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The Ultimate Client Onboarding Process Toolkit

Here at Process Street, we are experts when it comes to the client onboarding process.

Having taken thousands of clients through our strategically designed onboarding process, we are confident in delivering an outstanding onboarding experience. And our community of satisfied clients can attest to that, too.

And yes, we adore teaching businesses how to scale, increase revenue, and make their processes more efficient.

That’s why we are sharing our client onboarding wisdom.

Sit back as we take you through all the benefits of successful onboarding, show you the challenges (and how to solve them), and give you free templates to enjoy.

  • What is the client onboarding process?
  • Client onboarding process stages
  • Challenges of client onboarding process
  • Benefits of the client onboarding process
  • Client onboarding process best practices
  • Client onboarding process software tools and vendors
  • Client onboarding process templates (go to this section if you want to skip straight to the template)
  • Client onboarding process automation
  • Client onboarding process optimization

What is a client onboarding process?

Successful client onboarding is about establishing a good relationship with your new client and helping them settle in with your product. 

When a new client signs up, you need to have a clearly written process to make sure they know they’ve made the right choice.

If you leave your client to figure your product out on their own, they’ll get confused and frustrated. And confused and frustrated clients don’t stay clients for very long. 

The perfect onboarding process can differ depending on your business – or even the client – but the essence is the same: Understand your client’s needs. 

When a new client signs up, it’s not enough to leave them alone to jump into your service by themselves – you’ve got to have a clearly written process to make sure they know they’ve made the right choice.

So what is a client onboarding process? Essentially, it’s settling a new client into your business and establishing a good relationship with them.

The process of perfect onboarding differs depending on your business, but the essence is the same. 

Of course, you’re updating your CRM and complying with legal regulations, but that’s not going to make the customer think you’re the best choice and quell the buyer’s remorse

You’ve also got to build a relationship, get to know the customer’s individual needs (once they’ve signed up, they’re not just a vague profile or target audience), then integrate them into your existing business process.

Client onboarding process stages

Below is a list of client onboarding process stages that each customer should be taken through. 

These steps will help you kick off the relationship with your client on the right foot while gaining all the information you need.

Offer a personalized new client experience off-the-bat

Regardless of the size of your company, you want to give your client a personalized experience. 

You can accomplish this in a few ways:

  • Send a welcome email and/or welcome kit
  • Schedule introductory calls with the client
  • Assign an account manager to answer any questions
  • Maintain regular communication with check-in calls and follow-up emails

If your company has the capacity, clients always appreciate a bespoke onboarding process. If you don’t, automation is a great tool to give your client the impression of a bespoke experience even when it’s not.

Provide stellar customer success & customer service 

Client satisfaction should always be top of mind, so providing a customer service representative is an ideal way of ensuring success. 

Additionally, a responsive customer service team will always be on hand to fix problems. 

This can be in the form of email, online chat, or chatbox.

A great app to help you manage help tickets from sales, marketing, and support teams is Intercom. It allows you to communicate with clients personally without having to rely on a constant back-and-forth via email.

Another fantastic option is Hiver. Hiver is a Gmail-based helpdesk containing collaboration features, advanced analytics, and automations. It’s very easy to use and works on top of Gmail to handle email and chat support.

Educate new clients about the value you bring to their business

Provide a wealth of resources for your new client. This can be in the form of videos, audio, podcasts, guides, etc. 

For example, during the pre-sign-up phase, you could walk the potential client through the product via a demo. Make it more enticing by personalizing the demo to the client and their needs. 

This can be achieved by a simple questionnaire sent out before the call.

During the onboarding stage, be deliberate in recommending things that will lead the client to more independence. 

Access to tutorials, knowledge bases, or help centers will allow the client to access documents and videos as and when they need them.

You don’t want to overwhelm your new client, but at the same time, you also want to train them on how to use the product.

Client onboarding process best practices

We’ve developed a list of client onboarding best practices to guarantee smooth client onboarding.

Below you’ll find a client onboarding process example we like to use here at Process Street:

Streamline the initial set-up

You don’t want to ask too much too soon. Make it easy. Here’s an example of what Process Street signup looks like:

client onboarding process setting up

This is the first step in our signup process. 

By asking in-depth questions about your organization, we get to understand your specific requirements, which allows us to tailor our approach accordingly.

client onboarding process feedback

We want to know what compels our clients to join Process Street. We’re also interested in how our platform is used. 

So by asking these questions, we can gather data that will help us improve our services and offer the best experience to our users.

Send a welcome email

The next step of a successful client onboarding process is to send a welcome email.

The email should be concise and direct the client straight to your product. You can also link some user guides to help them get started.

client onboarding process new client education

If you look at the example of our welcome email, you can see we include a direct link to Process Street, a user guide, and our team support email address to start our clients off on the right foot.

And if you’re a little extra, as we are at Process Street, you can follow it up with a congratulatory email.

client onboarding process welcome email

Impress new clients

 To allow your customer to explore the product and start adding value right away, make sure to impress them. 

Even though they may have already watched video tutorials, the first time they log in will be crucial. So get them set up and using the product right away.

As an example, here’s a screenshot of the page our new clients see when they log in for the first time:

Here, they’ll be able to get to know the product by trying it out for themselves.

By clicking on “Start Here,” they’ll be presented with their very first workflow run and taken through a min-tutorial on how to create their own workflows.

client onboarding process process example

Show them around

All client onboarding processes should come with some kind of walkthrough.

By strategically setting them up, you’ll avoid confusion, answer common questions, and reassure your client that you’ll always have their back.

For example, the first thing we do when onboarding a new client is taking them on a virtual tour with one of our customer success managers. 

We make sure to find out the exact needs of the client beforehand so that we can create a bespoke demo that will resonate with the client.

The demo is always highly personalized and built separately from scratch for each new client.

Follow up

You’ll want to follow up with your new client at the end of your client onboarding process.

You can do this via a call or email, but reiterate that there’s always help available if they need it.

To show your client you care, you may want to send short follow-up emails often, include useful tips, and ask if they’re doing okay.

Challenges of the client onboarding process

Many things can go wrong when onboarding clients. Luckily, with some strategic planning, they can all be prevented. Some of the most common are:

Abandoning new clients before the activation stage

Can be prevented by creating value right from the get-go.

Too many support requests 

Can be prevented by offering video guides and tutorials, faqs, and webinars.

Users not opening your emails 

Can be prevented by making them relevant to your client’s needs. To do this, understanding your client’s behavior is crucial

High churn rates

Can be prevented by creating a personalized and well-designed onboarding experience (as explained above).

Benefits of a good client onboarding process

Creating an amazing client onboarding process can be difficult, but it also makes your life much easier.

Here are some benefits of a client onboarding process:

Helps your business to grow

When your clients are happy, they will stay with you long-term. Plus, they may recommend your product and leave a fantastic review. It’s free word-of-mouth marketing!

Reduced customer queries

Providing an excellent onboarding experience should limit the number of questions your clients will have.

Cost reduction

High client retention means a reduction in acquisition costs. The churn rate will also decrease, and you’ll have to spend less to hit targets.

Client onboarding process software tools and vendors

Client onboarding process software doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, the more straightforward it is, the better.

You could, for example, take advantage of our 14-day free demo to test drive Process Street yourself (no credit card required).

You can access hundreds of our pre-made workflows, plus features such as: 

  • Approvals – streamline your hand-offs and authorizations
  • Conditional logic – use the same workflow for multiple scenarios
  • Integrations – use your favorite apps such as Google Drive, Salesforce, Slack, and more
  • Assignments – assign tasks to specific team members to keep your data secure and your collaborations easier

So if you’re curious how it all works, take a look at this getting started article.

Client onboarding process templates

At Process Street, we’ve put together 4 templates you can use to get new clients settled in with minimal hassle. 

The templates include sample documents, ready-to-send emails, and industry-specific advice for criminal lawyers, marketing agencies, and financial planners.

These are only examples pulled out of our library of hundreds of pre-made templates. So, if there’s none that relates to your industry, you’re sure to find one in our library!

Client onboarding Process for Marketing Agencies

Marketing agencies, while trying to strike a balance between art and science, already have their work cut out.

To scale and get your new clients set up properly, you’ll want to follow a concise and clear-cut process that covers all the bases. 

This checklist is a watertight guide to the process of introducing yourself to new clients, conducting meetings, and leaving the best possible impression.

Notable features:

  • Set up a Zapier integration to push the information gathered into your CRM database
  • “Welcome email” template example

Get your free client onboarding workflow here

Client onboarding Process for Financial Planners

A solid client onboarding process is always important, but for financial planners, it could mean the difference between a great working relationship and a compliance lawsuit. 

This checklist guides you through the process of collecting contracts, arranging meetings, deciding when to review your progress, and covering the legal side of what you do.

Notable features:

  • Use integrations to automatically feed uploaded files into other pipelines like Salesforce or Close.io
  • Set up SurveyMonkey integration to automatically send a new survey when a task is checked

Get your free client onboarding workflow here

Client Onboarding Process for Criminal Law Firms

The client onboarding process for lawyers contains vital steps to ensure you comply with the law when taking on a new case. 

While you might know a lot of the process already, human beings are prone to error, so following the steps outlined here is a solid way to minimize risk.

Notable features:

Get your free client onboarding workflow here

Client Onboarding Process for SaaS Companies

Alongside a full guide to customer success for SaaS companies, this checklist is a great resource for SaaS owners looking to set up a high-touch process and get their customers to fall in love with their product just as much as they should.

Use this process for new customers to get them up and running with your SaaS as fast as you can, making sure the process is suited to their individual high-touch needs.

Notable features:

  • Find out how to  automate your client onboarding workflow with Process Street
  • Checklist with what to include in your first client email

Get your free client onboarding workflow here

Client onboarding process stages automation

At Process Street, we love helping you and your company tighten up your workflow and get the best results possible.

Process Street helps with everything from employee onboarding to content marketing, sales process, customer success, and more.

With a solid process for onboarding your new clients, you’ll be able to automate and streamline the task of preparing new clients to work with you in full capacity.

Things like gathering client information, answering common questions, and ultimately keeping the momentum going from their initial decision to work with your real estate agency.

Check out this video to learn more about how you can onboard clients with Process Street:

Client onboarding process optimization

So to optimize your client onboarding, you should keep in mind a few points:

Get the right clients

Ensure that your clients know what you offer. You’ll only want to attract those that want your product. So make it clear what you can offer them and how you can make their lives easier.

Optimize communication

Make communication frequent, tailored, and strategic. You don’t want to send too many emails, but you’ll want to keep the conversation going.

Educate and upsell

Provide as much support to clients as possible, ideally through visual content such as videos. Make it clear where they can go for help, but try to beat them to it by giving them in-app training. 

And don’t shy away from upselling, though don’t overdo it. Make your clients aware of additional paid features, but don’t come across as forceful.

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