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Your Guide to Client Onboarding and Best Practices

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

The client onboarding process plays a pivotal role in shaping the overall experience with your law firm, ultimately leading to more satisfied clients and referrals.

In 2022, 88% of service leaders acknowledged that client expectations are higher than ever before. So, how do you surpass those expectations? Enter the client onboarding process. This essential step bridges the gap between signing the agreement and the initial meeting, seamlessly welcoming new clients into your firm and instilling confidence in their decision to work with you.

A successful onboarding process looks like:

A chart of the client onboarding process. Step 1) Welcome Packet. Step 2) Schedule Initial Meeting. 3) Gather & Collect Information. 4) Add to Communications System. 5) Initial Meeting.

The heart of your onboarding lies within the welcome packet, a valuable resource that covers vital information from your engagement letter, including what's not covered in your fee. Clear and easy-to-understand communication is key whether it's a digital booklet, video, or another format. By educating your clients about your law firm and services, while managing their expectations from the beginning, you can foster a positive working relationship, reduce stress, and boost referrals.

Here are some best practices for successful client onboarding:

Create a clear timeline

Simplify complex or lengthy processes related to your area of law and break down the project into a timeline of a typical case. This can help provide clarity and understanding for those involved in the process.

Tailor the experience

Ask your clients how familiar they are with your area of law. This way, you can adjust how much detail you're giving them and take the time to explain any unfamiliar terms or procedures in a way that's easy to understand.

Ban jargon

Legal language is complex and hard for many people to understand. Oftentimes, people do not want to appear ignorant or uninformed and will use context clues to help them. This easily leads to misunderstandings and miscommunication. For example, taking the time to define terms like "probate" can be incredibly helpful as many people to better understand how their will or power of attorney works.

Define expectations and set milestones.

We recently listened to an episode about anger on The Happiness Podcast and learned that people often become angry when they are surprised that their expectations are unmet. Minimize misunderstandings and angry conversations by defining expectations early on. Specify response times, inclusions in the fee, and other critical details to avoid surprises.

Save yourself some time - automate repetitive processes

Boost efficiency and automate repetitive tasks. Simplifying the process of customer onboarding requires the establishment of a consistent systems for your and your staff. This can be achieved by having onboarding documentation for staff, checklists, welcome guides clients, and providing additional resources throughout the process.

Check-in during and after the onboarding process

Remember to check in with your clients both during and after the onboarding process. Ask them if they understand all the information or if there's anything you can explain more clearly so you can continue to improve your process.

Explore ClientConnect a powerful done-for-you package where we customize your onboarding processes based on the needs of your firm. Learn more here.

Do you have any tips on how to onboard clients effectively? If you do, we would love to hear them in the comments.

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