The Afro Coach Operations Agency

What to Include in Your Onboarding Process (For Coaches and Service Providers)

(3-minute Read)

 

*This article was last updated in March 2022

You beat back your imposter syndrome, put out your incredible offer, and signed on a new client —SCORE!

But now that you have a new client, you find yourself hurriedly sending and resending emails, making sure to give them all the information they need to begin working with you…

It’s chaotic, time-consuming, and doesn’t reflect the quality you KNOW your brand is known for.

And it’s frustrating as hell to your client who is riding the high of the investment and isn’t seeing any updates on what’s to come next.

For every point of your client’s work with you (from the moment they find you to the moment they hand over their credit card), we want to make sure our client experience is seamless.

The first 24 hours are crucial to lay down the foundation of your working relationship with someone. Here is where we lay down the boundaries, expectations, and resources necessary to not only leave your client feeling confident in their investment but you from overworking yourself!

I’ll break down all you need to know in order to create an incredible experience for your new clients for your coaching or service-based business!

Navigate Your Way Through the Article:

What makes an incredible client onboarding experience?

What is client onboarding?


Your client onboarding sets the tone for your overall client experience with a new customer. This is your chance to manage expectations, lay out next steps, and prepare your new client for success before you’ve begun the work!

It’s important to recognize that your onboarding is part of the overall experience that you provide for your clients. (If you want to see what makes up the overall client experience, I wrote an article on that HERE).

What makes an onboarding experience great ISN’T how comprehensive you make it. That is a fast track to overwhelming your clients, and nobody has the time or energy for that!

What makes an onboarding experience special, is when it feels intentional to the journey your clients are going on.

They are excited.
They are nervous.
They are itching to get started.

Through this experience, how can you ensure you are safely guiding that energy to be the most beneficial to their success?

As you read through these next few areas, keep in mind what is going to give your clients the most reassurance, ease, and excitement going through your process? 

6 Must-Haves inside Your Client Onboarding Process

Confirmation

Have you ever made an online purchase, and freak out when it takes longer than 2 minutes for a receipt to hit your inbox? The same thing goes for your new clients!

Give them an immediate confirmation that YES they have secured their spot, YES they’ve signed up, and that they have taken the first steps to getting started! 

Your payment processor or online CRM can have this sent out automatically, so you don’t have to be in charge of manually sending this out 🙂

Next Steps

They signed on, great! Now, what do they do?

Having a clear set of next steps you need from your new client gives them something to immediately work on, especially while they are in this high of investing in your service! I personally have found this incredibly helpful when I need more time to prep for their first session with me, so instead of going back and forth in emails on what they need to do next, I let them know what they need to do next. This could be accessing their client portal, or replying back to a video message I send them confirming they received everything!

Direct your new clients on what is to come in the coming days in the first few days of working with you. 

Timeline and/or Milestones

When can clients expect things from you during your time together? Transparency is GOATED in client relationships, and letting people in on what they can expect over the duration of your service gives people more clarity and peace of mind of what’s to come. Plus, it shows you have a process in which you plan on delivering your service! 

Reiterate the timeline you are working with this client, important dates or weeks they should pay attention to, and how they can expect to progress through their working relationship with you.

This not only acts as a means of preparation for your client so they can be ready for what’s to come, but it also acts as a check-in point throughout your working relationship together to keep you both accountable. 

If you use the same process for all your clients, I suggest templating this and having a master timeline framework, and customizing what’s needed for each client. This way you aren’t stuck in Canva making brand new timelines for each client. 

List of Expectations

The client onboarding process is the best time to set the expectations and boundaries of your working relationship. Let your clients know what they can expect from you in working with you, along with what lines should not be crossed while working on their solution. Making sure everyone is on the same page is important to sort out right from the beginning to mitigate any assumptions or frustrations down the track.

Some examples I have used are the following:

  • Office Hours and Modes of Communication

  • Late or Missed Coaching Session Policies

  • The pacing of Coaching (Making sure we don’t speed past an important discipline)

  • Amount of Revisions Allowed

Let me know in the comments if you have a list of expectations you send your clients!

Homework

Your client is most excited right after they have made that investment in themselves—it’s also when they are the most nervous. 

Direct that energy by giving them something to immediately work on before they connect with you personally.  

This can be having them provide information you need to better serve them, or a fun ice breaker to introduce them to your communication tool (Voxer, WhatsApp, Slack, etc.). 

I personally like sending homework like intake forms to gather more information that I need prior to a first session!

This is a great way to engage with your client long before you ever get on a call with them! 

Relevant Links and Resources

Do you have a scheduler for your appointments? Do you have a client portal for all your client-related documents? Maybe a resource that will help your clients? Have those all collected and sent in one document, so they have access to it from the get-go. Plus, it makes it easier than having them scattered among emails that get lost in the inbox!

An EXAMPLE TO STREAMLINE YOUR ONBOARDING Process

So you can see how all of this looks in action, here’s an example of how an onboarding sequence could be done for a fitness coach!

  • Touchpoint 1: Confirmation receipt sent immediately after purchase is made

  • Touchpoint 2: 2 minutes later, an email is sent with a video welcoming your new client! In the email, it contains information on what the next 6 weeks of coaching will look like and a link to their own Client Folder with intake forms they need to fill out for their next immediate steps. Finally, it includes a calendar for them to schedule a call with you!

  • Touchpoint 3: Inside that client folder, they see your Code of Conduct document marked in Red, explaining your office hours, what you will and will not do while working with them, along with what you are expecting from them in order to get the results they are looking for.
     

  • Touchpoint 4: An hour later, you send them another email inviting them to join your client-only Facebook group, so they can connect with others and get access to your exercise tutorials!

This can also have more or fewer touchpoints depending on your service, and the overall experience you want your clients to have.

You’ll notice most of this can be automated or templated thanks to systemizations in your business. If you aren’t sure if you’re ready for that step or when you should start thinking about them, I broke it down in this article here!) 

That’s it, 6 things to send to your new client within 24-hours! And the perfect way to begin a very successful working relationship.

What’s even better is that all of these things can easily be systemized inside your business so that the moment they sign up, these items can be sent out. That way you aren’t scrambling to get back to your computer if you happen to be away. If you aren’t sure about how best to systemize this process, check out this article I wrote on whether to automate or delegate to give you a good foundation of where to start!

If you don’t have time to design such an onboarding process, don’t worry I got you covered!

Want more info on what to include in your onboarding? Check out my free 4-step guide to getting your onboarding set up, and wow your clients from the jump:

 

If you are looking for a more Done-For-You option, my Reina onboarding plug-n-play templates are essentially an onboarding process in a box! The 20+ templates included decrease your onboarding process time while also elevating your client experience quality from the get-go.

Give them a try and see how smoothly your onboarding process becomes.

And for those of you wanting to know what you should do when you are offboarding or re-signing a client, I covered that in another article over here.

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I’m Elisabeth—
I live in Melbourne, Australia, but I’m from the States (Washingtonian through and through). I’m a cat-mom, wifey, and in love with a good workflow (it gives me that warm, fuzzy, Christmastime feeling). My goal is to help female entrepreneurs stop having to choose between creativity and productivity to build a successful, sustainable business.


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