How accountants can optimise their client onboarding process

How to build a good onboarding process within your accounting or bookkeeping practice.

Customer journey and customer experience are two keywords often brought up in conversation and vital to onboarding processes. But, what do they actually mean, and what can you do to improve both?

Customer Journey
A customer journey is an end-to-end process a lead takes to sign up with your practice. Successful practices are those that make the sign-up process as easy as possible, with little to no bottlenecks.

So what can you do to improve your customer journey?
  1. Map the entire journey from start to finish:
    1. How does the lead find out about your services?
      1. Facebook ad
      2. Google ad
      3. Client referral
      4. Outbound cold calls
      5. Local magazine advert
      6. BNI or other network meetings
    2. Once the lead finds out about your services, how do they get in touch?
      1. Website
      2. Phone call
      3. Email
      4. WhatsApp or SMS
      5. Face to face meeting
      6. Office visit
    3. What's the process to identify their service requirements?
    4. How do you generate a quote for that client? Is it instant, or do they need to wait?
    5. At this point, your lead may reject the quote. What do you do then? If it's accepted, how long do they need to wait for a letter of engagement?
    6. Once the letter of engagement is signed, what does the client onboarding process look like?
    7. After onboarding, is there ongoing communications about the service offering? If so, what does that consist of? 
    8. Has your client been notified about where your office address is, your opening hours, how they can contact the practice, their direct point of contact and any upcoming deadlines?
    9. Is your client aware of your ongoing processes and what is expected of them going forward? By when and how should they get their records to you?
This entire process could be performed on Word or Excel. However, a really useful, free tool is LucidChart.

Once you map your current customer journey, it's vital to revisit and reiterate. Where are leads dropping off the radar and not continuing through your sales cycle? How can it be optimised, and where are the bottlenecks? By asking yourself these questions and self-critiquing your work, you'll be able to move forward, optimise the process and ultimately reap the rewards of better conversion rates and results.

Make the customer the hero of your story. - Ann Handley

Customer Experience
Customer experience is, as it says, all about their experience throughout their lifecycle as a lead and a client. Ask yourself:
  1. Are your clients happy with your practice's level of service?
  2. Are you getting many referrals from your active clients?
  3. Do your clients see value in your services, or do they begrudge doing their accounts?
The three key questions above are key to customer experience. If you aren't sure about any of the answers above, a 'Net Promoter Score Survey' could assist you in finding out the answer. You'll be able to identify your company ambassadors who will actively promote you to their own network, as well as your detractors to who you'll need to pay a little more attention.

Net promotor scores can be an absolute godsend for any business. It can be as many or as few questions as you like. With most being the single question, with a rating from 1 to 10, 'Would you recommend us to a friend?'

By asking this one question, you'll be able to segment your current client database into happy and sad customers. Highlighting whom you can ask for positive reviews and what you can do to improve your overall service offering. 

You've got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology. Not the other way around. - Steve Jobs 

The complete onboarding process

By analysing your customer journey and thinking about your customer experience the entire way. You'll be able to come up with your perfect onboarding process. Chances are, your process will take several re-iterations before you are entirely happy with it. Remember, it can always be optimised and improved, so don't settle, continue working on it, and you'll see the results.

At Nomisma, we're heavily investing in our customer experience and always looking for ways to help our accountant and bookkeeper users. Hence, we're writing articles just like this one. We recognise that optimising customer experience can be challenging, which is why we've put together an onboarding document you can customise and build into your own customer journey plans. Attached to the bottom of this article are two documents you can use:
  1. Advisor Onboarding Document - This is an example of exactly what you can do for your own clients. Feel free to change the logos, colours and all details. You could even add your client's upcoming deadline due dates, deadline type and ongoing frequencies to this document. Post sign up, your client will know exactly where they stand, what needs to be done next and know how and who to get in touch with.
  2. Nomisma Bookkeeping Video Links - again, you can make this document your own. This is a smaller document you can share with your existing clients to help them get up and running on the Nomisma platform.

If you've found this article useful or you would like to see us write about any other subject areas, please do let us know in the comments below!


Ash Hall MAAT
Product Owner

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