Optimising your onboarding process for client retention

“You’re going to be defined by your first 90 days. You’ve got to act.” – Jack Welch, former GE CEO

Signing new clients is essential for business growth, but retaining those customers is just as (if not more) important.

Did you know that your clients are three times more likely to leave within the first 90 days? So, first impressions are key.

Customer onboarding can be a complicated process – especially when it comes to high-touch sales. Simply getting a sale is the easy part, but ensuring you’re setting your new clients up for a successful and long-lasting relationship is more difficult than it may seem.

The best way to guarantee high client retention rates, is to optimise your onboarding process so that your clients are confident they made the right decision choosing your company.

Inevitably, a poorly executed onboarding process means you risk a dramatic drop in retention rates – and no one wants to see that.

How do you go about optimising your onboarding?

There are many steps you need to consider when building a high-quality onboarding process. Before you start, you should review your current process and retention rates. From there, you can determine which areas are in need of improvement.

  • Establish your goals early on: As you get ready to launch your client’s project, you both need to have the same understanding of the project’s goals. This includes being on the same page when it comes to timelines and deliverables. As well as this, both parties should be aware of what their responsibilities are to keep the project moving towards success.
  • Understand their short- and long-term visions: Having a broad understanding of your client and their long-term goals is key for a strong relationship. You want to continue to help them meet their company goals for longer than one project.

Ask your client where they want their business to be in 1 to 3 years’ time and what obstacles they think they’ll face along the way. You can then showcase how your services can help them overcome any hurdles, in order for them to achieve their next milestone.

  • Get moving quickly: Once you’ve established your client’s goals, you need to prove your value quickly. Don’t take your time when it comes to client requests. For example, if your client wants to see metrics, gather the data and present it at the next meeting.
  • Maintain strong lines of communication: Even if your clients aren’t providing you with updates, it’s important for your team to be proactive in communicating with them. Check in on how they’re doing, see if they’ve experienced any problems or whether they have any questions. To go the extra mile, set simple expectations with your client to ensure neither of you fall off each other’s radar.

Even when the 90-day period is up, this doesn’t mean you should take your foot of the gas. You should continue to:

  • Find ways to build trust with your clients
  • Notify the client when you reach a milestone
  • Ask for feedback so you can improve your services

If you haven’t invested much time into your onboarding process – you should. The more clients you welcome to your business, the easier the process will get.

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