October 30, 2020

Audit Your Onboarding Process with Intention

Written By Charesse Spiller

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Every business has an onboarding process. However, whether or not careful thought was put into crafting that process is often a different story.

Every business has an onboarding process. However, whether or not careful thought was put into crafting that process is often a different story. Unfortunately, financial planners and coaches often fall into the trap of onboarding clients haphazardly. This ultimately impacts their business and makes scaling a challenge. Let’s talk about how to audit your onboarding process in three easy steps to create a system that serves your business and improves client relationships.

Step #1: Outline Your Current Process

The best way you outline your process is to go old school. As you onboard a new client, manually write out each step that you take. That way you ensure you don’t miss a step if you were to write out your process when you weren’t in the thick of it. Then, pass off the process write-up to your team. Often, if a business owner isn’t directly involved with a task in the process, they forget it’s there. Your team can help you create a well-rounded view of your process as it currently stands. 

Common steps in onboarding include:

  • Delivery of ADV and Privacy Policy

  • Request of Signature(s) for Client Service Agreements(s) (including Investment Policy Statement)

  • Collect Initial Payment for Services

  • Data Gathering to provide concrete recommendations

  • Set Advisor/Client Expectations – Don’t Forget This!

  • Onboard the Client onto the Firm’s Technology Systems

  • Request to Schedule Onboarding Meeting(s)

#2: Determine What Isn’t Working

This step is two-fold. You want to determine what isn’t working for your clients and what isn’t working for you or your team. Some firms have a lot of success offering an exit survey to clients to see if they enjoyed their experience. In this survey, they ask about everything from the process to the technology leveraged. This is an excellent way to hear exactly what needs to be improved in the future from a client’s perspective.

Now, you can go through your onboarding process internally and determine what isn’t working for you. For example, if you track the time spent onboarding and find that clients are taking much longer than expected to submit financial statements and information, you may want to find a way to streamline that process and reduce the time you spend chasing down what you need.

If you are a business owner who has not been apart of onboarding in a long time (yay for you!), consider holding a meeting where your team can provide feedback on how the process is going for them. There is a lot of value to be found in getting your team members to speak up and provide feedback on their own role in your process and how they would like to see it changed or improved. 

#3: Rebuild a Process That Works For Your Business

Of course, what actually needs to get done in your onboarding process won’t change. The core “to do’s” that you need to check off will remain the same. However, when rebuilding your process you have the opportunity to find new, more efficient ways to make the process better. This is where you can lean into technology and your team to improve. 

Several things we see clients improve when they reinvent their onboarding process include:

  • Creating email templates. Everything from your welcome email to reminders to send information can be templated to save time.

  • Standardize deliverables. Want to send your new client a welcome packet, or outlines of how to use your technology? Make sure each guide is all-encompassing and standardized with your company branding. Make it part of your process to provide new clients with these deliverables right out of the gate to make expectations clear and to reduce inefficiency. 

  • Reduce your tech stack. You want to make sure that you’re both reducing the number of manual steps you take in your business while also reducing the number of programs you use to accomplish a task. Take time to evaluate your tech stack to ensure it’s being maximized by you and your team, and look for new ways to leverage your tech to automate elements of your process.

  • Track progress. Test your new process a few times to ensure it runs smoothly. Then, you can look to improve it even more by adding things like video, client holiday gifts, and automated “extras” like birthday cards. 

Tools To Use

There are several tools you can use to audit and improve your onboarding process. First and foremost, Textexpander can help you to store templates and access them easily across multiple systems. This tool also populates templates both on and offline, making it easy to access by your full team regardless of location.

Canva is a great tool for creating the standardized onboarding deliverables for those who are DIY. You can easily load your logo and brand colors to templated documents for a streamlined look. 

When automating, look into Zapier to help connect the dots between systems when onboarding new clients.

Ready to dig in deeper? Our team is here to help! Schedule a call with us today to learn more about how we can assist you in streamlining your onboarding process.

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