Creating the best Customer Onboarding Process

How do you learn?

One of the conversations I enjoy the most is one I regularly have with freelancers about learning and mastery. The core of my question always comes down to this: “How do you learn best?”

More often than not, the answer I get—and this may be because of the circles I run in – is that people like to learn by trying. What I mean by that is that most people prefer not to sit in a class or read a manual, but instead prefer to hack away and navigate their own path towards mastery.

For many of the contexts that we find ourselves in, this approach can work.

But this is a horrible approach for some things, right?

Sometimes trial and error sucks

Let's imagine we were talking about service pricing. Imagine you were trying to set your initial price for a new service in the market. Or that you were trying to raise your rates.

Is this something you want to do via trial and error?

The answer depends less on you and more on your customers (and their needs). If customers need what you're selling so bad that they don't care how bad you are at selling it (or pricing it), they'll keep coming back. And you'll have a lot of attempts to get things right.

But if you face stiff competition and you are slowly learning by your own iterations, there's a chance that a mistake will mean a prospect simply goes to your competitor and you won't ever see them again.

We all want to accelerate our learning

There are a lot of ways we can accelerate our learning – learning to work smarter, not harder.

The one I caution against the most is copying others.

But that doesn't mean we shouldn't look at what others are doing. It's a fast way to get a handle on things without creating everything from scratch. My caution, as you can imagine, is that you should observe and leverage the underlying motivations more than the resultant actions – because context matters.

Imagine you were kicking off a new blog for your digital agency, you'd be smart to see how other people think about content creation and editorial calendars without copying their exact articles (or even subject matter focus).

Going behind the scenes makes sense, so that you can understand what motivates the work that's being produced. That way you can know what to tweak, or adjust, so that it makes sense for you.

The hardest part of client work

If you've been working on your customer onboarding process already, you likely know how important it is. But you also likely know the toughest part of getting it right.

In order to do it right, to develop systems, you need a lot of customers. The more customers you have, the better you can find the patterns and better define the process that's right for you.

But a lot of customers means a lot of selling. And a lot of selling means less time doing the actual project work. But you won't get a lot of customers if you don't do the best work you can.

As you can imagine, this creates the hardest part of dealing with clients—splitting your time between the project work and business work you do for them.

Here's the reality of the situation:

  • Defining your own customer onboarding process—Hard
  • Getting the right customer onboarding process for you—Harder
  • Getting the time to follow your own onboarding process—Hardest

A Sample Onboarding Checklist

Let's imagine, for just a second, that you had just created your own onboarding checklist for new clients of your digital agency. What might it have on it? Let's just look at the stuff that happens before your very first call…

Collect key client info

  • Their point of contact's name and number
  • Their address
  • Their company size & industry
  • Their website URL
  • Software they use for marketing automation
  • Partners they already use for SEO
  • List of key competitors

Before the first meeting

  • Send welcome letter
  • Send client questionnaire
  • Send brochure of your services
  • Send meeting agenda
  • If it's in person, send them directions

Now, honestly, do we do this every time? We should, right? We know we should. And it's right for us. But what happens? We get busy!

So the problem isn't just getting it right. It's not just defining it. It's also about execution.

Execution is everything!

What if you could get the best customer onboarding process ever?

I'm not talking about a course. I'm not talking about learning the right way to define your own onboarding process. I'm not even talking about getting a great checklist.

I'm talking about getting every checklist, every script, every email, and every deliverable. And all of it being something you can tweak for yourself. Plus coaching?

I bet you're thinking I'm about to sell you something. I'm not.

But I should. Because it's totally worth it. And you should totally buy it. But it's not mine. So I can't sell it.

The truth is, my friend Jen is selling it. It's available now and people are already buying it

For good reason. It's incredible and awesome.

  • She has had all the clients.
  • She has done all the work.
  • And now she's making it available to you.

I could spend more time trying to pitch you on it, but again, I'm not selling it. Instead, I'm getting ready to give two copies away!

The rules are simple (as always):

  1. Tweet about this giveaway (see the click to tweet above this)
  2. In the comments below, tell me about your business and why you should win this.

That's it. Super easy. And I'll pick two winners in a couple days. So don't mess around.


The two winners are:

  • Sara Dunn
  • Leanne

I'll notify the winners and Jennifer Bourn.