Definition – What is Client Onboarding?

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Client onboarding is the process of welcoming new clients into your business, addressing their questions and concerns, and ensuring they understand the services available to them. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your current customer service structure will taking care of the client onboarding process as this can lead to clients that become frustrated and cancel their account. Client onboarding is one of the most important functions for any business because it directly affects the client’s experience with your company, which will affect profits.

As we pointed out in this article, it’s important not to drop the ball immediately after signing up a new client. Assuming your clients can figure things out on their own can damage your relationship with your client and lead to lost business. It is necessary to streamline your client onboarding process so that they have everything they need and you aren’t losing business.

The Client Onboarding Process

Different people will have different ideas about how to successfully onboard new clients. But in general, a successful client onboarding process can be summed up by two questions:

  • Have you successfully introduced your new client to your business and addressed all their questions and concerns early on?
  • Have you gathered information on your client so you have insight into what products and services would benefit them?

To summarize, a successful onboarding process will meet both the needs of your clients and your business needs. To do this you must have a full understanding of your business’s needs and goals. How much data collection does your business require? If the client onboarding process fails to meet the needs of your business then it is ultimately useless. A good client onboarding process should not only retain your client but encourage them to continue to buy new products and services.

Benefits of Client Onboarding

One of the most obvious benefits of a successful client onboarding process is continued service from your client. When you lose a client it means that all the time spent on marketing, developing the relationship, drafting proposals, and investing your time to meet with them has all gone to waste.

According to the Gartner Group, 80 percent of a company’s future revenue will come from 20 percent of its current customers. But many businesses allocate few marketing resources toward retaining their current customers. There is an incredible opportunity for future revenue with repeat clients so it is in your best interest to keep your current clients happy.

Another benefit to retaining your current clients is the opportunity for referrals. When your clients are happy with the service you provide them they are more likely to refer you to others. According to this article, about 20-50 percent of all purchases came based off of recommendations made by other people. Word-of-mouth marketing can work to your business’s benefit or detriment. If you do an exceptional job of onboarding your new clients you will set yourself up for positive word-of-mouth marketing.

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The 5 Steps for a Successful Client Onboarding Process

It takes a lot of time, money, and energy to bring on new clients so it doesn’t make much sense to lose them the minute they finally sign up. This is why it is so important to have an effective onboarding process in place. With a proper plan and direction in place, you can ensure that both the needs of your client and your business needs are being met.

Here are 5 steps you can use for onboarding new clients:

  1. Assess your client’s current needs

One of the most important parts of the onboarding process is learning about your client’s needs. Every client is different and will have different resources to work with. When you understand their strengths and weaknesses you will be able to develop a plan for how to work with them.

Make a list of your client’s current assets as well as any areas that need improvement. When you review this with your client use it as an opportunity to position yourself as an expert.

  1. Outline the client’s desired outcomes and goals

All successful marketing campaigns have a goal in mind. You should already have an idea of what your client is hoping to accomplish, you have a clear understanding of what you are working with, and now it is time to develop a goal and a plan to move forward.

You need to take your assessment and turn it into measurable goals that your team can act on. The more clearly you articulate your goals to your client and your team, the easier it will be for everyone will stay on track. Be sure that you don’t promise anything you can’t deliver on and make sure everyone is involved in the goal-setting process.

  1. Be sure your team is briefed on your client

Before your team becomes involved with the client you need to make sure they have a clear understanding of your client, their industry, and the work involved. Assign your team any necessary reading materials, be sure they have access to the assessment and contract, and provide any notes available on your client. Once your team knows your client’s desired outcomes and objectives they will be better prepared for the client kickoff call.

  1. Have a kickoff call

It is important to have a great kickoff call so everyone is on the same page and has all the information they need. Your client needs to have a good impression of your entire team, not just you. Be sure your team demonstrates that they fully understand the scope of the work and have everything they need to move forward. Give your client time to articulate their objectives and expectations.

  1. Check-in after 30 days

This is an opportunity for you to gain feedback from your client, get a sense of how the process is going so far, and address any concerns they may have. Use this check-in call as an opportunity to build on your relationship with your client and let them know you value their business. Have a list of questions prepared and summarize all the work that has been done in the past 30 days. When the call is over your client should feel confident that they made the right choice by doing business with your company.


Ultimately, the customer onboarding process can take some trial and error to perfect and few businesses get it exactly the right the first time around. Continue to develop your client onboarding process and figure out what works and doesn’t work. Stay positive and keeping trying different things until you find what works for your business. Make sure you are constantly improving this process for your customers and keeping the needs of your clients first.

A big part of developing a successful customer onboarding process is having an effective workflow to create each of the steps listed above. This is where Tallyfy can help.  Tallyfy allows you to build workflows that are designed to accommodate every step of the client onboarding process. You can customize workflow based on customer feedback and use metrics to track and improve any weak spots. If you want to learn more about how our software has helped other business optimize their workflow needs, visit our customer stories page.

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