Woman jumping customer onboarding with client onboarding checklist
Training & Learning

Jumpstart Your Customer Relationships: Free Client Onboarding Checklist

If we apply the Pareto Principle to customer relationships, 80% of your company’s revenue comes from just 20% of your clients. That’s a compelling argument for building and maintaining strong client relationships right off the bat.

For B2B and SaaS companies, a stellar client onboarding process is the single most effective way to ensure happy customers—and to keep them loyal long term. But building a repeatable system takes time. Invest the time, though, and you’ll stay organized and set your customers up for success. 

We’ll walk you through six tips to streamline your onboarding workflow and help get your clients up to speed. These steps can be completed in any order and customized to suit your organization’s needs. 

Plus, we’ve created an easy-to-use, downloadable client onboarding checklist, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you gain a new customer. 

new client onboarding cheatsheet

5 simple steps to stronger client relationships

1. Welcome your new customers (and learn a bit about them) 

A welcome email establishes the tone for the course of a relationship. That’s why it’s one of the most important marketing communications you can send a customer. But it’s also an opportunity to get to know more about your new customers’ needs.

On average, welcome emails see a 50% open rate—which means half of your customers will open and read them. To put that number in perspective, most other email campaigns generally see an open rate of 32%. 

The goal of a welcome email is simple: thank your new client for signing up for your product and share the most important things they need to know to get started. 

Your welcome email should: 

  • Say thank you. It can’t be overstated, and it’s an easy way to let them feel valued right away. 
  • Be simple and easy to understand. 
  • Include helpful resources that can mitigate roadblocks to product adoption.
  • Share any onboarding documents important to your team, like an agreement, project scope, or invoice information
  • Introduce points of contact or key stakeholders from your team.  
  • Go over any next steps in the process, especially if you provide training 

And if you don’t know what your new client needs, ask. Build a short client onboarding questionnaire to send with this email in order to gauge your customer’s likes and dislikes. Understanding their preferences will help you personalize the customer experience—which can improve a relationship in the long run.   

Read more: 16 Free Templates to Cover Every Stage of Customer Onboarding

2. Schedule a kick-off meeting with your client  

A kick-off meeting is the official signal that a new project or customer relationship is ready to take off. 

The goal of any kick-off call is to provide as much support as possible to your new client. This means introducing key team members, building clear expectations, and hearing from the client about their most pressing needs. 

Use this time to remind them of the resources in their welcome email, like step-by-step tutorials, articles, and instructional videos. 

An easy value-add during this initial kick-off is a product walkthrough—it costs nothing on your end and can get a new client up to speed quickly. Maybe they’ve already seen a demo or screenshots of your product in action, but an interactive walkthrough is really their first chance to ask questions in real time. 

Show them the parts of your product that are best aligned with their needs and give them tips and tricks to speed up their adoption process. 

Plus, you can point out troubleshooting resources, like a chatbot, forums to connect with other users, a contact form, or a simple FAQ. This way, they have plenty of touch points to get help at the moment they need it. 

If you can, record the walkthrough so the client can refer to it later once they’re on their own.

If you don’t know what your new client needs, ask. Understanding their preferences will help you personalize the customer experience—which can improve a relationship in the long run.   

3. Motivate customers to complete training materials

A happy customer is a prepared customer. In an onboarding experience, that means providing a variety of touch points to keep the customer motivated throughout training. 

As it turns out, finding creative ways to move customers through training can have a major positive impact on retention rates. In a recent finding, 86% of surveyed customers in the U.S. were willing to stay loyal to companies that offer continuous education during onboarding. 

There are three major tactics you can use to keep customer motivation high: provide assessments, allow resources to be downloaded, and offer certificates for completing training.

Provide assessments

Allow customers to test their knowledge—and ensure they have the know-how to master your software. Simple assessments like quizzes can give customers the motivation to keep learning (and using) your software. 

Look for a tool that offers a variety of question types, like short responses, multiple choice, dropdown menus, and true/false. You might also consider more advanced assessments that use video or images.

  • Video response: Customers record a short video to answer a question
  • Screencast: Customers record their screen to apply their knowledge in the flow of work
  • Pick-a-point: Customers click to identify the correct component of an image

Create downloadable resources

Downloadable resources encourage customers who want to learn at their own pace to keep learning about your product, even when they don’t have internet access, or they help learners who focus better on printed materials than on screens. Making your coursework downloadable will boost the accessibility of your onboarding training experience and keep customers engaged. 

At the minimum, you’ll want to ensure individual lessons can be downloaded. But if you have the resources, provide downloadable assessments, study guides, and tutorials as well. Some tools offer advanced features to download entire courses at a time. 

Award certificates of completion

Reward customers who finish courses or assessments with a completion certificate or badge they can display on social media and internal tools. This taps into the innate human desire to receive a reward for hard work. 

We’re not just talking about one major certificate at the end of training; that’s a great idea. Consider offering scaled rewards at milestones, too. These mini-rewards work a bit like gamification—customers can “level up” with each milestone—and can go even further to motivate customers. Then for big moments like finishing a module or an individual course or at the end of the program, give them a certificate of completion.

In a recent finding, 86% of surveyed customers in the U.S. were willing to stay loyal to companies that offer continuous education during onboarding.

4. Use automations to keep the customer engaged throughout onboarding 

A disengaged customer is the kiss of death for any onboarding experience—poor onboarding is responsible for about 23% of customer churn

Here’s how disengagement works: Imagine you start using a new time-management software, but there are no instructions to get started. If it’s tough to navigate and there’s minimal communication from the company, how likely are you to keep trying that software? Not very likely at all. 

You become disengaged and then abandon the product. 

To boost your engagement rates, use automated reminders to nudge customers throughout onboarding. It’s kind of like tapping their shoulder to catch their attention during lulls in the onboarding process.  

Customer training platforms, like 360Learning, have pre-built customizable automations.

Set them to trigger during important onboarding moments. For example, to: 

  • Celebrate customer milestones like completing important tasks or training. 
  • Remind recently inactive users about their upcoming training. 
  • Nudge long-term inactive users to log back in and complete their courses. 

You might also consider a chatbot that can recognize when a user is having trouble, assist with basic troubleshooting, share learning resources, or offer to connect with a live help representative. 

5. Ask for feedback after onboarding ends   

You have a golden opportunity at the end of onboarding to seek feedback from new clients. 

This is your chance to hear directly from them about what works, what doesn’t, and what they think would improve their experience. 

Any organization’s onboarding can benefit from refining the program to better align with the needs of its clients. Unless you specifically ask about a customer’s experience, you might never discover hurdles in the onboarding process.

A great way to gather feedback is by sending a client a follow-up questionnaire after onboarding wraps. It can be as simple as a brief, 3-5 question survey. But keep it under 10 multiple-choice or short-response questions. 

Ask your customers for their pain points—and encourage them to get specific. Were there links that were broken? Or language they didn’t understand? This kind of specific feedback can help you quickly get to the root of any onboarding issue. 

Then, use that valuable feedback to make your program better. For example, feedback from customer surveys might tell you that customers learn better from video tutorials than from written instructions. This new information can direct your team to invest its energy into video creation rather than written guides. The end result is satisfied customers who can understand your product even faster.

Unless you specifically ask about a customer’s experience, you might never discover hurdles in the onboarding process.

6. Centralize customer education resources

The best customer onboarding is short, sweet, and packed with resources to help a new customer figure out a product right away. 

A centralized customer education space can set your new client up for success—which is incredibly important when you consider that 57% of customers are willing to abandon a company after only two negative experiences. 

To curb these roadblocks, design a collaborative library of tools—including tutorials, video resources, and an FAQ—in your learning platform. Your efforts will go a long way to keep customers engaged so they’re willing to work through issues. 

An interactive forum, or user portal, can connect your customers with expert users and boost their know-how of your product. 

When your customers devise a solution to a challenge together, they deepen each other’s understanding of your product. Plus, peer support lets customers manage basic troubleshooting themselves, which frees up your customer support team to deal with bigger issues.  

A solid client onboarding experience opens the door to customer loyalty 

Customer onboarding is the first step in your customer education program. 

Think about it this way: A proper onboarding process lets you lay the groundwork for a great relationship with your customers. That’s because when a customer understands your product, not only are they more likely to use it, but they also tend to be more loyal to your company long term. 

Looking to give your client onboarding a boost with 360Learning’s collaborative tool? Get in touch for a free demo.