I am ALWAYS ASKED what are my best onboarding practices and strategies for organizations since this is basically what my software and business are all about. I have to understand of course, what works best and what features in a software are most effective so that Regpack can help any organization onboard as many clients as possible as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Obviously a great software however is only a part of effective onboarding strategies, so in this post I want to share other tips and tricks I have to make your overall onboarding practices effective for your goals and your specific organization.
1. The number one best advice I have for effective onboarding is: MAKE IT EASY FOR YOUR CUSTOMER TO BECOME A CUSTOMER! If your onboarding process is a confusing, complicated time suck – you will lose way more clients than you gain!
2. Have a great ‘tagline’ or make it obvious what makes your organization unique or different from the competition. Use this phrase or wording in your marketing material, on your Facebook page, your website, your application, etc. Remind the prospective client WHY they should invest the time to work with you.
3. Make a new client feel welcome. Just because you ‘made the sale’ doesn’t mean that onboarding stops there. Make your new clients feel like they are special, that you appreciate them and keep them informed. Effective email communication is helpful and professional, a professional and easy to navigate account page they can access and be updated on their status quickly is key. Sending them an email once they sign up just to say HI! and welcome! without a specific call to action is always great. Make sure it’s addressed to them too which is easy to do with the right email communication system.
4. Keep the long game in mind. Once you’ve onboarded a client, already begin working with them to retain them as a client. Consider offering a reward or discount for signing up, or have a preset date after x amount of days, months, etc that this person has been a client, becomes eligible for a reward or incentive. You can do something on their birthday, on the anniversary of them becoming a client, the anniversary of a program they first attended, etc. Anything to make them feel special and give them an incentive to come back for more.
5. Include social media connections and referrals in your onboarding process. If you’re small enough and it’s appropriate for your organization, find them on Facebook and ‘friend’ them or invite them directly to like your company page. Consider offering a reward for sharing your page, inviting friends or just tag them in a post when relevant. I wrote more about that here but it’s worth mentioning here to keep social media and connecting with clients in mind when you think of your overall onboarding process. Which leads me to my next point…
Create an onboarding process, strategy or goal list for your organization.
First you need to start with the BASIC information you need to get from clients from a business perspective. The application (and avoiding mistakes when creating it). Then move on: find the right system that is seamlessly and easy to use, a great and easy to use automated communication system and follow up (rewards, discount, rewards program, etc). Include in your goal list your target goals as well: how much money do you want your profit to increase by, how many new clients do you want to add by 1 month, 2 months, end of year, etc. Depending on your goals will vary which methods you might invest in. If you think social media is the right avenue to focus on, hiring someone with these skills might behoove you vs. an upgrade to your current online registration software taking a priority.
Keep in mind that your strategy might (and probably will!) need tweaking. Come up with tactics that make sense NOW and then implement them. When you see something not working, change it! All aspects of your business are constantly evolving, so find what works for you and what might be driving people away. Take a look at your competition as well and see what they are doing. Trial and error is the name of the game! Also consider asking friends, family and those not related to your business to go through your onboarding process to look for flaws, what might not be clear or what is too time consuming. This will help give you some outside perspective before launching your process to your clients.
Conclusion: Your Online Registration Software and the Effectiveness of Your Onboarding Process
The software or registration system you use directly impacts your effective onboarding process as a whole. A user friendly, intuitive, intelligent process that is streamlined and void of all the junk many softwares include is your best bet. People HATE filling out forms, so you need a system that will make this as painless as possible. I won’t bore you with all the details of a system you should look for that meets this criteria since I’ve said it all before.
Keep in mind though, between your application and website, these are the FIRST things a potential client is going to ‘see’ about your organization. Your word choice, how good it looks, how easy to sign up, navigate, etc will all inform the opinion of the potential client and whether they choose to continue with you so make sure you make a good choice!