Create a step by step client process to be ready when you're expanding your team
As solo entrepreneurs, we have to wear so many hats that I sometimes wonder, how we can keep afloat. Add some domestic chores, children, and cooking on top of that, I think you get the picture. To make your life a little bit less chaotic and your business more consistent, I suggest you set up a client on-boarding process. Yes, it will take some of your precious time, but will keep you from running like a headless chicken when you can’t remember what your client said last and can’t find your notes.
Imagine the step by step process a client has to go through when they get in touch with you. Even if the deal doesn’t work out, you will want to keep their contact details for the future as you never know.
Step one - Set the scene
What do I mean? Make it easy to contact you, add a phone number on your website. I recommend using a specific number, not your personal one. A phone number is easy to reach. The downside is the number of spam calls you might receive and I am talking from experience, there.
Add a contact form for prospective clients to leave you a message. Be sure to add a thank you message and give some details for how you will reply, etc.
Use an online appointment system to invite a prospective client to book a phone call or consultation with you. If the service you offer is above a certain price point; it makes sense to provide a complementary consultation. Asking someone to book a consultation with you, also adds some motivation to the mix. If they really want to work with you they will make an effort to book. There are some great online appointment scheduling tools that I will provide in the resources list at the end of this post.
Ask them to complete a questionnaire, as it will help streamline your first conversation. Don’t make it too long; use questions that will give you a good insight if they are the right fit to be your client or not.
Have all this information fed into a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). I use one called Dubsado. There are some other systems out-there as well. CRMs give you some form of automation for your systems. When someone fills out a questionnaire they will appear as a lead in your system, you can then add notes or even log emails when you start having a conversation with them.
Step Two - Create a workflow
Now that your client is on board, you want to create a workflow of tasks that will be automatic. For example, once the client has agreed on the price, the system will send them the contract, and the invoice. It will then start listing the tasks that you will need to complete the project. This is great for don’t forget tasks like customer satisfaction questionnaires, sharing on social media, get a testimonial, inviting for referral, gifts etc. They can even be tasks to complete after your project is completed. Be as detailed as possible. Once you have created your workflow, you can apply it to every new client. The advantage of having a CRM is that you will be able to log every conversation and email as well as send automatic payment reminders.
If a contract and questionnaire vary according to the type of client, create different templates for each and you can use them accordingly. You want to spend a good amount of time on your on boarding workflow, but it will save you time later.
Step Three - Client experience
Now that you have outlined what I would call the basic steps to on boarding a client, you want to add your special touch to the mix. You can do this by sending flowers, a welcome pack, or thank you notes. Think about how you can make your clients feel special and add these specific details to your workflow.
Step Four - Revise your process every six months
Nothing is worse than getting stuck in a routine, revise your workflow from time to time. Think about what could be improved in your process and if you can streamline or automate more? Review this every six months. Also, try to get as much feedback from your clients as you can. This will give you precious information about how to improve your client experience.
Your resources list
Acuity Scheduling Online Appointment system
Dubsado Business Management Software
Trello Keep track of your work in one place
Asana a work management platform
(Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost for you, I will earn a commission, if you click through and make a purchase.)
Are struggling to put a client onboarding workflow in place? If so, what is holding you back? Share in the comments.