Written by Hazel Raoult, PRmention
You’ve secured a new PR client – now what?
The client onboarding process is often an afterthought, which is unfortunate considering it sets the stage for a positive, fruitful and profitable relationship with a new client. Studies show that around 86% of customers state that they are likely to stay loyal to the brand if they are satisfied with the client onboarding process.
At the beginning of a new retainer or project relationship, both you and your client are excited, motivated and ready to embark on this new experience together. Your client will look forward to gathering as much information as possible from you, while actively seeking support, and you are primed to address agency policies, set expectations and generate positive goodwill among all parties involved.
A defined client onboarding process can make the difference between smooth sailing and choppy seas, so review this guide to ensure yours is top notch. After all, as Jack Welch once said, “You are going to be defined by the first 90 days. You’ve got to act.”
3 Steps to an Effective Client Onboarding Process
Many PR agencies create a client onboarding toolkit that guides new clients through the process, with checklists and SOPs. You may also want to consider a client welcome gift as well as making any agency marketing changes, like adding the client logo to your website as part of this process.
Then, consider how you want to officially begin the client contract.
1. Have a Well-Planned Kickoff Meeting
One of the milestones in the client onboarding process is often a kick-off meeting between the client and the agency team. This meeting should review important details related to the contract, timeline and approval processes while also digging into a bit of creative ideation around short and long-term opportunities. Even the most experienced and professional agencies prepare extensively for kickoff meetings in order ensure an effective use of time that also sets the stage for a positive relationship.
2. Create an enjoyable onboarding experience
Start by considering both foundational needs like collecting client assets as well as strategic ones – like confirming goals and targets. How can you best guide your client through these necessary steps while automating the bulk of say, data and asset collection, so that you reduce administrative, manual effort?
As your client moves from prospect to client it’s important to ensure that the quality of experience doesn’t diminish. This means clear communication, a branded, enjoyable user experience and plenty of high-touch access should any confusion arise.
For example, SAP – Enable Now offers a detailed digital adoption platform that guides its customers with the features and related processes. Many SAP-Enable Now competitors also offer modules for other companies to do this easily.
3. Set up a Follow-up Schedule
While there is a time of focused onboarding activity, it’s important to continue to nurture the relationship with regular check-ins and prompt requests on anything additional as needed.
Additionally, firms should revisit their onboarding process annually to ensure that current processes, software and structures are still ideal for current business operations.
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.