What is onboarding and why is it so important?

You’ve done all the hard work. You have a new client. Setting aside the 5x rule, that it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain one, the lifetime value of each client to the independent agent can be significant. A solid new client onboarding process can help confirm they made the right decision in entrusting you with protecting their assets, their business, and their family.

What you will include, and how much of the process you automate is up to you. What’s important is that you have a process in place that is repeatable and effective, you’ve set expectations, and exchange the information needed to continue the business relationship in the way that works best for them. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Thank you for the business. This should be at the top of any onboarding checklist and delivered in a way that doesn’t feel empty. Hand-written cards are impactful.
  • Essential contact information. Old way – business card. Depending on the client, getting your contact info into their smartphone is probably a more convenient way of providing all the important numbers and links they should have.
  • Communication preferences. Ask how they prefer to be contacted – phone, email, mail, or text – on a variety of topics. Communication conversations can also help to set expectations on how frequently you like to touch base and what that might look like, whether it be a newsletter, a needs assessment, or information related to their policy.
  • Self-service options. It’s one thing to have a client portal, mobile app, or carrier service center available, it’s quite another to make them aware of it. Help them with set-up, and review guidelines of where to go for what.
  • Social media. Related to communication preferences, ask your client if they are on social media, what platforms, and gauge their interest on following/connecting on networks where there is overlap. No need to be pushy here, but it’s a good time to ask.
  • Additional needs that you may be able to help with. It’s always okay to make new clients aware of all the services you provide, products you can bundle, and protections you can offer.
  • How did you do, and what could you do better? Usually in the form of a follow up email or text after the sale, soliciting feedback can help identify areas of concern, and reinforce that you care. When done right, it can also open the door to favorable reviews, testimonials, and referrals.

If your onboarding experience feels like it is becoming too overwhelming for the client, consider breaking it down into stages, including the essentials as part of the sale, and the others to come later in one or two steps in line with their established preferences. Putting the extra effort into creating a solid process should pay off in the long-term for your agency and your clients.