Landing a fresh client gets everyone excited. But once the excitement dies down, there are questions you need answers to.
How easily will the project pan out? Will the client understand your project planning process? How can your web design company’s goals align with what your client is demanding?
This is where client onboarding comes in. It is a process of welcoming new clients onto a prospective partnership. It helps you to warm the client onto your business processes.
With hundreds of projects successfully completed, we at Kodework have learned a thing or two about effective onboarding. These are our secrets that can hold you in good stead if you operate in the web design industry.
A fruitful beginning
Mike Monteiro, the co-founder of Mule Design, and author of You’re My Favorite Client, says,
“The way clients behave at the beginning of the project is the best they will ever behave. So, if you’re getting red flags before you sign on, trust your gut and get the hell out. It will not get better”.
We totally agree with that. That’s why try getting the clients to think at the same wavelength as you do. Fixing issues along the way is time-consuming and requires added effort.
Agree on a plan and execute as per the set expectations. Don’t try to over-impress the client. Try to ask critical questions along the way. The fear of looking unskilled can lead to knowledge gaps in the execution process.
“Ask, listen, and demonstrate.” – Team Kodework
Try understanding their methodology much before they become your clients. The more experience you gather identifying red flags, the better it is to document this process for posterity.
Go over the contract well. Make sure the partnership works for both you, and the client. Payment, feedback process, and timelines need confirmation before the actual work begins.
The following four secrets need special attention when your new client gets started on the right foot.
Client Onboarding Tips #1 – Process education
Educating clients on your processes is key to establishing a smoother provider-client journey.
These may seem like vague concepts for somebody who just wants a good website built, but linking your process to their success builds trust.
Not being able to educate your clients without a clear process or scope can garner suboptimal results or a poorly executed project.
Client Onboarding Tips #2 – Showcasing your UX designs
Convincing the client for a particular design template is a good idea. The intention is to make sure the client accepts the design templates as the best option to go with.
That is why book a session with the client to educate them on areas of user experience, website requirements asked for, and information architecture.
It could be that your client is already a veteran in design expertise, but chances are that the majority of others aren’t.
Demonstrating your adaptability in deliverables and processes to your client’s needs builds trust.
Some clients would prefer seeing wireframe documents and a detailed sitemap, while some would be happy with a basic outline on Google Doc.
In whatever means possible, walk your clients through what you plan to produce, each piece of the process, and the steps needed to produce deliverables.
Take them through examples of your work, giving them windows to ask questions, and define the set milestones to scale together.
Client Onboarding Tips #3 – Constructive feedback
An overlooked area within client onboarding is the lack of constructive discussions or feedback. It’s easy for clients to propose solutions to their own primary problems.
Instead, guide them through the problems themselves and try to solve it better. Identify the true challenge and figure out the best solution.
It is vital to educate clients on the value – of not knowing the correct solution right away. When feedback is asked, clients can sometimes interpret this gesture to make top-down decisions (in the case of a large enterprise client) quickly.
Client Onboarding Tips #4 – Time frame, strategy, and cost
It’s important to set a clear time frame for the project. Rushing things too much can result in long-term losses.
Clients want things done quickly, so setting a time frame that is unrealistic is bad for business. Instead, during the onboarding process, explain the workload and the essential processes that consume time.
With costing, convince clients of the value they get over the cost. This is a slippery step and can be overcome by showing them examples of how similar clients have scaled and achieved X% of growth.
Lastly, strive to become a strategic partner and not simply a one-website project builder. Shape the onboarding engagement into what you think is the most strategically sound solution.
So, educate clients effectively so that they are strategically aligned to your business objectives as well. Remember, clients, are always grateful and go the extra mile if they know you will accompany them.
If you are looking to get a wonderful website design done, then we can help you get that built.
Also, if you are a Business looking to partner, a freelancer looking to work with us, or just interested in knowing more about what cool things we do, go to kodework.com