By Tawanda Carlton, Account Executive

Your agency has signed another client, congratulations. New clients always seem to evoke a sense of excitement in the agency environment as it presents a chance to take on a new challenge, learn a new industry and think of different strategies, to help them meet their goal.

The onboarding process can often set the tone for the duration of the agency-client relationship, making starting off on the right foot instrumental.

A recent Hubspot report revealed 43% of agencies say they don’t have the free time to handle administrative tasks such as “client onboarding.” Unfortunately, 16% of those surveyed are simultaneously experiencing retention issues. The results are telling and ultimately relay that how you bring a new client into the fold is a true testament to the level of customer service you will provide.

We recently on-boarded a new client that works in the diversity and inclusion space as it relates to technology. There were a few key components in our process, that may prove helpful for other PR professionals looking to have a great start with managing your accounts.

Collect Data and Create a Plan

Creating a solid plan often starts with meeting internally with your team and everyone involved. This time allows everyone on the project to take a deep dive into the client’s background and talk through what needs to be accomplished. This is a prime time to also research competitors, analyze recent media coverage, and review social media profiles. From this research, you can gauge early on the priorities that will matter the most upfront. Our team makes a concerted effort to research our using this framework to better prepare for kick-off meetings and to ensure everyone is confident and knowledgeable about the tasks at hand.

Start Communicating with the Client

To ensure a successful start, prompt and immediate communication with your new point-of-contact is essential. Many times the “work” meaning pitching and content creation, hasn’t officially begun, however, it’s important to make introductions and find reasons and ways to establish the agency-client relationship. Our team often makes introductions during the initial round of emails or the first conference call with our new partner, to set the tone. With one of our clients, we took to social media to follow and engage with them via their prime social platforms. It’s a small interaction that can often produce favorable outcomes and helps you find another way to connect.

Talk with Your Internal Team

Whether the client is looking for marketing campaigns, public relations strategy, social media planning, or all three, it’s important to keep everyone on your internal team abreast of what’s happening with the account. Reason being, PR can no longer stand alone. Marketing and social media are now being integrated into PR strategies forcing communicators to think beyond pitching and traditional PR methods. How can a media placement be amplified on social media? Does this placement fit seamlessly into the next email marketing campaign? PR professionals have to fire on all cylinders in this digital age. With this, our team meets weekly to discuss vital aspects of the account and collaborate on the best ways to meet and exceed client goals.

In short, effective onboarding entails welcoming new clients into your business as new team members to help form a true partnership.  Streamlining the process will ensure their concerns and questions are addressed, they understand the services that you provide and most importantly that the partnership is a success.