The Secret to Successful Onboarding
Getting someone to sign on the dotted line used to be the finish line. With one part of the process complete, the next steps are crucial in making a lasting impression on the client. The process of onboarding welcomes the client to the company, and it is this first experience that sets the tone for the new partnership.
Additionally, a signature on the dotted line means nothing if you can’t follow up with the promises made during the sales process.
“We put the client’s needs in mind before the contract even starts,” Colin Wetlaufer, President of CITY said. “When we do the right thing, clients are confident in our service and a real relationship is built.”
The Secrets Behind a Successful Onboarding Process
1) Understand the Client’s Existing Needs
One of the most important parts of the onboarding process is to understand the client and their business. This includes understanding what they do. Every client is different. The following questions need to be answered:
What services do they receive? Who is currently servicing them? How often? Are they happy with those services? Why or why not?
“We want to look at everything to make sure we can service the client in the best way possible from day one,” Chriss Carsello, Sales Manager at CITY said.
A sales representative will discover if CITY would be a better fit for the client’s needs. If so, the sales representative explains what makes CITY different and how partnering with CITY will make the client’s job and life cleaner and simpler.
2) Make it Easy for the Client
Our garment optimization process allows us to provide a seamless conversion process. Before the contract begins, we explain exactly how the process is going to work for the client. CITY takes care of everything behind the scenes, from scheduling times to meet, fitting employees, ordering, and assigning uniforms to figuring out where the merchandise needs to go.
“We set expectations up front before we begin servicing them so they completely understand the process,” Wetlaufer said. “We want to put the client first. We own the process so they don’t have to do anything.”
During this step, CITY makes sure that all questions and issues are addressed prior to the contract start date.
3) Provide a Smooth Service Transition
The CITY sales representative and the client build a good relationship throughout the sales process. It is key to make a successful transition from sales to service.
“The client has created a relationship with the sales rep, but now the service department has to prove ourselves worthy in the client’s eye,” Service Manager Ken Schnor explained. “It is important for our district managers to be very involved during this stage to show the client how committed we are and show the client their value.”
“Once we have a service start date, I encourage our management to see the client once with the sales rep for an introductory meeting, once to do a walk through of their facility to see exactly what products and services they need, and then to be present for not only the first delivery day but the second delivery day too,” Schnor added.
These actions are a representation of the responsive service CITY clients can expect to see each and every week beyond the onboarding process.
4) Confirm Expectations Were Met
The next step is to make sure the client’s expectations were met, and the CITY service described by the sales representative was accurate. Carsello explained that the sales department completes an in-person follow-up with the client within the first quarter to ensure the new program is running smoothly.
“I have built solid relationships with our clients, and I want to continue to build those relationships even after the sale,” Carsello said. “Following up is one way to see how their service is going. I want to continue building our brand into the next 112 years.”
5) Maintain Communication
The most important aspect of being able to follow through with expectations is maintaining communication between sales and service as well.
“We work together to keep everyone on the same page,” Schnor said. “From sales to service, we all manage the account professionally with the client’s unique needs in mind.”
Once the client’s contract start date begins, and they have started receiving their regular service, the sales department checks in periodically with the service department. This check-in is to ensure everything is still going smoothly and helps to further refine the process.
“Without service, the sales team does not exist,” Carsello added. “Every single part of this company is a true team atmosphere.”
6) Identify Additional Opportunities
Continuously collecting data on the client and discovering more about them will further improve the relationship. “Leaving no stone unturned early on will ensure the relationship will last.”
After servicing the client for a few weeks, CITY takes notice of additional areas in which we could help, such as restroom supplies, facility services, or air care.
“By offering a variety of products, we have created another ease for our clients,” Schnor said. “We want to be their one-stop shop, and we want to help them succeed overall as a business.”
7) Value the Process
One of the main benefits of having an exceptional onboarding process is client retention. When clients receive fantastic service from the very beginning, that first impression will “pave the way for long-term business relationships.”
A further benefit from the client onboarding process is receiving referrals from loyal clients. Word-of-mouth referral “is the primary factor behind 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.” Consumers often prefer going with services that have been used by a friend or colleague. A trusted source influences their decision more often than not.
Lastly, feedback gained from the client’s personal experience is a valuable tool for enhancing and improving the client onboarding process altogether. Moreover, seeking a client’s testimonial will provide additional resources for the sales team to convert prospects to new clients.
CITY strives to meet or exceed all client expectations with professional account management. Our company culture is all about creating peace-of-mind for our clients. Thoughtfully onboarding clients is an essential part of that relationship.
“We manage it (the service) for them so that is one less thing on their mind,” Wetlaufer said. “Do the right thing. Own the entire process.”