Client Onboarding Best Practices [Ideas & Templates]

Nathan Vander Heyden
Last Updated:
January 18, 2022

Your client onboarding process may be one of the most important stages of your relationship with a new client. You’ve already landed their business, and both parties are excited to get started. What’s next?

Create a memorable onboarding experience that will set you—and your clients—up for success.

Client onboarding can really set the tone for your relationship in the long run. It helps determine whether or not your client works with you for an extended period, or just as a one-off.

If you do it right, you demonstrate the value of your service and the support you offer. If you mess it up, you could lose your client before you even get started. 

Let’s take a closer look at some best practices, as well as several templates that you can start using now. 

Client onboarding: best practices

Client onboarding is the process that new customers go through before using your product or service. Because it is one of the first interactions you’ll have with your new customer, it’s important to get off on the right foot. 

Happy clients can lead to referrals, and you should strive to make your clients happy from day one with a quality onboarding method.

Communication is key

Good communication is the cornerstone of your relationship with your clients. It’s important to get in touch with them as early as possible and stay in touch with them. Let your clients know that you’re there for them, and the different ways that they can contact you.

Keep this line of communication open before, during, and after your planned project and you can’t go wrong!

Ask questions

Many onboarding processes begin with a series of questions. You can think of this first step as an “intake form,” similar to those you fill out before seeing a new doctor. 

You can add value to your customer’s experience from start to finish with a quality client intake form. Make sure to include questions about their expectations and goals. 

On your end, these forms can help save you time. On your customer’s end, they are an easy and streamlined way to communicate their wants, needs, and expectations!

Keep your team in the loop

After you’ve gathered all of the necessary information on your new client, you need to pass that information along to your team. Be clear about the goals of the project, the client’s specific wants and needs, and the work that needs to get done.

It’s important that you come up with a game plan (and choose the correct players) before you introduce the client to the rest of the team. 

Make things personal by hosting a get-to-know-you call. Topics could include short introductions and each team member’s role on the project. Then, you can start jumping into specifics.

By developing a personal relationship with your clients, you communicate that it’s okay to ask questions and that you’re there for support!

Provide value from the get-go

Starting any new project is a leap of faith—on both sides! Show your clients that they made the right choice by providing value right away. This can be in the form of immediate client support, and in the way you gather all of that essential information we mentioned. 

If you use a client portal like ManyRequests (which includes an intake form), you can actually do something with all of the data that you’ve collected from your new client. Based on your client’s specific objectives, you can immediately start working on their project in an organized way. 

Show your client that they made the right choice by delivering a detailed and time-effective game plan from the start. Small wins like a project timeline that is personalized and gives the customer exactly what they want can make a big difference.

Client onboarding: email templates

A big part of client onboarding is done through email and other forms of written communication. Below you’ll find a few templates that you can start using right away. 

Welcome email template: questionnaire

Use this template to provide your client with a link to a questionnaire or client portal:

Hi [Client],

Welcome to [Your company]! I want to begin this email by saying thank you on behalf of the entire team. We’re so excited to have you with us!

To get you started, I wanted to share some important resources that I think you’ll benefit from. Take a look at our blog [link] and follow us on Instagram [link], Facebook [link], and [any other important links you want to share] to get a better idea of what we’re all about. 

So that we can get to know your wants, needs, and expectations a bit more, I ask that you fill out this questionnaire [link - to form OR client portal]. This will help me and the team understand what you’re all about – and it will help us do our best work.

In the meantime, feel free to contact me or anyone else on our support team at any time. We're here for you!

Talk soon,

[Your name]

Welcome email template: several steps sequence

Use this template if there are several different steps involved in your onboarding process:

Hi [Client],

Welcome to [your service here]. We’re so happy to have you with us! 

I’m here to help make sure you get everything you expect from [your service here], so don’t hesitate to reach out with questions.

To help you get started, I recommend checking out these resources:

  • [Resource 1 - ex: intake form]
  • [Resource 2 - ex: link to create an account for client portal/other project management software]
  • [Resource 3 - ex: link to an important blog article to help the client better understand your service]
  • [Anything else your client needs to see before you get started]

I’ll be in touch soon with the next steps. We can’t wait to get started!

All the best,

[Your company/name]

Welcome email template: checking in

Use this template to check in with your client and/or if they haven’t filled out the intake form (or accessed other onboarding documents) yet:

[Client Name],

I hope you’re doing well! Just wondering if you had a chance to check out [intake form, or resources that you’ve already sent]? 

Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions! Once you’ve [filled out the form, created an account, etc], you’ll be hearing from me! 

If you have any questions, feel free to reply to me directly, or book a call with me here [scheduling service].

Looking forward to getting started!

Talk soon,

[your name]

Summing it up

When you put a little time and effort into your onboarding process, it shows! If you’re interested in utilizing the ManyRequests client portal to do so, find out more here.