The technical definition for client offboarding is,
“the process that leads to the formal separation between a service provider and a client through the completion or termination of service or contract.”Brian Anderson
The informal way of approaching it is all about leaving your client better than they started, with questions answered, and a memorable experience working with you. Of all the customer experience steps, this is the one that most often gets forgotten or is undervalued. You spend all this time working towards a goal, a vision, a transformation, and your clients are on to even bigger and better things, but the offboarding process is less like the end of the narrative and more like the potential for a whole new chapter.
You get to consider:
These questions may seem surface-level to some, but to those in the business of service, like you, understand just how crucial word-of-mouth and the client experience are.
That is what offboarding is all about.
When creating an experience worth talking about and remembering, the best way to approach the process is with consistency. Consistency on your end creates a feeling of confidence, ease, and an overall seamless experience for your clients. It is the easiest way to nurture in a way that is sustainable and effective.
Use your systems!
I say it again and again, if you are investing in your systems, you need to be using them fully.
If you are not using a project management system, hopefully, this blog post will help me prove one of the dozens of reasons investing in them is so crucial to your client’s experience and your success.
The project management system I use and recommend is ClickUp. Some even call me the queen of ClickUp because, after years of managing projects, clients, and systems, ClickUp has been the most time. Money, and energy-saving platform of them all.
Within your chosen system you can set up spaces, folders, lists, and workflows that help you to automate and remind you of your offboarding steps. This helps you manage and remember to give your clients the experience they deserve.
With all this in mind, here are six things you NEED to add to your offboarding checklist.
Let them know you appreciate them and thank them for working with you.
A simple email, voice memo, or parting gift can go a very long way when the service you provide comes to an end for your client. I know it feels like they should be thanking you for your work, but your work wouldn’t exist without them. Let them know you are grateful.
One thing that I see many entrepreneurs and business owners missing is the final farewell call. This is the celebratory call where you review the work, the relationship, and the connection made over the time of the project.
Many times those hosting the call will use this as a catalyst for the next few steps and tackle them all at once. It doesn’t matter if this is your approach or you prefer a longer plan of action via emails and later contact. As long as it all gets done and your client feels like you care about them and their success, then you are in the right headspace.
This is the part where you follow up with a quick questionnaire about their experience.
This is a MUST!
How the heck are you going to continue serving clients if you have no idea what is working and what is not. This is not just about getting testimonials to benefit you moving forward (although that is a definite bonus).
The feedback step is about making sure you are staying in tune with your clients and their needs. Hopefully, you have built a trusting connection where they feel safe to share their honest opinion on your client-experience.
Helpful questions to ask are:
If your client has expressed any concerns about their next steps, be willing to refer them and get them set up to succeed long after your services have been completed.
It is like a baby bird flying the nest for the first time. Yes, they could just figure out where to go next, but they may not even know which direction to begin. Helping your client navigate their next steps can be incredibly impactful for you to take the time to provide resources and knowledge from your experience. Details like this when offboarding make the difference in money, time, and energy for them moving forward. Which is a super win for you as the service provider.
Keep showing up! Just because your contract has ended doesn’t mean your clients are not still watching and learning! Your past clients will often become your biggest cheerleaders when it comes to content engagement, so give them something to talk about! A content strategy stretches long past attracting new clients and selling your services.
Referrals! Word-of-mouth is efficient, inexpensive, and the most authentic form of marketing there is. Do you have incentives in place for past clients referring new clients your way? Of course, having a referral program is not a must, but ensuring your clients know how much you appreciate them when they send a dream client your way is!
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