Many tradies are guilty of not having any proper procedures in place when it comes to customer onboarding. You might be one of those – and find that most of the time, you’ll tend to focus your time and energy on just doing a great job.
Once your customer has accepted your quote, you schedule in the work and start planning on how to carry it out – but the thing is, your customer still needs certain things from you to be confident in the work you’re about to do.
If you want to reduce admin time following up late payments and dealing with queries on invoice line items, there are some simple things that you can change to supercharge your onboarding that will Get You Paid Faster.
First things first though…
What is customer onboarding?
Customer onboarding is simply all activities involved in introducing a new customer to your business.
It’s about teaching your new customers the way you work: what they can expect from you, and what their obligations are in return.
You might send a quick email with some information when a customer signs, which is great – but onboarding new customers can be a bit better than just telling them information. Consider listening to their questions and concerns, and providing any answers that they need.
At the end of the day, it’s about making their experience as smooth as possible.
Why is customer onboarding important?
How important is it to you that you keep your customers happy? Because that’s how important onboarding is.
Good customer onboarding will result in happy customers, as people will know exactly what to expect and what you’ll deliver to them, and when.
And remember – happy customers are far more inclined to pay your invoices more quickly.
It’s not only about getting paid faster, though! There are many other benefits to your business when you onboard new customers properly, including:
People who are happy with both the quality of your work and the way you carry it out are far more inclined to want to work with you again. Loyal customers are very valuable in business – and take far less cost and effort than acquiring (and onboarding!) new customers for each and every job.
Word of mouth is, and always will be, one of the most powerful ways to market your business. Satisfied customers will recommend you to their network, and tell their friends and family about you – and it’s a relatively easy win.
Especially if you template your emails (with the help of Tradie Terms!), onboarding new customers is efficient for both you and the customer because they won’t need to ask questions about your workflow, timing, or other admin details. The key is to proactively provide all the important info to them before they need to know it.
Less follow-up on payments
As you’ll be improving your cashflow and getting money in on time, you’ll save time, stress and effort on all the follow-up paperwork you’d typically need to do for late- or non-paying clients.
Remember that payment problems usually occur with customers who don’t understand the value of the work you do – or if they had expectations that were not met, because you didn’t communicate with them and give them the critical information they needed to understand the job at hand.
4 steps to better customer onboarding
If you Google it, you’ll find that some resources online will complicate customer onboarding, and give you 12-step strategies to implement – but there’s no need to make it complex.
Following the below steps will help you establish best practice. Remember any feedback you get from customers should also help you understand which parts are working well for your business.
Understand your customer - what do they need?
Does your customer need to know about how you arrange site visits? The process for submitting variations? Invoice payment expectations, and payment terms? If you charge a deposit, or ask for progress payments at certain milestones?
Your customer will need to know certain things from you. Put yourself in their shoes, and figure out what those needs are – and give that information to them up front.
Set clear expectations
Before committing to working with you, your customer should know what to expect. Particularly with timing, outline your process very clearly: when they can expect a site visit, when deadlines might be to order materials, and even how you deal with potential setbacks. This way, should you hit a snag, your customer will be better prepared to work with you through it. Consider communicating what happens should the requirements around time and materials change, or if inclement weather impedes the progress of a job, for example.
Template it up
It’s all well and good to have an idea of what you need to provide customers – but what really saves you time, money, stress and effort will be to create template documents and emails to ensure you give all your new customers a consistent experience. It means that you can rest easy knowing you’ve given them everything they need. Importantly, it makes you look a whole lot more professional, to boot.
Stay in constant communication
After your initial welcome email, continue using email to provide important information as it crops up. Onboarding isn’t a set-and-forget: some things will change during the course of certain jobs, and at this point you need to make sure you keep your customers in the loop. Likewise, encourage your customers to be in touch with you to facilitate that two-way conversation, and nip issues in the bud before they become payment-preventing problems.
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Although you need to ensure you standardise templates and processes for a consistent experience, remember that you still need to personalise interactions with your customers.
We’re all people at the end of the day, and if you can tailor certain responses to concerns, you will find getting paid faster is no longer an issue!
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The Tradie Terms service gives you everything you need so you can easily and quickly make the changes your business needs to onboard customers better and get paid faster.
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