Start Your Client Experience Off Right
You’ve probably heard the phrase “onboarding clients”. It is a term that is used quite often in big businesses.
But you hear it less frequently when talking about wedding professionals. In fact, when I tell my wedding vendors that I work with that they need to onboard their couples, they normally look at me like I have five heads.
And I get it, it seems like a silly term when talking about the wedding industry. But I promise, you will still find a huge benefit to onboarding couples in an efficient and thorough way so your couples know what to expect and will have fewer questions–leading to a better experience for them and less work for you!
If you don’t feel like reading, you can always check out my Youtube Video.
Why Is Onboarding Clients Important
Onboarding provides a foundation for great communication, realistic expectations, and positive outcomes for all parties involved, which is really important when you are working in such a personalized industry.
Imagine being the couple that is sitting there waiting as the wedding date is coming closer, wondering what they should do. They are probably asking themselves, “Should I reach out to the photographer? What do they need from me? When will they contact me?”
If you aren’t providing your couple the answers to these questions–telling them what to expect and when– they are left wondering. And you don’t want that. Weddings are already stressful enough. You are meant to make things as simple as possible, not more stressful.
What Does Onboarding Clients Look Like
When you are thinking about onboarding your couples you should be thinking about how you can provide them with everything they need to know about working with you. What does working with you look like? When should they expect communication? Should they provide you with any information? How do they get a hold of you? And how long should they wait to expect an answer from you in the event of a question?
The golden rule of onboarding is to answer their questions before they even realize they have them. I’ve worked with too many businesses that, after the contract and invoice are signed and paid, they basically disappear and their clients are left in the dark,
Here are some tips for onboarding a wedding client to make their experience so much more enjoyable.
Communicate After Booking
You need to touch base immediately after booking with an email that tells them what working with you looks like. I love turning this into a brochure or pdf that goes over all of the information that they need to know. This gives them a resource to come back to if they have any questions.
Make sure you include the following information in the email or guide:
*Thank them for booking. After all, they choose you over all of the other vendors.
*Explain how you like to be communicated with. Phone? Email? Text? And let them know your
average response time and when you respond to emails. .
*Walk them through your systems such as client portrayals or how to email through Honeybook, etc.
*Let them know when to expect touchpoints and how to schedule any necessary meetings (or engagement sessions, hair and makeup trials, etc). Are they responsible for calling you to set these up or will you? If you are having your clients schedule these, I recommend sending them a link NOW so they can schedule things without having to contact you directly.
*You can also send them a questionnaire closer to the wedding to collect contact information for day-of communications, wedding day timeline, locations, etc.
*This is also a great time to let them know what to expect from you and your team on the wedding day.
*If you have products to give them after the wedding, especially photographers and videographers, let them know when and what to expect.
If this seems like a lot of information, you can always send two documents to space it all out. I recommend sending the vital information right after booking and then send them the information directly related to the wedding day closer to time. It is less overwhelming for them and gives you more touchpoints with the couple.
And it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to give them this information several times. Sometimes it takes multiple times for important details to sink in so telling them multiple times, in multiple places, will ensure that they are prepared.
Other Ideas For Onboarding Content
Here are a few other ideas for onboarding content that you can send out to make them feel more seen and taken care of.
*Send a pdf of tips and tricks that you have learned after working multiple weddings. It doesn’t even have to be within your industry–although it can be–it just needs to be helpful.
*If you get a lot of questions, create an FAQ document and include it in every pdf that you send them.
*What do your clients need to know about your service on the day of the wedding? How do they prepare? Makeup artists–how do you want them to prepare their skin and hair for the wedding day? Photographers–what details (and how) should they prepare? Venues & planners–what do you need from other vendors? Florist and bakers–what do you need your couples to have ready when you arrive?
*Photographers, do they need to have details ready for you? A lot of couples don’t know what details are and how to enhance these details. Give them this information ahead of time.
Final Thoughts for Onboarding Clients
Make sure you are tracking all of your onboarding steps through a project management system. This is 100% necessary. Ensuring that you are tracking where your clients are in the onboarding process will ensure you get it all done and that everyone on your team is on the same page.
What is my favorite project management system? Hands down, it’s Clickup and you can read more about that here.
Having a system will not only keep track of the onboarding but it will manage the entire process as well. A system will let you know when things are due (such as walkthroughs, trials, engagement sessions, etc), even if it is on them to schedule it because chances are good you will need to remind them about it. It makes their experience and yours better and less stressful.
Client onboarding is one of the most important parts of working with your couples. It starts the entire process off on a positive foot and makes them feel like you truly care about them and their wedding day.
Keep your clients informed and in control. Do not pass on this and do not think it is not necessary to onboard. I promise, it will change your client experience AND will change the trajectory of your business.