The Highboard

Grow your business, while I support you with an uncluttered, streamlined and intuitive website.

How a form can simplify client onboarding

Admin and paperwork can take up huge amounts of time as an entrepreneur. We have a modern, well considered website and the client knows they’re ready to make contact – what next? Client onboarding needs to feel seamless, smooth and professional. Some business owners have a team working for them who can handle those initial enquiries, but even then we need to make sure that we use their time wisely. We can simplify client onboarding with forms and dramatically cut down on the need for admin. The first step to seamless client onboarding is to ensure clients understand our value proposition and know whether we’re the right choice for them. You can do this by:
  1. Making sure any physical locations are easy to find onsite if relevant;
  2. Giving sample prices so clients know whether we are within their price bracket;
  3. Citing examples of other clients you have worked with so clients get a feel for where you’re pitched;
  4. Detailing your values via blog posts and ‘About’ pages.
When your prospective client knows we’re the one for them, you need to decide how you want to be contacted. While a phonecall or WhatsApp message from a new client is easy to handle when you’re starting out, as your business grows communication can be harder to manage. You could try:
  1. An online diary like Calendly, which clients can use to book themselves into an appointment that works for both parties;
  2. Email links and online contact forms so your clients can send you a message in their own time;
  3. An online form.
Today, let’s take a look at the benefits of having an online form on your website. A good form can take hours of admin out of the equation by providing you with the information you need about your client before meeting them for the first time, while also providing your client with information about you and how you work. Ensure the form is easy to use Write out all the information you hope to gain from each client and then look at ways to condense that information into a shorter format. Can you combine questions? Ensure the questions flow in a logical order, and consider multiple pages if you need to collect a lot of information – clients are more likely to persevere to the end of the form when everything is broken down into manageable sections. Think of every instance in which a client would use the form and ‘test’ the form by thinking through the answer previous clients (or target clients if you are starting out) would give. Think about which fields are required – what should a client do if they don’t know a particular answer? Don’t forget to use help text to guide and reassure clients as they fill out the form. Forms aren’t just for your clients Why not use an initial form to collect the most pertinent information, and then a second longer form (for you or your client to complete) when they’ve paid their deposit and start to work together? Online forms are a great way to take your business online and keep all of your information in one place. Review the form regularly Are clients skipping certain questions? Are they asking the same questions when you have your first meeting in person and could those questions be intercepted early on via your questions on the form? Take on board feedback received and keep adjusting the form to ensure a great user experience. Keep the questions relevant These are an absolute Godsend when you’re building an uncluttered, streamlined and modern website. A conditional field is one that will be shown depending on answers given to previous questions. They ensure your for feels seamless and pleasant to work through for your client, reducing the clutter of irrelevant fields that your client doesn’t need to complete.  Ask for information For me, this is the most crucial element of good form design. Giving clients an extra box that they can use to write in more detail about any specific needs can save you hours of admin time and email tennis. “Do you wish to share any other information that might help me understand your business a little more before we speak?” Clients want to be heard, and an opportunity for them to talk about their personal requirements can be such a game changer in terms of on-boarding and customer service. Some people won’t enter anything – someone else will write reams, but giving clients the option will streamline your on-boarding system. Best of all, you get to read and respond to their needs in your own time – not if they catch you on the phone when you’re exhausted after a full day of work.  Payment Options and Automated Emails Form building software will often give you the paid option to accept money from your clients when you book them in. That may not suit every business, but it’s a really useful option to have. Any way of making sure clients can pay quickly and easily will always be a winner.  Offer Choices Good form building software will give you the option to add choices via drop down menus, check boxes or radio buttons to your form and these are a brilliant way to clarify your client’s needs and speed up the time it takes for them to complete the form – use them wherever possible, giving clients the option to add an “other” detail when necessary. Share information about yourself If you only work with clients from certain areas for tax reasons, you can communicate this to clients via the form by offering limited dropdown options for them to choose from when they choose their location. If you get lots of enquiries from clients who aren’t able to afford your prices but don’t want to display your prices online, a simple “What is your budget option” works well – you can add a starting price that conveys a little information about how much you charge. Add Hidden Fields A hidden field contains information that only admin can see via the “backend” of the form – simply put, it means that when you access the clients’ form entries via the database on your form builder, you will be able to add or view information to each client’s submission that they won’t be able to see. I have used this in multiple ways with clients: The swim school who used a simple age calculation based on the swimmer’s date of birth so they could keep registers up to date, and a coaching client who added notes after each client meeting so she could ask about family members by name and remember personal events when they next caught up. Your main goal is to simplify your workflow long term and get your on-boarding system as automated as it possibly can be. This always takes extra energy and time initially, but it saves hours moving forwards. Let’s add an online form to your website to cut down on admin time and streamline your on-boarding system. Book a call, send me an email or (of course!) fill out the form to get started!

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