In business, there’s little so exciting as landing a new client. Signing that contract results in celebration, which can quickly turn sour if the company throws the new account upon unprepared employees. The following tips will help you integrate new clients into the staff workload.
1. Write down an onboarding process. Spontaneity is all very nice, but a clearly defined process for integrating new accounts into your business not only shows clients that you’re prepared to undertake the work, but that your company is their best choice. The new process doesn’t just manage client service, it also provides a structure to build a client relationships.
2. Build a timeline for benchmark tasks. The process tells you what to to, the timeline tells your staff when those tasks must be done. Just as you appreciate being treated promptly and with courtesy, so do your clients. Impress new clients by ensuring all staff assigned to the new accounts have a foolproof checklist of benchmark tasks and dates to keep them on track.
3. Schedule and implement employee training. Now that you’ve got a new client, you have to perform the work to service that client’s needs. Don’t assume your employees have the precise capabilities needed. Identify who does and who does not, then ensure that those who don’t receive the training they need. Employees should also understand why, how, and when to use their new skills in conjunction with existing business processes and systems.
4. Share your business processes with the new client. While your company must cater to each client’s expectations to a certain extent, remember that the new client hired your company because you provide a service or product they need. Share the internal processes relevant to your client. You cannot completely disrupt your business in service to just one client.
5. Review your communication plan with the new client. Your client deserves to know–and will want to know–the progress on the work they hired you to do. Be sure to include staff in the communication plan so everyone is aware of expectations and can be reassured about work performed.
Once your staff has integrated the new client into the existing workstream and delivery of those services and/or products is consistent with regard to both timeliness and quality, it’s time to propose adding new services and/or products. Be cognizant that you do not simply agree to perform additional tasks under the existing contract. Without fully defining the contract and/or scope for the new service, you set the stage for client disappointment and employee distrust.
Bringing additional work onboard requires careful evaluation of existing staff capabilities and their workloads, as well as negotiating increased compensation for performance of the work. Will the additional services you have agreed to provide require hiring new staff or can existing staff handle the work within normal business hours? Are they agreeable to working overtime and will they be compensated for the additional time spent? Valuable employees might shift their priorities for the short term, but taking them for granted quickly results in disgruntled attitudes and employee turnover.
The beauty of a thoughtful process to manage onboarding of new business is that it matches capacity with delivery and can provide for the increase of skill and capacity. In short, it helps your company refrain from the “over-promise and under-delivery” scenario and keeps clients and staff happy, which yields higher satisfaction and better productivity.
The Heggen Group specializes in developing processes that facilitate and expedite the integration of new business. Keep the honeymoon going by ensuring that your company can deliver on its promises.