Eight Client Onboarding Practices You Should Ditch Right Now

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Cruise passengers board their ships with anticipation of a great trip. If they don't get that great trip because of false advertising, because of poor service, or because of terrible food, they will never use that cruise ship line again.


What's more, they will "bad mouth" that line to their family and friends, and, as is common today, all over review sites and social media. The reputation of that cruise line will be seriously damaged.

Businesses that "board" customers or clients need to take a lesson from the passengers and the crew of the cruise ship line. Why? Because the same mistakes that are being made at sea are the same ones you may be making too. Here is a list of eight mistakes you need to avoid as you onboard your clientele.

1. Promising the impossible

"There is a huge temptation to promise that your product, service, software, or consulting program can work "miracles." But you don't want to be like those infomercials on TV- they count on one-time customers who are inevitably disappointed. But those companies don't receive the "coverage' that other businesses receive all over the web. And they do not rely on referrals, references, and recommendations the way that most businesses do." – Chris Kallianos, Partner at Warren Kallianos.

2. Delaying responses

"During the first few months of acquiring a new customer or client, it is absolutely critical that a business be completely responsive to any questions, issues, or concerns. This is just basic customer service. For this reason, many businesses that have developed software, apps, and other solutions for individuals and other businesses, provide ongoing support and methods by which clients can get that support quickly. Larger companies that have a significant social media presence often employ customer service staff to check those channels at least every day as well. They know that addressing these quickly "buys' good will and demonstrates to other followers that this company can be "trusted'." - Dave Abels, CEO of Dave Abels.

3. Turning customers into numbers

"Analytics are important, in fact, critical, if a business intends to understand what it does well and what must be improved. Sure you need to track and analyze your website traffic, browsing patterns, conversion rates and other metrics. But customers must also be seen as real people. Engaging customers on your site, your blog, and your social media platforms establishes those personal relationships that consumers/clients demand today. Businesses that fail to do this will find that they do not grow." - Leslie Glass, CEO of Recovery Guidance.

4. Not responding well

"Not responding well, or using automated responses to customers on social media, is a bad idea. Bank of America found this out on its Twitter account. No matter what a customer's complaint was, the same response was sent out. This was the response even given to a non-customer who simply complained to one of the branches because he was chased off by the police for drawing with chalk on the sidewalk outside the bank. Not good at all." - Vikas Bajaj, founder of Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC.

Related: The Most Effective Methods For Finding And Landing Clients

5. Making exaggerated claims and promises

"The way to wow customers is to always under-promise and then let the customer be pleasantly surprised rather than the opposite. One example of a business that "over-promised" at its launch was Kickstarter. Users were lead to believe that they were sure to get the financing they needed. In fact, there were many failed campaigns that created some pretty terrible backlash. Kickstarter survived by modifying its claims and "riding the storm." Now they are very clear to point out that funding will not occur unless the entire amount is obtained. People now go in knowing the truth up front, and Kickstarter is no longer making its initial promises." – Ambrosio Rodriguez, founder of The Rodriguez Law Group.

6. Complex pricing plans

"This is a real turn-off, particularly when clients are being courted for long-term services. Adding all sorts of options and adding and deleting costs as you do, can just be confusing and frustrating for a potential client. Far better, to discuss the client needs and provide a single price, breaking it down into its complex pieces only if requested." - Joe Ghaddar, CEO of Aluminium Windows And Doors.

7. Lengthy or complicated onboarding process

"Businesses that want customers to onboard themselves via their websites must make it supremely easy to do so. If not, the risk is abandonment. Customers need to be able to visit a site, quickly learn about its product or service, and then have a simple process for making a purchase or for setting up an account and signing on. Dollar Shave Club does a great job of this. There is an explainer video on the landing page, and then three very easily described options for subscribing. The actual subscription purchase takes just a few minutes at most. Dropbox is another company that has a bluntly simple process. Again, a simple video explains what customers can do with Dropbox, followed by a CTA button to download a form that has only four fields to complete. Simple, sweet and effective!" - Chris Needham, CEO of Digital Marketing Broker.

8. Following assumptions based upon your passions

"Every business owner is excited about his product or service. He also tends to project that same passion and excitement on his customers. In fact, customers and clients all have individual approaches and needs, and it cannot be assumed that they will just be automatically thrilled once they are onboarded. It will be critical to stay in touch with customers individually, whether that is by personalized emails, surveys, requests for comments and feedback, a phone call, etc. Customers need to know that the business cares about their experience with the product or service and values their opinions." – Shawn Khodadadian, CEO of OB Gynecologist.

If you see some things that you are doing that might be confusing or frustrating to your clients, it's time to fix it. If you see some things that might improve conversions and satisfaction after the sale, then put them into place. The internet has drastically changed the realm of customer service, and no business can afford to have a tarnished reputation.

Related: Sourcing New Clients? Decide On A Marketing Strategy First