The onboarding process for a new client can set the tone for the entire working relationship. Starting off on the right foot is crucial in order to set realistic expectations, standards on how to communicate and to build goodwill. It’s smart to have a standard, replicable process that ensures new clients receive a high-touch, seamless transition from prospective client to on the roster. Here are three components of a successful client onboarding process
Start with an Internal Team Meeting
Before having the kick-off meeting with the client, schedule a meeting in-house with all team members that will be involved with the account. This is the time for your team to take a closer look at the background of the client. Discuss what needs to be accomplished. Brainstorm how you will approach the account, immediate priorities and effective tactics. From this meeting, your team should next develop an in-depth PR plan. This document outlines goals, strategies and timeline, and will be presented at the kickoff meeting.
Host a memorable kickoff meeting
A common first step for successfully onboarding a new client is to schedule and plan a kick-off meeting. You can develop a meeting agenda for all new clients that combines all your lessons learned into important talking points. This is the first opportunity for the client to see your work so you want to be able to impress them with your team’s preparation and presentation. During this meeting, it’s important to set clear expectations, goals and immediate next steps. Make sure to allow time to ensure that your team has everything they need to start pitching, including brand materials, photography and samples.
Set up a weekly call
No matter how clearly you lay out the timeline and discuss what can be expected out of the first few months of the relationship, clients are often nervous and full of questions. Knowing this, you can avoid multiple daily calls asking for any updates by proactively updating your client often in the early days. A weekly call is a good way to ensure they are hearing updates from you often (but not so often that the client communication keeps you from your work!). Explain that this weekly call is to inform them of any news from the previous week, as well as the plan for the upcoming week. As the relationship continues over time, trust will build, and it will become clear that you will provide them with any timely updates as they happen. Always assure your client that you will not leave them with the feeling they don’t know what’s going on with their account.
Your onboarding process should ensure all team members involved with a new account are on the same page, fully prepared for the kick-off meeting with the client, and ready to begin a weekly call. Creating a strong foundation from the start will guarantee that your team won’t need to go back and execute these steps later on, leading to successful PR campaigns from the start.