You never get a second chance to make a good impression. From our first ventures into the “real world,” we are taught to be mindful of the way we present ourselves to others. After all, you can learn a lot about a person from one conversation or one business transaction. Client onboarding is no different. During this process, your client is going to get their first glimpse of how you conduct business and glean how important client satisfaction is to your firm.

Client onboarding checklists can help you ensure that you don’t miss a single step in this vital relationship-building process. Start by making a list of all the components that make up your onboarding process. Next, break down each step into smaller tasks so that each member of your team will know exactly what they are responsible for and when each job should be completed.

Though this may look a little different for every firm, let’s start by breaking down the onboarding process into six main stages.

Initiate contact and send a welcome email

Here is your chance to make a good first impression. While sending a welcome email may seem like a simple task, it’s important to know a few key things. Who is responsible for sending the email? What important information will your client need at this very moment? How else can you connect with your client at this early stage? To make your onboarding process trouble-free, consider putting action items like assign the internal team to the new client and follow the client on social media on your checklist for this stage.

Gather client information

What is your plan for gathering and organizing client information? Making sure you have all the necessary details in an easily accessible place enables smooth communication. If you were to break this task down into smaller parts, the first step might be sending your client a questionnaire where they can record things like email addresses, bank details, and metrics for success. Make a list of all the details you need and check them off once they are received.

Set up project and add apps

Though you might reserve some administrative tasks for the kickoff meeting, it can be useful to set up some workflow projects beforehand — and it can reduce headaches later on. Use client information already received to set up things like cloud storage, payroll, and time tracking. Other steps for your checklist at this stage might include set up recurring services to perform for your client at the proper frequency in your workflow management tool and meet internally to discuss the scope of the project.

Client kickoff meeting

While a successful kickoff meeting is crucial, the lead-up and follow-up must also be seamless. To guarantee success, add items like ensure your workplace is clean and send an agenda to your client in advance to your checklist. Follow-up tasks might include: create a summary of what has been set up, add a Calendly link to book a meeting with the bookkeeping team, or make a list of any outstanding to-do items.

Send a welcome package

Fruit baskets might not be all the rage anymore, but sending thoughtful welcome packages to new clients is always a good idea. Be sure to tailor and personalize your gift to your client. On your checklist, include the items that need to be assembled, like swag or a personalized “welcome” video from your team, and check them off once they’re ready to go.

Transition to Bookkeeping Team

Finally, you have earned the trust of your client through effective onboarding tactics and are ready to transition them to their bookkeeper/bookkeeping team. At this final stage, you want to make sure your team has everything they need to begin bookkeeping services. So what items deserve crossing off a list? At this stage, you might host an internal transition meeting and have a follow-up session with your client.

Now you’ll have a better chance of retaining your client and creating a healthy working relationship. You know that your firm is efficient, trustworthy, and always puts customers first. Through utilizing a thorough onboarding checklist and process, you can ensure that your clients know that too.