How you finish a project for a client is as important as how you start. Providing your client with an amazing offboarding experience can get you repeat custom and lots of other added bonuses.
So, you’ve done all the hard work. You’ve nailed your marketing to attract business. You’ve held your client’s hand when they didn’t know what to do. You’ve over-delivered and over-achieved on your client’s behalf.
Congratulations! You’re about to get paid!
But how you exit the project is just as important as how you enter it. If you’re unfamiliar with the term offboarding, don’t worry.
Read on to learn what client offboarding is, what you should do it, and how you can prime your client to get amazing feedback and case studies.
What is Client Offboarding?
The goal of an offboarding process is straightforward: to make sure your client has got everything they expected and that they’re happy.
It’s easy to rush this aspect of your client’s experience but done right, it can convert a happy client into a raving fan. That creates a good impression so that clients will refer you to others.
What should happen during client offboarding?
- It’s an opportunity to ask for feedback that helps you refine your process or services for future clients.
- You have the chance to right any wrongs that might have happened during your working relationship.
- You can tie up any loose ends.
- You can warm your client to the idea of providing a testimonial or even a written or video case study.
Why You Should Create a Process For It
Because you’re probably in the middle of working with other clients at the same time you’re offboarding a client, it’s important to have a set offboarding process to make sure you do everything you need.
Here are seven reasons an offboarding routine is best, and how it can help you.
1. Clearly defines the end of a project and your services
If you don’t clearly define when your work is done, then you’re in danger of scope creep. For example, being asked to troubleshoot three months after the project is finished.
2. Reminds the client of the work you’ve done together, the goals achieved, and the impact you made
This is a good way of coming back to what you originally committed to delivering and demonstrating you’ve done the work they paid for.
3. A final opportunity to overdeliver
This will help you stand out among other freelancers. You could share some useful resources or FAQs in your offboarding pack (more on this below) to help the client troubleshoot without you.
4. Ensures the client has everything they need
It’s easy to lose track of admin and be overwhelmed by documents, so providing checklists for milestones makes sure nothing slips through the net.
5. Reminds them of additional services you could provide for them in the future
Keeping a client is a lot cheaper than finding new clients, so giving examples of other ways you could work together will increase the chances of them coming back to you.
6. Provides you with testimonials and feedback
Testimonials are an essential element of getting more clients, as it provides that ever valuable social proof. Asking for constructive feedback is also amazing for spotting any holes in your process or service.
7. Turns your client into a lead generation source
Referrals or word-of-mouth is the most valuable and effective way of gaining new clients. When your client actively refers you, you don’t have to spend as much of your time marketing!
What Your Client Offboarding Process Might Include
You can use a simple spreadsheet to keep track of this or a specific online tool such as Dubsado. Automate as much as you want.
Here are the elements you might include in your offboarding process.
Once you’ve delivered a project for your client, check with them to see if they need anything else, ensure that you’ve delivered everything required, and check that they are happy. This helps you work out everything that needs to be done before you part ways.
Send your Client Offboarding Pack & Final Invoice
An offboarding pack should include a summary of the work you’ve done and the impact. If applicable, include some helpful resources and FAQs that will continue to support them after your working relationship has ended.
This reminds them that you’re there for them long-term while reminding them of how great you are and what you’ve done for them!
This is also the perfect time to ask for a testimonial and referrals. Don’t beat around the bush. Give them details of your referral scheme and share alternative ways to work with you in the future.
Send your Client a Thank-You Card and/or Gift
This is an optional, additional way to overdeliver for your client. Have some thank-you cards made with your logo or brand colors. After the project is finalized, send a card thanking the client for their business and mentioning something positive about your experience working with them.
This is an easy way to stay front of mind. Few other freelancers do this.
Promote Your Client and Share Your Work
Let your client know you would love to promote and share their work with your audience and ask if they are comfortable with you doing that. Ask when it’s appropriate and if there are any other guidelines they would like you to adhere to.
Stay in Touch
This is often the most overlooked element of offboarding and where the hidden gold can be!
Two to three months after the project ends, reach out and check if they are happy with everything. Ask if they have any questions. Ask if the product or service you delivered had the desired result.
If they’re happy with the project, ask them if they’d be willing to be a case study.
Because your offboarding process provides such a good experience, your client should be enthusiastic about being one of your client case studies. If you need to sell them on the idea, here’s what’s in it for them.
- You’ll link from your website to their website.
- You’ll promote their positive results on your social media.
- You’ll include the case study in your emails so your audience also gets to know your client.
- If your case study is filmed, offer them some clips they can use in their own promotional materials.
If necessary, gently walk the client through what a case study is. Make the process as easy and as painless as possible for them.
You now know how to create an outstanding offboarding experience for your clients!
By making this an integral part of your client experience, you create trust and establish yourself as a professional. It can also win you more work through word of mouth, solid testimonials, and case studies.
As your reputation builds this will translate into a steady pipeline of dream clients. You’ll reduce the time you spend marketing and end the cycle of freelance feast and famine.
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