#92: Improve Client Relationships with Stellar Onboarding and Offboarding, with Kat Boogaard

Today’s guest is Kat Boogaard. Kat is a full-time freelance writer in Wisconsin who provides blog content for software clients in the productivity, project management and business ownership spaces. Some of her past and current clients include Atlassian, Trello, QuickBooks and Loom. She also provides advice and resources for freelancers through her blog, weekly newsletter, private Facebook community and a shop filled with tools and templates. 

To maintain strong relationships with clients, first and foremost, you have to deliver great work. But Kat also likes to keep in touch with clients. She sometimes does this outside of the work she’s providing them, so, for example, sending the client an article or tip she thinks would be helpful to them.

Moderation is key — keep in touch without feeling pesky. And don’t underestimate the power of a friendly check-in: “Hey, how have you been?” That outreach keeps you top of mind with clients.

Kat also keeps connected with clients on social media, although she doesn’t usually do hard sells there. She follows her editors and her brands on social media and sometimes “likes” or comments on their posts. Have organic conversations.

Kat has learned the value of refining her processes and taking ownership of the process. That means she sets out the plan and expectations and leads her clients through the process. That shows she knows what she’s doing and increases the trust between her and her client.

Kat thinks of “onboarding” as her client’s first steps with her, and this is where it’s important to make a great first impression. She has developed an onboarding process that includes a series of defined steps that include signing the contract, sharing any materials or tools either party needs, outlining the workflow, and informing the client about her invoice timeline and how she accepts payments.

Onboarding lays the groundwork so you can get into the creative collaborative work with the assurance that all the logistics are taken care of out of the way. On the flip side, “offboarding” is at the end of the project. Business owners tend not to focus on this side as much. You may think you say “thank you” and send the invoice, but there can be so much more to a successful offboarding process.

“Last impressions matter just as much as first impressions. Way too often I see freelancers wrap up projects with clients they loved working and they just turn in the assignment, send their invoice … and they just let that client ride off into the sunset.” 

As you develop your onboarding and offboarding processes, reflect on previous client projects and think about what went well and what didn’t. Map out a flow of activities that need to be taken care of and put them in logical order. Processes aren’t set in stone, and there may be a trial-and-error period. Start small before you invest in automation tools or fancy forms.

Biz Bite: Batch your tasks.

Resources:

Subscribe to the new Deliberate Freelancer newsletter at MelEdits.com/newsletter.

Subscribe to Kat’s newsletter at KatBoogard.com.

Kat Boogaard on Twitter

Kat Boogaard on Instagram

#FreelanceChat happens every Thursday on Twitter at 12 p.m. E.S.T. (U.S.)

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