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Business Tips : Client Relations

Importance Of Client Onboarding & A Guide To Do It Right

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After a client books your service, what's next? Client onboarding, a term that may not be familiar to some wedding vendors, but for those who do, do you know its importance? Most vendors are likely to directly get down to formalities when a client decide to book your service, but there's more than just signing contracts and prepping for consultations. Fret not, we're about to share with you what client onboarding is all about right below!

What is client onboarding and why is it important?
Client onboarding, in simple term, is a process whereby you welcome your client into your business. In the business of making your clients' wedding dream come true, it's all about the experience and making it leave a lasting impression. It starts from the moment you meet a potential client for the first time, and it continues to giving a memorable experience when a potential client finally decides to use your service.

It is important for you to implement the system because it sets you apart with other vendors, your unique selling point. You know that clients won't instantly get the end product right after they book you. So it's through a clear onboarding process they get to know how you start doing your work.

5-Step Guide to Client Onboarding
It is wise for wedding vendors to have their very own standard client onboarding system or process which can be applied to every new clients coming into your business. Thus, through this process, your clients get a proper orientation to the rest of your service. Let's take a look at some essential steps in client onboard process.

1. Prepare the paperwork
First thing first, draft your contract based on the needs of your clients. Sort out the details with your clients on the quantity of items, e.g. the number of photographers needed on the wedding ceremony, the number of tiers in the cake, or which flowers are going to used for the bouquet. Though may seem minor, don't leave out transportation or logistic fees, meals for the labors and extra charges too.

Furthermore, the contract must outline payment deadlines, when does your client needs to pay their deposit, settling the final payments and also the banking details (by transfer, credit card or cheque). Don't ever forget to state refund and cancellation policies should any turn of events happening. It's best to revisit the items in the contract before you ask them to sign because it's important for the contract to be clear and concise to avoid future dispute with the client.

2. Send a questionnaire
Sometimes vendors ask a potential client to fill in a short questionnaire to know what are the services that they require from you. Now that they're done with booking, send your client a questionnaire that answers questions for specifics and detailed requirement to have an even better idea that they sought for. For vendors like decorators, wedding stylist or even wedding invitation designers, this will help you draft initial drawings and design which will help your first consultation with the client.

3. Communicate workflow
Once you've got the contract ready, questionnaire filled and draft your first plan, it's time to meet your client and communicate workflow, how is it going to work for you and your client. Though you and the team may know the drill by heart, your client doesn't. The workflow may vary from a client to the other based on their needs, thus remember to personalize where necessary. Create a checklist that includes how you're going to prepare and deliver the needs of your client from the beginning until the end. This will ensure clients that you've got everything sorted out and give them a piece of mind.

4. Discuss important timelines
During the meeting, let's not leave out discussing important timeline and schedules. Say for example you're a wedding gown designer, you have a lot of clients so it's best to agree on a timeline with your client on when should they have their measurements done, first fittings and final touch-ups. Not only that, go over the payment deadlines from the contract so clients know when should they pay. Since money matters can be sensitive, it's best to ask your client in advance whether or not they'd like to be reminded. So a good tip is to also create a checklist of the due dates as well.

5. Set expectation & boundaries
Finally, it is crucial for vendors to talk about what their clients can expect by entrusting their wedding to them. Ask them how they like to be contacted first, by email, Whatsapp, or a direct call? Remember to jot down the timings they can be reachable if your clients have a 9 to 5 job. Then you can tell them on how often or in which events you're going to contact them. Avoid sending too many emails or texts, instead summarize everything into one and send it to them in an update.

Start with a BANG
The statement above is given. One thing about wedding industry is to impress your client at every contact point. Why so? You want to constantly surprise your client to make them feel special especially since you're helping out their big day. No matter how less frequent you contact them, you ought to give them the 'wow' factor since the beginning. Bring a thoughtful gift during your initial meeting or consulting, perhaps start with a wedding magazine like Bridestory Magazine or a wedding planning journal or diary. Or a simple congratulations card may suffice, a little goes a long way!

All in all, what we know is client onboarding is something wedding vendors should not overlook. Do you have your own onboarding system? Share with us on the comment box below!

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