All Aboard! Coast to Great Relationships with a Client Onboarding Manager

July 13, 2016 Andy Haynes

A great client onboarding manager is critical for converting new acquisitions into long-term clients. Which is a key driver of your business. But there’s even more value that the onboarding manager can create for your clients.

Here’s how great practitioners get it right.

Top Reasons Why You Need a Client Onboarding Manager

The client onboarding manager handles the transition process for all new clients from end-to-end. At the most basic level, they perform several key activities. They collect all the financial information from the client. They train clients on the products your firm uses. They clarify the expectations your firm has of its clients. They identify the resources that are available to support the client. They convert acquisitions into clients who can be handed off to the accountant.

Those basics maintain the flow of new clients into your firm. They ensure a healthy top-line. They reduce the costs of losing acquisitions because of turnover-related frustrations. But the real value lies in what the manager does for your clients.

Understand clients' desired outcomes

A great client onboarding manager makes onboarding all about client success. They get that the process is more about meeting your client’s goals than your own. Which can turn an acquisition into a long-term anchor client.

They probe to understand how the client defines initial success. It might be getting closes done quicker. Trimming the amount of time needed to generate reports. Getting more high-quality advice on a pressing business issue. Reducing time spent on workflow. There are many possible desired outcomes. The client onboarding manager drills down and clearly identifies the client's most important goals. The ones that should be critical to you.

Reduce time to first value

The first interaction between you and the client and the tech sets the tone for the relationship. The client onboarding manager gets this right. And that establishes the potential for a great long-term partnership.

This initial success is sometimes called ‘time to first value delivered'. It’s the moment when the client first feels your relationship is working for them. And the quicker your manager can get a client to the first value moment the better for the client. Frustration is reduced. A quick success starts to build trust. In that moment your client begins to see you as a valuable partner in their business.  

Systemize and improve customer support

Great onboarding managers aim to take client support to the next level. They ask questions and listen closely to what their clients tell them. Based on what they hear, they begin to formalize the training. They codify what needs to be done, how it needs to be done and in what order. That makes it consistent and repeatable. And that means there's a consistently high level of value for the client. And it builds a systems capability for your firm. Which makes your entire staff more effective.

And great firms don’t rest on their laurels. They're always working to improve the client experience. And that means evolving their training as they learn from each client interaction. They build a common foundation between their team and their clients.


Client onboarding is not just a technical capability. It’s all about creating great customer experiences right out of the box. Your onboarding manager is an awesome customer advocate. They remove roadblocks and hassles. Solve client problems. Build trust. And they consistently deliver more than customers expect. A great long-term client relationship begins with the success of your onboarding manager.

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