right
client onboarding process, the client will be most engaged to make this work for the both of you. So how can you tell if you have a successful
onboarding process? So a successful onboarding experience will leave your clients feeling
confident in their choice that they made the right
investments to working with you or going through your
services and products. They’re going to feel
that you are committed, equally committed and
engaged in this process to help them reach their success. And also as well, as you are going through the onboarding process, if there’s any errors that takes place or any delays that impacts
the project timeline, they’re going to be
much more understanding of the adjustments and forgiving of any of the items that arises. A successful onboarding process
will also leave them wanting to rave about their experience with your services and products, and they’re gonna be so excited about wanting to refer out your services. They can’t stop talking about it. And one of the biggest distinguishments between a successful onboarding process and an unsuccessful onboarding process is that it’s structured for success, so which means over and
over again repeatedly that your clients are walking through and achieving their first value, getting through to the
milestone successfully, and also as well adoption
of your services. Now let’s go over what the unsuccessful
onboarding process looks like. So when you start off with
a rocky onboarding process, your clients are going to
begin feeling concerned about their choice, whether or not they made
the right investments, and shortly they’re going to also start feeling buyer’s remorse. And that’s where you’re going to see that there’s a risk of
cancellation or a risk of refund within the refund period, for example. And not only that, if
you had a rocky start to your onboarding process, this will create doubt
in your clients’ minds. And not only that,
you’re going to see that. They’re going to be nitpicking
at every single detail. They’re going to watch out for any errors. And all of a sudden, they’re going to be managing
your process for you. And also as well, if the onboarding experience
has been unsuccessful, they’re not going to really talk about it, and they’re not going
to want to mention you or your services at all. And if your name does come up, they might be a little bit reserved or hesitant to talk about it. And most of all, the
biggest distinguishment is that it’s you’re going to
meet challenges for success at every way through the project. As you are setting up or reviewing your onboarding process, consider what are some of the goals that you want to achieve with onboarding. I think one of the most important goals is setting the objectives and expectations at the very beginning. Every client will have a
different application, journey, and speed that they experience
through your service, so you’ll want to meet
them where they are. Remind what and why they
enrolled with your services and enable them to be successful by reiterating your framework or process. You’ll want to outline key milestones, boundaries to work
within, and understanding what will drive success
for the both of you. Again, it’s success for the both of you. Another goal you’ll want to aim for is to attain the information you need through the onboarding process. This is where you need to gather
information from the client to understand their current
situation, scenario, challenges, and what they’ve
tried, what’s working for them, and what’s not working for them. So a kickoff questionnaire
can totally grab all of these information for you, and this is also the
time where you’ll want to be able to get access
to their specific systems. By attaining the information
you need during onboarding, it will reduce any delays that will affect the
project timeline or scope, and it’ll limit any scope creep. The third goal I think
that is just as important as the first is to maintain communication. This is the time and space where you can communicate with
your clients, the timeline, who are their key contacts on
the project, the deliverables, any risks to watch out for, and mainly to keep them informed. You’ll also want to let them know when they can expect
communication from you, and it makes you accountable
to deliver on end. All right, so that covers the critical aspects around onboarding. Now it’s all about
pulling the curtains back on my client onboarding process and how I manage it in my Samepage tool. Even if you’re not using Samepage, this is a process that
you can easily implement into your own workflow
regardless of what tools you use. So one of the first key
components that I always set up as I go into any new tools, no matter if you’re
working in Asana, Trello, or Basecamp or even ClickUp. Whatever is your tool of choice, you’ll always wanna make sure
that you have your SOPs living in the tool that you
are working in as well. You can definitely have it in
a Google Docs, for example, but that should actually
be your secondary backup. So in that way, you’re gonna make sure that if one tool fails, you will not be flying blind as well, and that will just also allow you to be able to migrate sufficiently going as you continue to grow. As you begin to start mapping out what your client onboarding
process looks like, you’re going to want to bring that SOP directly into your tool. And if you’re able to work
with a tool such as Samepage where it allows you to create
some internal documents in the platform as well, that’s just going to be an
additional benefit for you. So if you’re able to create the document right inside your project management tool as an internal document, it’s
going to really accelerate how you operate and optimize
your business processes. And so in here, for example, you’ll be able to see my
client onboarding process, who’s involved in it,
why we want to make sure that we understand the
importance of the process, and why it’s typically ran or executed. And also as well within
my processes and my SOPs, I also document what the
flowchart looks like. And so here you can really see
what our flowchart looks like for the onboarding process itself. So it starts with client announcement, and then it moves into project setup, and then we move to send
the client welcome package. And within the client welcome package, typically it will provide
the client some action items on how to move forward in
the onboarding process, which typically will direct them to schedule a strategy call. So here we see that the
strategy call is scheduled, and then we move into the process where after we finish
wrapping up the strategy call, that’s where we’re going
to be able to reframe or update our project plan just so that we can manage
the expectations and make sure that we are on point with
the goals and objectives. And then it goes into the next sequence. Now, because my level
of service is actually in systematizations and and optimization of business processes, so for our own client onboarding process, what we do is we also have a period where we do process documentation, implementation and testing, and then measuring and improving. And the cycle keeps circulating until we have systematized much
of their business processes. Now, this is just for the
one-on-one client work that I have, but on the other framework, depending if you have,
you provide coaching or you provide training
or whatever is the case, your workflow may look
a little bit different at each one of these steps. Once these steps are outlined, that’s where you’re going to be able to then really dive into what
your process steps look like. Now, when we touch base on
the client announcement, that’s where we’re
going to be able to see, okay, where does this
whole process really start? And like I mentioned before is
that onboarding truly starts after the moment a client has completed and fulfilled their initial payments and also as well the
execution of the contract which is in the sales
or conversion process. So how I’ve set up my Samepage is that the moment a new client is onboarded, what happens is I have built in a Zapier where once payment has been recognized, what happens is it
pings my client project, my overall client project,
that there is a new client, and then it initiates the team to be able to create a
new task for this client. So what we’ve done is
we’ve created a new task that a client has been announced and then what we need to
start initializing with. So after we have the
new client announcement, then we go into project setup. So our team would then go
and create a new sub-team, ’cause we work as sub-teams in Samepage, and then we would label
is as the next component. So we would label it as 20, and then for this example I’m just going to use Hooloo Marketing. And then the sub-team members of looplinc. And that’s perfect. And then we’re gonna make sure
that it’s a protected team. So you wanna make sure that
you have the right permissions whenever you are setting up your projects. So once we are there,
then what I typically do is I copy over any other, usually I would have templates, and I would be able to
create the templates. So if I click on New, I
can choose from templates, and that’s where I can actually
select my project plan. So, for example, choose this one. I’m just actually gonna make this global. So now when I go back to my project, I can actually select
it as a project summary and then create it from there. So this is where everything
kind of really starts. And this is where we kind of really want to be able to break out and gather as much information as we can. A lot of this information
should live on the contract or even in the sales quote, so what we would do is
bring in the sales quote. We would actually add it as a file here so that everything just
kinda lives all together, and then move through
to identify what we can. So typically this process should stem from either the account
manager or the sales rep. Whomever is responsible for that handoff should actually be the
one who completes the gap and makes sure that
information transference is being done and being executed. So you’ll want to always make sure that you understand what
are some of the struggles? What is the scope of work
that has been arranged and committed with the client? And make sure that you’ve also identified what are some of the success metrics? So, for example, if you’ve
taken on a marketing client and what they wanna do is be able to increase their email list by 20%. So let’s say the are at 200 right now, and they wanna go up to 300
subscribers on their list by the end of 60 days, for example. Those are some key success metrics that you’ve developed with
your clients together. So you’ll want to make sure
that you bridge that gap and the communication is the same, and this is the perfect place for you to be able to really capture all of that. And so as you continue
to move through this, you’ll also wanna be able to identify what’s in scope and what’s out of scope and if there are any risks that
will impact the deliverable and fulfillment of this project. Now, this is one component
that a lot of clients throughout my last three years, this is a very, very small component that they ever discussed
with their clients because it’s a point of fear, right? They always have focused
more on the optimistic side of the onboarding process
versus really addressing if there are anything that may risk the success of the projects. And so as I work with my clients, I always encourage them
that they need to be able to have that discussion
with their clients, so then that way everyone’s
all on the same page and understanding that, hey, if this client is in financial troubles or that they’re putting all
of their eggs in one basket, which is your service, in hopes that your service
is going to save them, that’s a huge red flag
because then that means that they are on very tight margins, they don’t have a lot of
wiggle room in their cashflow. And so the whole pressure,
the whole accountability, they’re trying to force
that accountability on you. So you’ll want to be really mindful of what are some of the risks that are coming towards your projects. So, for example as well,
if you have a client where they are in a transitional
period in their business, so, for example, they are
scaling or they are downsizing, those are some of the risks that you need to make sure you’ve captured upfront. And remember that not all
clients will be forthcoming with that information, so you may have to dig with some questions to be able to get through it. So if that’s the case
and if that’s been some of the track records of your own clients, what you’ll want to do
to improve your process is actually make that
as a standard question in your project summary or even in your strategy
call or kickoff call to make sure you’re capturing
everything as needed. And also to be able to
reiterate that trust, right, is that they need to be able to trust you with that information
so that you know exactly what you’re working with so
that can remove any blockage or challenges along the way so that both of you can experience that level of success together. Now, once that is in place, that’s when you’re going to want to be able to have that strategy call. I always encourage you to
have a questionnaire type or even if you are working in
a Google Docs or Google Sheet, whatever is the case. You’ll always want to have
a form-style questionnaire to walk through with your clients on your first kickoff
call or strategy calls. And that’s going to allow you to capture all the right information
systematically, repetitively. Everything’s going to
be done the same way, and that’s what you consider
as a productized service. So this all in all just helps you be able to move towards having
that refined process over and over and over again. Now, one thing that I always make sure that every project has is
an onboarding checklist so in that way we understand, okay, what are some of the deliverables that we need to do immediately? Whether it’s internal or client-facing. So sending a welcome call
is definitely client-facing, but a lot of these steps are internal and should be done immediately. If your tool automates
it for you, wonderful. If not, you’re going to need to make sure that you do have checkpoints in place so that these steps are not missed. Also as well, you’ll want
to be able to make sure that coordination of the
onboarding and kickoff call is done and any team members who
are involved are aware of how it looks like, what
they’re responsible for, and what communication
needs to be forwarded on to the manager or the person
who is leading the call. So as we go down the checklist, we actually break it out by week, so in that way we understand what are some of those bite-size
deliverables on a weekly basis? And this enables the team to be able to take action in bite-size
pieces and not feel overwhelmed, and it also limits the overwhelm for the clients themselves as well. And so by creating your own checklists in this type of format, you’re going to see the success
for your onboarding process. Now, even if you have an
onboarding process in place, that doesn’t mean that it’s
effective and efficient. A poor onboarding process can
cost you at your bottom line. So having a successful
onboarding process will result in and on-time and on-budget projects. To mitigate any risks to hidden costs, when you focus on making sure that you have a successful
onboarding process, you’re going to be able to
improve expected transparency, so which means that you
know from front to end what’s happening from your team’s side and also from the client’s side. You’re going to also be able to have really, really
strong process controls, which means any templates
that is designated or checklists that are used
in your onboarding process, it’s going to be followed down to a T. Also as well, it’s going
to improve your ability to report on progress to your clients, which means communicating effectively where things are currently at, what are some of the
delays, what are the risks, and be able to manage it accordingly. Also as well, having a
successful onboarding process will allow you to automate
a lot of those tidbits between each systems and allow you to have a seamless strategy
all across and a seamless flow. Now, if you have an unsuccessful
onboarding experience, this is where it’s going
to cost you the most. It’s going to not only be
delayed in your project timeline, but it’s also going to be
costly, not just only in time, but effort and energy. One of the results that can come with a unsuccessful onboarding
process is poor communication. So it’s going to be poor communication that is experienced on the team level, but also on the client level, and so you’ll want to mitigate that. And also as well, one of the results from that is having
unstandardized processes. Unstandardized processes really,
really impacts the success of the onboarding process. And also as well, you’re going to find that you’re always going to be reactive instead of being proactive. You’re going to be reactive
in responding to clients because they’ll probably be the first ones to reach out to you and
saying, “Hey, what’s going on? “What’s the status of this? “I haven’t heard from
you for a long while.” And so you’ll want to
mitigate all of those, right? And also as well, if you have an unsuccessful
onboarding process, it’s going to create a lot of redundancies and a lot of rework. So those are some of the key components that you want to really avoid
when it comes to onboarding and how to be able to find
the success for onboarding. Earlier, we’ve covered what unsuccessful onboarding
looks like for your clients, but unsuccessful onboarding
can also incur costs behind the scenes in
time, effort, and money. It results in late onboarding efforts, over budget onboarding, and
impacts your client relations. In a nutshell, you’ll want
to monitor your progress and always do a post-mortem on how you can continuously improve and optimize your onboarding process. One of the key elements
that I utilize constantly is automation and templates
wherever possible. That will allow my team
to know what is needed to jumpstart the client projects, gather the right information,
and run fast with it. Now you know how important a
client onboarding process is, and that’s why I’m sharing with
you my onboarding checklist so that you can adapt it
into your own workflow and better optimize or
improve your process wherever you can. Remember that successful
onboarding processes not only delivers a wow
experience to your clients, but it’ll keep longer engagements, bring you raving referrals,
and reduce incurred costs. So how does your client
onboarding process look like? What can you improve today? Leave your answers and feedback in the comment section below. Make sure you download the free checklist. If this video has been
helpful, be sure to subscribe, share with your friends,
and hit the like button so I know to make more videos like this. I’m Theresa, Operations Coachsultant, and I’ll see you in the next one. (bright music)


  • Theresa Baretta

    Thanks for watching! Heard something useful? Let me know down below what you can implement in your onboarding process!

  • Tanya Paulin

    Great video! I'm definitely going to come back to this one in the future!!

  • Intentional Marriages

    Great visuals which help in following along. Super advice!

  • Sno White-Benson

    Great information, Theresa.

  • Nando Rodriguez

    Omg. You make getting organized look fun and so easy! I love the structure you create. Thanks for the awesome lesson. πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ”₯πŸ’₯πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ”₯πŸ’₯

  • Basia Richard

    that's a lot of useful information. Great video Theresa.

  • Melinda Kitto

    It makes such a massive difference in the client experience when you have a well thought out client on-boarding process vs a rubbish one. I've experienced both as a client and it's definitely something I want to continue to improve for my own clients.

  • James Edwards

    Okay, now this is great content! And information I really needed to hear, thank you for posting this!

  • Shawn Bell

    That’s a great system and looks very organized. Love a great system like that to keep you consistent. Great video

  • Kaleah Nicole Coaching

    I love this! As an HR professional for many years I would try to drill this to the executive time. You did an excellent job of explaining.

  • Raphael Hopper

    Providing a seamless experience is sooo important. I believe that your marketing never ends. Loved it.

  • HashtagCareerGoals

    Wow!! so many things to learn here. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  • Social Confidence Mastery

    You explained this topic really well!

  • Christian Lamb Inspires

    Loved the flow sheet that you have for your onboarding process. Your organization and attention to detail are super impressive! Great vid! Thx!

  • Jill Therese

    This is really helpful. I find that if the client has a pretty seamless 3-4 touches at the beginning of their journey, even if they're upset/frustrated by certain things, they're much happier moving forward, because they felt like they were taken care of at the beginning.

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