7 client onboarding best practices you should implement today

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Photo by Rock Staar on Unsplash

For most businesses, the urge for profit making often makes them put the cart before the horse. Meaning they’re in a haste to get the client’s billing information that they forget the process of client onboarding. Which of course often lead to dissatisfaction and churn.

Study shows that clients are three times more likely to churn within the first 90 days of subscribing to a product, service, or business, meaning that you can lose the client you worked so hard to get within three months if you onboard them wrongly. That also means you will lose the time, money, and energy you invested in acquiring the client. Of course, you don't want this. So, please pay close attention to what we will share with you in this article, as it can solve most of your client retention problems.

What is client onboarding?

Client onboarding is what follows immediately after client acquisition. It is the second step in the client acquisition process, where you help new clients to understand and properly integrate into your business ecosystem. Client onboarding aims to seamlessly transition the new, naïve client into an engaged, satisfied customer. But besides that, client onboarding helps you acquaint yourself with your clients and vice-versa.

Onboarding helps to orientate your new client(s) on the modus operandi and working of your business or teach them how to properly use your systems, solutions, tools, services, and products to meet their need. It involves establishing clear communication channels, setting expectations, and providing a positive experience for the client from the start of your business journey. 

Importance of client onboarding in customer retention

Client onboarding plays a vital role in customer retention. By efficiently onboarding clients, you can establish strong relationships, increase their satisfaction, and foster long-term loyalty, boosting business growth, enhancing productivity, and saving valuable time and resources. 

According to a study, 63% of customers subscribe to a product because of the quality of the onboarding process. Thus, quality user onboarding is a key deciding factor for new customers to subscribe (and stay subscribed) to a product or a service. A good onboarding experience helps users decide whether they should or want to continue doing business with you as paying customers. Thus, properly designing and implementing your onboarding process saves time and resources, helps customer retention, and reduces customer churn. This reiterates the importance of client onboarding in customer retention.

Note: Onboarding applies to staff management, too, whereby you orient the new staff on how your business works, what to do, and how to do it efficiently.

Top 6 benefits of effective client onboarding

Onboarding has numerous benefits to the business and the client, which I can't cover all in one article. But I've done my best to provide you with some of the best, especially those that bring sustainable results to your business.

1. Reduced client churn

Fifty-two percent of clients are likely to churn in the first 90 days. Building long-term relationships through client onboarding and providing your clients with immense value early on in their journey can help them stick to your business much longer.

One way to do this is to use client onboarding tools and software to quickly understand your clients' immediate and biggest pain points and kick-start your onboarding by fixing those first. This will make your client relax and consider subscribing to you or your service or product long-term, thus reducing churn.

2. Improve efficiency

Onboarding helps you understand your client's unique and hidden needs early on. With this information, you can fine-tune your solution to meet special and specific needs, thus increasing the efficiency of your service or product.

3. Reduce scope creep

Scope creep is the situation whereby a project exceeds its scope. You can deal with this problem head-on during client onboarding. During client onboarding, you and your client know the limits and expectations of the project early on and where adjustments would be made in the future. This helps you reduce misunderstandings, wastages, frustrations, and churn. In turn, you and your clients will be happy in the future. One way to do this is to have a client onboarding checklist which I discuss later in this article.

4. Get more clients through referral

Showing your customers that you care and understand them opens the door to more referrals and stronger relationships. Customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher customer retention rate. So, besides having more customers through referrals, you also benefit from having more loyal customers and increasing profit margins.

5. Increases sales and profit from upsells

With happy customers from quality client onboarding, you can upsell your customers on your other products, services, or affiliate offers. Thus, building long-term relationships through client onboarding can immensely improve your business income.

6. Enhance productivity

By following best practices for client onboarding, you can optimize your client onboarding process and ensure that your clients get a consistent professional experience. Streamlining your client onboarding workflow allows you to focus on delivering high-quality work and cultivating strong client relationships, ultimately boosting productivity.

Recommendation: An efficient onboarding process allows you to reduce client churn and scope creep, thus increasing efficiency, profits, and clients. However, doing these can take up much of your time, energy, and other resources. Workee can help you automate and have an effective client onboarding process by helping you efficiently manage repetitive things like client bookings, payments, meetings, etc., saving valuable time and resources. Learn more here.

Now, let's consider the best client onboarding strategies for small businesses and the best practices for success and growth.

Best practices for client onboarding

For your client onboarding to work, there are client onboarding best practices you must follow. Below are the most important ones: 

1. Create a client onboarding checklist

Develop a comprehensive checklist outlining all the necessary steps to be completed during the onboarding process. This will help you cover all essential onboarding process aspects and maintain consistency with your clients. 

Having a client onboarding checklist is one of the top client onboarding best practices for service providers. The service industry usually demands repetitive tasks. So, having a checklist can be a big time safer to avoid over-repetition of tasks, excessive stress, and boredom for you or your clients. 

One way to do this is by creating a client onboarding template and customizing it to your client's specific needs. Again, this will help you in measuring success in the client onboarding process. This client onboarding works for any service, including financial services, SaaS services, healthcare, education, and just anything.

2. Don't waste time showing your worth

Demonstrate your expertise and deliver tangible results early in the onboarding process. Focus on winning your client's trust by showcasing your unique value proposition (UVP) minutes into onboarding. By achieving this quicker, you gain credibility from your clients and build confidence in your deliverability.

3. Personalize the onboarding experience

Personalizing client experience is an effective onboarding strategy for reducing client churn. It's one of the top best practices for client onboarding that you shouldn't toy with. It entails tailoring your onboarding process to clients' unique needs, goals, and preferences. 

Personalizing the onboarding experience helps create a sense of trust in your clients and shows that you value them. Acknowledging and addressing individual client concerns and questions establishes trust and builds a solid foundation for the relationship. 

4. Organize your communication

Establish a communication schedule and set expectations regarding frequency and methods of communication. This ensures you and your client stay connected and engaged throughout onboarding. A way to achieve this is by streamlining your client onboarding workflow and strategically earmarking the communication flow, duration, timeline, etc. 

5. Set clear expectations

Setting clear expectations is one of the client onboarding best practices, especially for service providers or people in the service niche where reworking or frequent modifications are allowed or required. One way to reduce client churn with effective onboarding is communicating your work process, deliverables, timelines, and any other relevant details to your clients. 

This helps manage their expectations and ensures a smooth collaboration from the start. You can achieve this by creating a client onboarding template in which you check your success and failures in the client onboarding process again.

6. Leverage technology

You can automate and simplify your onboarding process using technology like client onboarding tools and software. Use analytics, integrate client data, and leverage the client's technologies to provide a seamless experience. 

Recommendation: Workee is a leading client and business management tool with numerous solutions that can help power your onboarding process seamlessly, thus saving you time and energy. 

With Workee, you can automate your client management and communication and get stuff done faster. It provides a hassle-free experience, allowing you to focus on delivering the service while it takes care of most of your onboarding tasks. Learn more here.

7. Gather feedback

Regularly exchange feedback with your clients to understand their needs and expectations. Actively seek their input and adjust as needed to ensure a balanced engagement. You can continuously improve your onboarding process and improve client satisfaction by incorporating feedback.

Workee can help you personalize your messages and provide a customized experience for each client. You can achieve this through emails or calls using the emailing calling tools inside Workee at no extra cost. 

How to improve client onboarding experience

Building long-term relationships through client onboarding should be the goal of your marketing and cline acquisition and retention process. However, you can do more. 

Below are a few tips you can implement to improve your client onboarding experience:

  1. Show, don't tell. That is, rather than tell how to do a thing, show (demonstrate) it for the clients.

  2. Consistently seek client feedback and use them to improve your product or service.

  3. Comprehensively understand your client's pain points and work towards helping them fix them.

  4. Show your clients that you truly care about their needs.

  5. If clients recommend a feature and you don't think it's necessary yet, respond politely and explain why the feature may not be available soon or ever.

Measure your success in client onboarding

Measuring success in client onboarding helps to gauge the effectiveness of your client onboarding process. You can achieve this by setting key performance indicators (KPIs). These include client satisfaction surveys, referrals, repeat business, and client retention rates. Monitoring these metrics allows you to identify areas for improvement and refine your onboarding strategy over time.

Client onboarding for financial services (Case study)

With streamlined client onboarding for financial services, you can effectively manage and serve your clients, saving time and resources and enhancing overall productivity.

Here are some useful tips and strategies that can help you to achieve this:

  1. Simplify the paperwork by leveraging digital document management tools to help smoothly and quickly complete the necessary forms, contracts, and agreements.

  2. Implement robust Know Your Customer (KYC) and due diligence processes to verify client identities, comply with financial regulations, and mitigate potential risks.

  3. Accelerate financial processes with automated account creation to help clients quickly access and utilize financial services without delays.


This article covered client onboarding strategies for small businesses, which big businesses can use. Specifically, efficient client onboarding is a critical component of freelancing success. Adopting best practices and leveraging Workee client onboarding tools and software can optimize your onboarding process, saving time, enhancing productivity, and building long-term relationships. Invest in client onboarding, and watch your business thrive as you deliver exceptional solutions and create a positive experience from day one.

Ihor, CEO at Workee

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