When a new customer comes on board there is a small window of opportunity to effectively:
- Nurture them.
- Understand their business.
- Encourage them to get you to know your delivery team and the benefits derived from your unique approach to SEO.
Great customer services certainly help in myriad situations.
But there are specific actions and process-led approaches your team can do to ensure your “new customers” become “happy customers” from the outset.
Like any frameworks for marketing delivery, you will want to tweak and refine this to suit your company culture and nuances.
That said, there are actions you can take today that will improve your new business retention and customer lifetime values.
1. Be Excited
When you take on new business it can be easy to overlook the fact that for new customers this is an exciting time.
- The customer may be trialing SEO for the first time.
- They may see SEO as bringing something new and exciting to the business.
- Generally, new business contacts will be excited about the opportunity to follow.
From an established SEO delivery team, new business can have a risk of being seen as just another project, which is a dangerous company cultural item requiring fast identification and fixing.
A new customer offers a chance to learn (or increase know-how) within a new industry, get to know new people, and build on strategic skill sets and specialist SEO experience.
Regardless of existing workloads, the day of the week, time of day, personal circumstances, or any other sentiment triggers, everyone who has initial exposure to new business should feel and showcase their excitement for working on the campaign.
Lack of enthusiasm impacts the immediate onboarding of new business substantially and is a simple thing to get right.
2. Include the Customer
It can be tempting for efficiency purposes to only involve the customer with outputs of your efforts. But the best results always come from creating an inclusive and collaborative approach to delivery.
Whether it is long-term roadmaps, initial focus areas or action plans, be sure to take the time out to involve the customer – main contact(s) plus key stakeholders.
Customer face time gives you the chance to reinforce expertise, co-create, collaborate, and keep the momentum behind SEO campaigns.
The more you work together with the customer and position yourself as an extension of their team (this needs to be completed from the outset), the easier it is to:
- Get access to make changes.
- Remove barriers from implementing items.
- Reinforce all of the things that led them to buy in the first place.
It’s also a lot more fun and creative working in integrated ways with customers as opposed to isolated working.
3. Create & Refine Onboarding Processes
When a new SEO customer lands, everyone in the team should have complete clarity on items such as:
- Pre-sales information provided.
- New contacts and company goals/objectives and pain points
- Who does what and when
- Key communication needs
- Important onboarding moments
- Core delivery milestones
4. Take Pause for Thought
The very first handful of onboarding actions tend to cover things like:
- Initial customer comms.
- Welcome emails.
- New account admin actions.
After these, it is necessary to take a moment (or have a specific expert in place who has a strategic role to play) and look at the bigger picture.
When staff is excited about a new opportunity and the customers are enthusiastic to get going, the temptation can be to jump in with both feet and start taking action.
This mentality is by no means a bad thing, but it does require management and consideration.
There will often be quick actions that can guide the enthusiasm to get going in a practical way – technical SEO fixes are great for this, as there are always items to fix and it supports any other goal and objective areas for SEO.
When deploying technical SEO focus and fixes, this then buys time to step a step back, understand the customer – their wants, needs, pain points, and aspirations (above the goals/objectives and traditional KPIs).
5. Move Toward Customer Centricity
Placing the customer at the center of the delivery mindset and wider company culture ensures that whatever the situation may be, the customer is looked after and considered first.
There are service level agreement standards-setting and maintaining such as:
- Time to reply to emails.
- The definition of regular communications.
- Clearly provided instructions on the quality and types of communication required which can help with this area.
Characteristics of a customer-centric organization include:
- Proactive customer comms.
- Use of data to identify, improve, and support customers more.
- Ongoing customer inclusion.
- Increased customer visibility on progress.
- Empowering your customer contacts through your work, insights, and feedback.
- Placing the customer at the heart of marketing and delivery focus.
- Awareness and refinement of the customer experience.
- Improved customer listening.
- Wider access and comms with the customer team (outside of the main contacts).
6. Discuss Previous SEO Approaches
The more you delve into the new business traditional understanding, methodologies, and experiences of SEO delivery, the faster you can reset expectations.
You’ll also be able to reaffirm your approach and reinforce the differentiation and value proposition that they bought into when making the decision to work with you.
You want to avoid repeating mistakes of other providers and learn from the lessons of tactics and strategies historically deployed, regardless of your involvement in the actions taken.
Effective Onboarding Tips for New SEO Customers
Ultimately you will wish to create a new business onboarding process and business culture which work best for you and accurately reflect your company and delivery team.
Having stated this, there are key characteristics of SEO onboarding processes which will support bringing new business into your company with the higher chances of keeping them.
Examples of this include:
- Be excited.
- Include the customer.
- Create, question and refine your onboarding process.
- Take a step back and think strategically.
- Place the customer at the heart of what you do.
- Discuss previous SEO approaches.