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What to include in your new client checklist for smoother onboarding

30 June, 2023 · 5 min read·Client intake
What to include in your new client checklist for smoother onboarding
Ensure a smooth onboarding process by including all necessary items on your new client checklist. Our blog post provides tips and suggestions for creating an effective checklist.

As a business owner or service provider, one of the most important things you can do is successfully onboard new clients. The onboarding process sets the tone for your entire relationship with your customers. It's your first opportunity to make a great impression and show them you value their business.

But where do you start? That's where a client onboarding checklist comes in handy. In this blog post, we'll guide you through creating a checklist to help you onboard new clients smoothly and efficiently.

Your guide to client onboarding checklist

As a business owner, your relationship with your clients begins before they even sign on. A well-thought-out client onboarding process can ensure a smooth transition from sales pitch to signed contract to a happy and engaged client. This is where a client onboarding checklist comes in handy.

Importance of having an onboarding process

A well-designed onboarding process sets expectations for your client and provides a clear roadmap for how your business will fulfill its promises. Moreover, it helps build trust and rapport with your clients, increasing the likelihood of their satisfaction and future referrals. An onboarding process helps ensure that nothing falls through the cracks when you onboard new clients, increasing the chances of you achieving your business goals.

Benefits of using a client onboarding checklist

You may wonder why you need a client onboarding checklist template when you can remember all the steps involved. Unfortunately, that strategy can lead to missed steps, inconsistencies, and poor performance. A comprehensive onboarding checklist can help you deliver a better client experience, identify areas of improvement in your onboarding process, and make your life as a business owner much easier.

Customizing the onboarding process template

When creating your onboarding checklist template, it's essential to tailor the process to your business's unique needs. Here are some key steps you can follow to customize the onboarding process template:

Assess your business needs

Before creating your onboarding checklist template, assess your business's specific needs. Consider the areas of your business that new clients are most likely to engage with, and create onboarding steps that align with those areas. For example, if you're a social media management company, social media training for new clients might be a top priority.

Identify specific steps

Once you've assessed your business needs, identify specific onboarding steps that align with your operations. Be sure to include administrative tasks (such as setting up a billing account) and operational tasks (such as training on your product or service). Consider your clients' needs and aim to create an efficient and effective process.

Assign responsibilities

Assigning responsibilities for each onboarding step is essential to ensure accountability and a smoother process. Determine team members responsible for each task, whether a sales representative for initial client communication, an account manager for client support, or a trainer for product or service training.

Continuously improve your process

As you onboard more clients, note areas where the onboarding process could be improved. Solicit feedback from new clients and internal staff and use that feedback to adjust the process continually. A process that works for your business today might not work as well in six months or a year, and continuous improvement can help ensure successful onboarding for years to come.

Understanding the client onboarding process flow

Effective client onboarding is critical to establishing a long-lasting and successful relationship between your business and your clients. While the onboarding process may vary depending on your business industry and client's needs, understanding the basic client onboarding process flow is key to establishing a strong foundation.

Step 1: Introduction and welcome

The first step in the client onboarding is introducing yourself and your business to your new client. This is the time to set expectations, establish the scope of work, and build trust by showing them your understanding of their industry and specific needs.

Step 2: Gathering information

Once you have introduced each others, the next step is gathering all the necessary information about your client, their business, and their specific requirements. This includes collecting legal and financial information, understanding their goals and expectations, and identifying the key stakeholders.

Step 3: Develop a plan and agreement

After gathering all the necessary information, it's time to develop a clear action plan outlining all services and timelines. This should be formalized in a service agreement contract that specifies all the details and expectations for both parties.

Step 4: Ongoing communication and follow-up

Client onboarding is an ongoing process that requires continuous communication and follow-up to ensure everything is on track, and the client's needs are met. Regular check-ins and touchpoints can help keep the relationship strong and ensure long-term success.

By understanding the client onboarding process flow, you can create a smooth and efficient onboarding process that sets the stage for a positive, long-lasting relationship with your clients. Remember to keep communication open throughout the process to ensure everyone is on the same page and meeting expectations.

Onboarding checklist best practices

Creating a client onboarding checklist is an essential element of the process. However, designing a list of tasks for the sake of having a checklist is not enough. The onboarding checklist must include certain elements that make it useful for facilitating a smooth onboarding process.

Essential elements for an onboarding checklist

Include essential elements such as the client's details, services provided, and expectations. This information serves as a reference point for the onboarding process and can be used by the staff involved.

Additionally, the checklist should have a timeline outlining each task's expected completion date, ensuring the onboarding process remains efficient and reliable. The timeline should also consider the client's availability when scheduling appointments and meetings.

Optimal timelines for onboarding new clients

The timeline for onboarding new clients may vary depending on your business needs. However, a standard timeline is three to four weeks from the initial client contact to completing the onboarding process.

The timeline should be divided into weekly activities to ensure the process runs smoothly. This approach enables the staff involved in the process to understand each step to take clearly and the expected results at each stage.

Importance of assigning tasks

Assigning tasks to specific members of the team who have the skills necessary for the task ensures the onboarding process's smooth flow. It also reduces the chances of tasks being neglected or not executed correctly. Ensure that the tasks assigned are clear and that the team members responsible for them understand what is expected of them.

The success of the onboarding process is dependent on how well the client onboarding checklist is designed and executed. By adhering to the best practices and guidelines outlined in this section, businesses can have a smooth and efficient onboarding process, ensuring a positive first impression to clients.

Utilizing online tools for onboarding

In today's digital age, various online tools can help streamline client onboarding. These tools can help you automate various tasks and make onboarding more efficient. Here are some online tools that you can use for client onboarding:


QuickBooks is a popular accounting software that can be used to manage client onboarding. The software allows you to generate invoices, track expenses, and send payment reminders. QuickBooks can also be used to create a new client checklist and manage all the related tasks.


HubSpot is a customer relationship management (CRM) software that can manage the entire customer journey, from onboarding to post-sales support. The software allows you to automate tasks like sending welcome emails and scheduling follow-up calls. HubSpot also provides detailed analytics to help you track how your onboarding process is performing.

Social media management tools

Social media management tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer can be used to manage social media channels during onboarding. These tools allow you to schedule posts, monitor conversations and respond to comments and messages. Social media management tools can help you establish a strong online presence and build trust with new clients.

Bookkeeping software

Bookkeeping software such as Xero and FreshBooks can help you manage financial tasks such as invoicing, expenses, and reimbursements. These tools can also be used to track the progress of your onboarding checklist and make adjustments as needed.

B12 website builder

B12's website builder is an all-in-one platform for professional services with client intake forms already included. There are no restrictions on how many forms you can add. Your company can utilize client intake forms to qualify prospects and use that data to speed up the client onboarding and intake procedures. B12 sets it up for you, whether you require a single form for all prospects or multiple in-depth, service-specific inquiries.

These online tools can automate various tasks, making the client onboarding process more efficient. These tools can save you time and reduce the chances of errors or oversights during the onboarding process. Choosing the right tools that align with your business needs and goals is important.

Have a smoother onboarding process with B12

Using a client onboarding checklist ensures you take all important steps and provide consistent experiences to all new clients. This will help you establish a strong foundation for your client relationships and make it easier to manage their expectations. 

Need a professional online presence for your business that enables you to engage clients, onboard them smoothly, and retain them? Try B12 today to get a website built by AI and refined by expert designers, copywriters, and SEO specialists. Make DIY changes any time you want. Launch in 30 days or less with client-engaging tools like scheduling and payments.

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