‘People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic’.
- Seth Godin
There has been a shift towards digital customer onboarding due to remote working. In this article, we will explore the concept of onboarding new clients and teams when working remotely, and how you can use a client portal as your client onboarding system.
What does customer onboarding mean and why is onboarding new clients so important?
'Onboarding' is a term created in the 1970s, widely known as ‘organizational socialisation’ relating to new employees. Onboarding also relates to clients and is key to customer success and retention.
From an internal team perspective, onboarding is the process of welcoming a new employee into the organization and integrating them into their team and job requirements. On the other hand, customer onboarding is familiarizing a new client about one’s product or service, for instance it often includes teaching the basics to a new client to set them up for success. Client onboarding can be seen as the process of bringing a new client to your business and is a great chance to engage with the client to understand their needs and use-case.
In both cases, it plays an essential role in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for people to become effective clients or employees who will stay with the company. The client onboarding process remains important across all client-facing industries - whether you work in wealth management, a marketing agency or software - ensuring a positive client onboarding foreshadows maintaining a strong client relationship.
Here are some statistics that highlight the importance of onboarding:
- - 69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they experienced great onboarding (source: O.C. Tanner)
- - 86% of people say they’d be more likely to stay loyal to a business that invests in onboarding content that welcomes and educates them after they’ve bought.
- - 74% of people have watched a video to understand how to use a new app or website better
- - 8 in 10 users say they’ve deleted an app because they didn’t know how to use it.
At Clinked, we focus on training the trainer in our optional customer onboarding sessions. Discover how to drive adoption of a new technology with your client base in our blog
How can a client portal can help with onboarding in a remote or hybrid environment?
The ‘new normal’ we face will have long-term implications for the relationships between employers and employees as well as clients. For young people joining a company in a junior role, remote working has made onboarding that much harder - they would benefit from physically being with the team to develop networks within the company and absorb valuable skills from being around senior people. However, many studies show that remote working is here to stay (most employees want to keep working remote at least 1 day a week). Here at Clinked our team voted for a hybrid approach of office and home- as such, organisational onboarding needs to adapt.
Likewise, to make up for a lack of face-to-face meetings, clients require more virtual communication to ensure a smooth client journey. A client portal provides that one-stop location for collaboration and communication as they begin and continue their journey with your business.
As clients and employees are working remotely from anywhere including across different countries, onboarding new clients with digital tools makes sense.
Where does a client portal step in?
Paperless customer onboarding is becoming popular - companies want to be seen as eco-friendly and also want to save time - one of the few resources money can't buy. Going digital is the best way to store and track key contracts and files associated with the onboarding process. A client portal can aid digital induction pack building, and provides a central place where the induction pack can be collaborated on between the new client and members of the organisation. Additional functions of Clinked such as tasks, group homepage, events and discussions can be used to create a user-friendly client experience when completing their onboarding.
Key features of a client portal (such as Clinked!) that will help with onboarding new clients:
- - The ability to store, approve or reject and sign files electronically
- - Audit Trail- for tracking when users have viewed/signed/downloaded a document
- - Task management- here you can set introductory tasks that a new client needs to complete
- - Customisable Group home page - a place to welcome new clients and provide key links and CTA’s to the most important and useful content
Here is a pictured example of how you could use Clinked’s task management feature when onboarding new clients or employees, by assigning tasks to complete the onboarding process.
‘70% of small businesses do not have a call-to-action on homepage’ (source: small business tools)
Having a call-to-action on a homepage enhances a digital client experience, and helps with onboarding new clients, whether this is an instruction of who to contact or link to a form to complete. At Clinked, we integrate with Jotform, this gets rid of the need for the hassle of asking clients to complete paper forms. Find out more about our Jotform integration
Let's go through it with a real life example. Above is a Clinked Group Homepage for Willowbend Investments, a client of Budex. Budex started using a Clinked portal to work better with their clients. Budex works with Willowbend on their investment portfolio and heavily relies on the use of google sheets and a good file management system for their clients documents. It’s helpful for their clients to have quick and easy access to content and information. They’ve highlighted key content that’s important for new clients to see and have made account communication a focus- by displaying their main point of contact as a note on the Group Home. The Group Home will complement the tasks, events and discussions that have been created in order to complete the onboarding process.
We hope that helps explain how a digital client experience could be built into customer onboarding processes when a new client comes onboard!
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