Your new customer onboarding process is perhaps the most critical processes that happens in your business. Perhaps you call them clients, instead of customers. Regardless, the workflow is the same!
This is the process by which a new customer moves from having purchased your product or service, to getting fully set up and launched into your deliverable process.
Why is it so critical that the onboarding of your newest customers goes smoothly? Well, it can be quite literally, make or break. If they get off to a rocky start, then they’re likely to look for their next reason to cancel service. However, if the process goes incredibly well, then the opposite will happen—and more.
They’ll tell everyone they know about how great it was to onboard with your service. They’ll be far more likely to stick with your business and drive a high customer lifetime value.
Best of all, you’ll be able to see how your business is bringing on new customers in a predictable, systematic manner.
In this Customer Onboarding Process Guide, you’ll find:
- Access to our new customer onboarding process template kit for ProcessKit
- The key steps in your new customer onboarding process
- The people who should run your new customer onboarding workflow (who you may or may not need to hire)
- How to custom tailor this process to fit the unique ways your business onboards new customers
- Next steps to implementing your customer onboarding process today
Let’s get to it!
Get the new customer onboarding template kit
Our new customer onboarding template kit for ProcessKit includes our step-by-step workflow, dynamic due date rule calculations, our pre-configured custom project type for onboarding new customers, and a set of custom fields to use when putting this process to use in ProcessKit.
Not a ProcessKit customer yet? No worries! You can start your free trial and put this process template kit to work right away.
Key steps in your customer onboarding process
Every business’s way of bringing new customers into the mix happens a little bit differently and may follow a different step-by-step process. That’s the point of this guide—to help you get your version of this process up and running.
That said, there are a few key stages that should be handled in one way or another. You’ll want to spend some time to analyze how each of these steps can be optimized to make for a great customer experience and an easy and smooth workflow for your team to follow every time.
First steps with a new customer
Your new customer just paid for your product or service. Or, perhaps they’ve just signed your contract or opened their free trial account. This is a critical moment in the new customer’s journey.
You need to make sure they see an immediate welcome confirmation of some sort. Of course, you’ll want to include a nice “Thank You” message, perhaps a fun welcome celebration gif or something :)
But most importantly, they need to know what to expect as their very next step. The worst thing you can do is leave a brand new customer wondering “what happens now?”. Don’t make them even ask. Just guide them straight away.
The first steps might include a new client intake form where you’ll gather key information that your team will need to get started on the engagement. As you learn more about all the bits and pieces you need to gather from customers, you should continuously update this intake form to ask for those all in one shot, at the beginning of the process.
Making progress with a new customer
As your customer onboarding sequence moves along, through the kickoff call(s), the initial setup and into the core service, it is important that you have a mechanism for managing progress.
There are two sides to this coin:
- Managing the customer’s understanding of how much progress has been made (and what’s next)
- Internal tracking of the progress on how this customer (and all the other current new customers) are onboarding.
Let’s take the first one first. Your customer should be receiving a progress update message from you a few times throughout their onboarding experience. This email message can simply include: What’s been done this past week, what’s coming up next week, and list any loose ends or blockers that are needed from the customer.
That might seem like overkill, but it’s not! Better to always avoid leaving your customer wondering “what’s happening?” than to send them one too many messages along the way.
Now the second piece: Tracking progress on your process internally. You’ll want to make sure not only that your team is following your standard procedure for onboarding new customers, but also that you have a way to track the progress across each individual new customer who is currently onboarding. Each one will be at a different staging in that process, so it is critical to have a birds-eye-view into this. ProcessKit was specifically designed to give you and your team that view by using your process to power those recurring projects.
Completing the new customer onboarding process
Once all of the initial setup of the new customer is complete, and you’ve gathered and implemented everything you need, it’s time to proceed with delivering your core service.
If that involves having your team work on a creative or technical deliverable for a client, then you’ll want to check out our guide for managing your client deliverable process.
The key here is to make sure that the new customer’s information, notes, and anything you’ve learned during onboarding gets seamless passed along to your team who will be taking over from here.
Who on your team should run the customer onboarding process?
This always depends on the stage and size of your company. In most situations, the people involved in this process include:
- The sales person who closed the new customer account
- An account manager who will be the primary point of contact for the new customer
- A creative/strategy team who will gather the assets and information they need in order to be able start their creative work.
- A technical team who will handle the technical set up tasks and ensure a smooth delivery.
When your company is still small, it’s quite common some team members to wear multiple hats here! But as you onboard more customers over time, it helps to put specialized roles in place and to hire specialists to fill those roles.
How to custom tailor how your company onboards new customers
Like we established at the start, your customer onboarding process may be quite different from the next company’s.
Here are a few questions you can think through to understand how to customize and optimize this process to fit your needs:
How much personalized interaction should our team have with new customers? If your business is more of a service, you’d probably opt for a more personalized approach, perhaps with the help of email templates and standard procedures. If your business is more like a product or software, then more of the process can be self-serve on the part of your customer.
Can any of the steps in your onboarding process be automated? Your client intake form is probably the most ripe for automation. This form can be handled via your ProcessKit account or any form tool (which can be connected up via Zapier).
How much time should pass between ‘customer signed up’ and ‘onboarding complete’? Most businesses run their onboarding process in a 2-4 week window. Yours might vary. You’ll also want to factor in how long each step in the process should take, and plan out task due dates accordingly (ProcessKit can automate these calculations).
Next steps to implement your new customer onboarding process
Now that we’ve guided you through what should go into your new customer onboarding process, it’s time to actually implement it and put it to use!
You can use our ready-made new customer onboarding process template kit for ProcessKit. It’s free with your ProcessKit account and includes all of the pieces you’ll need to get set up today, including:
- Our step-by-step process template (fully editable, ready to build on or use as-is)
- Dynamic date rules built into every step
- A custom project type to be used for onboarding new customers
- A set of custom fields to make your customer onboarding work even more tailored to how your business works.
Not a ProcessKit customer yet? Don’t worry, you can start your free trial and get your processes up and running today (starting with your new customer onboarding process!).