So, you’ve just acquired a new client...that’s exciting news! Now is your opportunity to welcome them into your business and begin building a strong working relationship. Ultimately, you want them to feel like they made the right choice and that your firm will provide the added value they’re seeking.
Although you’re thrilled they chose your firm to work with, the client onboarding process can be tedious and time-consuming. A proposal must be sent, contracts signed, and payments requested. You’re also tasked with collecting the necessary client information and documentation along with launching their project, getting them set up in the systems you use, and starting the workflows. Certainly, these repetitive manual tasks eat up precious time that you could be spending nurturing this client relationship and growing your business.
My goal in this article is to help you understand the value that automation can bring to your firm, especially when it comes to your client onboarding process. The information in this article is a preview of one of my sessions at Scaling New Heights, 2021. I hope to see you there in my breakout sessions "Automate Your Client Onboarding" and "Introduction to Zapier”.
What does an automated client onboarding process look like?
A clunky onboarding process is a great recipe for client frustration and a bad first impression. With automation, integrating new clients into your firm’s processes and delivering an exceptional experience without excessive manual effort is achievable.
Imagine this: you send a new client a Google Form to gather their information. They complete and submit the form and the following tasks occur automatically:
- The client is added as a new client in Practice Ignition
- A new client channel is created in Slack
- A new customer is created in QuickBooks Online
- A new folder is created in Sharefile, Google Drive or DropBox
- A welcome email is sent to the client with the next steps and a Calendly link to schedule their kickoff meeting
- A notification is sent to someone in your organization to let them know that the client has completed the form and the tasks above have been completed
Do the math. How much time would automating these onboarding tasks save you? It’s incredible and completely possible. I know because I’ve done it in my own firm.
Automation should be methodical
When you see what automation can do for your firm, you’ll likely be eager to get started. However, there’s prep work that needs to be done first to ensure that all facets of your process are accounted for. This is important because without a clearly defined process, you will either blindly automate the wrong things, or you will inevitably get lost trying to reverse engineer your onboarding.
Assessing the systems and workflow used to carry out your client onboarding is crucial. You need to start with the end goal in mind: What will the automation accomplish? From there, you can begin mapping out your client onboarding process. What apps are involved? What steps need to occur? What order do they appear in the onboarding process? Who does the information need to reach?
As you map out this process, you’ll want to evaluate those steps that are manual (and are therefore costing you time and money). Can the process be streamlined to avoid this step altogether? Can these steps be automated? By hammering out these details beforehand, you can better ensure a smooth automation implementation.
Standardize your client onboarding process with automation
Automating your client onboarding not only creates a great first impression but improves overall efficiency and peace of mind within your own firm. By implementing automation, you are ensuring that the onboarding process is standardized and therefore consistent across the board. In addition, you’ll never have to worry if your new client received their welcome letter, or if they’ve been added to your systems. You won’t forget to reach out to schedule a kickoff meeting because the automation will have done it for you.
Automation, when executed thoughtfully and correctly, is super powerful and advantageous, especially for busy accounting professionals. You can learn more about automating your client onboarding during my session at Scaling New Heights. We’ll cover specific workflows and different tech stacks that can automate your client engagements from the initial lead all the way to your first deliverable. We’ll also touch on how Zapier and other no-code platforms can help you fill in the gaps to supercharge your automations. I hope to see you there!