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Wedding Pros: Here’s How to Create A Better Customer Onboarding Experience

March 21, 2023

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I'm Candice, your new tell-it-like-it-is BFF (and purpose cheerleader). Are you ready to grow and scale a profitable business with purpose–and one that gives back to your meaningful life? Thought so!


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I believe that one of the most important stages of the client journey is at the very beginning. Are you tired of feeling disorganized and overwhelmed when bringing on new clients? The onboarding process is a crucial step in building a successful wedding business, and having a streamlined system in place can make all the difference. But how can you create the best customer onboarding process that supports your clients and helps grow your wedding business?

In this episode of the Power in Purpose podcast, I share with you why you need to prioritize onboarding and how you can begin to create a customized, nurturing, and affirming onboarding experience for your wedding clients.

I believe that one of the most important stages of the client journey is at the very beginning. Are you tired of feeling disorganized and overwhelmed when bringing on new clients? The onboarding process is a crucial step in building a successful wedding business, and having a streamlined system in place can make all the difference. But how can you create the best customer onboarding process that supports your clients and helps grow your wedding business?

In this episode about how to create a stellar customer onboarding process:

  • What a customer onboarding process is
  • Goals you should have with your customer onboarding process
  • How to start creating a better onboarding experience

And if you're a wedding planner looking to snag my onboarding process, be sure to check out The New Client Onboarding Process Playbook inside my shop.

Before you brush this off as something you'll improve “once things slow down a bit,” I'm here to bring you a harsh reality: if you don't have a strong onboarding workflow for your wedding planning clients, things might never “slow down” again (and not in the good way – where you are sipping margaritas on the beach watching all your Honeybook notifications come in). Without a strong wedding planner onboarding sequence, it's easy to turn into that gif of a cat typing ferociously on a keyboard. I do NOT want that for you.

There are 8 critical stages to the onboarding process that you must move each client through. Inside this Playbook, I walk you through each phase, and by the end, you will:

  • Understand how to guide your clients through the onboarding process
  • Have a complete onboarding strategy that nurtures and affirms the customer's purchase
  • Copy and paste my signature onboarding framework into your business
  • Launch your new onboarding process in just a few hours without second guessing what the experience should be like
  • Feel confident in how you welcome new customers to your business

Make the most out of every client you take on as a wedding planner by understanding the essential steps for successful onboarding.

[00:00:00.000] - Candice Coppola (Host)

I believe that one of the most important stages of the client journey is at the very beginning, the onboarding stage. In this episode of the Power in Purpose podcast, I want to share with you why you need to prioritize onboarding and how you can begin to create a more customized, more nurturing, more affirming onboarding experience for your wedding clients.

[00:00:26.020] - Candice Coppola (Host)

You're here to grow a business, but not just any business. You want to grow a profitable business with purpose, a business where you wake up every single day driven to serve your customers and make a difference in your own life.

[00:00:41.220] - Candice Coppola (Host)

I'm Candice Coppola published author, business coach, and your guide to building a profitable business with purpose. Join me here every single week as we explore how to build and grow your business with purpose. Get ready to dig in and have meaningful conversations about the strategies and techniques that will help you build your dream business. This is the power in purpose.

[00:01:11.520] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Hey there, friend. Welcome back to the power in purpose podcast. It's me, your host, Candice. And today, we're talking about a system, a process in your business that I think is under discussed but should be prioritized. And that's the onboarding process, the onboarding process of bringing and welcoming in your new customers to your business and getting them situated and into the ecosystem of your business, into the fold of your company. This is a process that's not necessarily talked about enough. I feel like we often focus on the mechanics of our job, or the process of delivering our service, but not so much why it's important to onboard your customers strategically, meaning with strategy, thoughtfully, and how you can do that. T hat's what we're going to talk about today. Does that sound like a plan? I hope so because that's what I have planned. All right. I first want to talk about why the onboarding process is so important and why I believe it's really the most critical part of the entire process of working with you, whether you're a wedding planner or a photographer, an invitation designer. This first begins with first impressions. You know that first impressions are important.

[00:02:25.190] - Candice Coppola (Host)

I don't need to tell you this. You've learned this since the first grade. It's obvious that you gave the client a really great first impression because they hired you. But we need to give them the first impression of what it's like working with you now that we've taken their money. So there's a difference between the first impression of meeting you, but then the first impression of now we've exchanged something, we've exchanged money, a transaction has taken place. What's going to be their first impression of you as a customer? Do you see the difference there? And how we're differentiating how they transition from prospect to customer and why the first impression of a customer is so important. Next, it sets the tone. There's this saying that my husband has start wrong, end wrong. If you start wrong, you're going to end wrong. If you start off on the wrong foot, you're going to end on the wrong foot. We want to set the tone here. We want to start off on the right foot so that the process going forward, hopefully, is an agreeable, enjoyable magical one. And I believe that the onboarding process is how you set the tone for what's to come with your new customer.

[00:03:41.740] - Candice Coppola (Host)

It's how they get this first taste of what it's like to work with you. And it's really your job to deliver on the promises that you made in the sales process. And here's the thing, we make lots of promises in the sales process. When we're selling, we're like, Yeah, girl, what do you want? You want extra three hours? Sometimes we are willing to do whatever it takes. And we lay on the charm, we lay on the personality, we are quick to respond. We're like, In the sales process, we'll do whatever it takes. But then once people sign, we're like, all right, sister, thank you. I love you. I'll see you in a week or two. And we just disappear. And that energy isn't there anymore because we got the money. I don't want you to do that. I want you to set the tone. I want you to keep that fire burning. I want you to keep that energy going. Trust me, clients notice when you're all up underneath them, super responsive in the sale, but you're not nowhere to be found after you cash to check. And you've probably had similar experiences as the customer.

[00:04:52.360] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Don't be that guy. And then finally, the onboarding process is important because you want repeatable processes in your business. I don't believe in automating everything in your business and taking away human connection, but I do believe in repeatable processes. And if you can outline an onboarding process for your business when you can intentionally create one, it makes sure that every customer who signs on has a very similar, if not identical experience. This also means that you could, I don't know, delegate some of this shit out to other people. You could hire a VA. You could have somebody on your team onboard customers. It means that you don't have to always pull all the levers. If the process is repeatable, anybody should be able to repeat it, right? Those are three reasons why I believe the onboarding process is important. Next, what I want to share with you is goals that I need you to have for your onboarding process. As you create your onboarding process in your business, these are the goals I want you to have in mind. Now, every strategy you create in business needs to have goals. It needs to have like, what's the result I want to achieve here?

[00:06:04.570] - Candice Coppola (Host)

What do I want to do? I don't want you just creating strategies because I told you to. I don't want you creating strategies because somebody on the internet said you needed to. I need you to create strategies in business that have goals in mind first, so then you can create the strategy second. So these are the goals I need your onboarding process to fulfill. First things first, I need it to affirm the customer's purchase. Listen to me, hiring you is a big, scary expense, even for somebody who can afford it. Dropping down several thousands of dollars on a service is a lot of money. And for some folks, they've never hired somebody like this before. So whether they have lots of money or they have little money or they're somewhere in between, it is a big, scary expense. So when they hit sign on your contract and they make their first payment, I believe you have a short window to affirm their purchase. And by affirm, I mean make them feel good about it. Make them be like, Hell yeah, I made the right decision hiring her. This is what I'm talking about. This is what I paid for.

[00:07:15.530] - Candice Coppola (Host)

This is yes, I feel affirmed. I feel solidified. I feel justified in hiring this person. Ultimately, you just want them to walk away and be like, Thank God, she let us hire her. Thank God. I want them to feel so good about this decision to spend, I don't know, thousands of dollars with little old you. So your onboarding experience and process needs to affirm their purchase. It needs to make them feel really good about their purchase. Next up, it needs to have a clear pathway that reduces any overwhelm they might feel in the beginning stages. I don't care who you are, everyone, no matter how organized or disorganized appreciates knowing what comes next. We all like a little timeline. We all like a little here's what happens next. Think about your favorite TV show. Don't you love it when they show a preview for the next episode right after? You're like, oh, hell yeah, I'm tuning into that shit. Count me in. Count me in on the teaser alone. Everybody loves a little teaser of what happens. They like to know what happens next. So once a client books with you, there needs to be a clear pathway.

[00:08:33.550] - Candice Coppola (Host)

And by clear, I mean easy to understand, clearly identified pathway for what happens next. Most of the time they want to jump right into things, and maybe we're not in a position to do that. Maybe their wedding is, I don't know, two years away. Or maybe you need a little time to get it together behind the scenes, get their client portal ready, or I don't know, insert the blank. Maybe there's a questionnaire you need to send. Maybe you need more information from them. Regardless, your clients, they just gave you a lot of money. They want something in return for that right now. So I need you to work on a clear pathway that helps to reduce overwhelm and keeps you in control. A clear pathway means you're actually guiding them along this path. You are in control, not the client. And you want to start wrong and end wrong, that is giving the client the keys. You give your customer the keys to the process, you're done. Because they're always going to be one step ahead of you and they're going to be in control, not you. You need to be in control. So when you have a clear pathway, you're able to also be in control.

[00:09:42.770] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Take it from me. This is a little sidebar. This is a little Candice sidebar. Never give your clients the keys. Never lose control. And you might be listening to this being like, Fuck, I.

[00:09:56.250] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Lost control.

[00:09:58.880] - Candice Coppola (Host)

You know that client, they're controlling everything that you're doing right now. And you're just like, they're like, jump. And you're like, How high do you want me to jump? Literally, they're four steps ahead of you and they hate you and you hate them. If you are in this situation right now, I mean, you just snatch back those keys and take control. You are capable of doing it. It has gone off the rails. We need to bring it back to center. You are capable of doing this. You can always DM me for a little advice on Instagram, okay? My Instagrams are going to blow up like, Candice, I need to take back the keys.

[00:10:33.760] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Hey there, friend. Real quick, I want to share with you how you can sign up for a free trial with Honey Book. Honey Book is everything you need to get business done. And it's trusted by over 100,000 independent businesses just like yours to manage projects, book clients, send invoices, and most importantly, get paid. If you've been looking for an all in one solution to manage your customers, I want to invite you to sign up for a free trial with Honeybook. Go to candice coppola. Com honeybook to learn more. When you sign up for a free trial using the code purpose, you'll save 50 % off of your first year's subscription. Honeybook is what I used in my business as a wedding planner, and it helped me land every single sale. It's what helped me build a six figure wedding planning business. It's also what helps me today in my business. Go to candice coppola. Com honeybook to learn more and with the code purpose, save 50 % on your first year's subscription.

[00:11:48.280] - Candice Coppola (Host)

All right, the next goal with your onboarding experience is to communicate boundaries and set expectations. Listen, you want to work from nine to five? You only want to use email to communicate. You want your client to use their client portal to do what they need to be doing? Well, you as the guide, as the leader, as the key holder, need to communicate your boundaries and set up expectations for the clients. The onboarding process isn't just to benefit your client, it's also to benefit you. It's how you're going to communicate your office hours, how they're going to communicate with you, your communication preferences, what's allowed, what's not allowed, and set up reasonable expectations. Let me underscore that, reasonable expectations. Most customer issues can be solved with clear communication and setting reasonable expectations for people. Truth. If you can communicate clearly to people what they can expect, they are largely going to accept that. It's when you don't communicate and you don't give people set expectations where they will then invent their own means of communication, interpretation, and set their own expectations, of which may not be in line with what you want. Are you picking up what I'm putting down?

[00:13:11.980] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Good. Good. So your onboarding process should communicate boundaries and set expectations. Remember, you are in charge. I also just want to talk about boundaries for a little side note. Your boundaries can indeed change. I want you to know that you could have a boundary like on office hour. Let's say you work 8 to 6. If you decide like, Hey, that sucks. I don't want to do that. I want to work 10 to 6. You can change that boundary. Your boundaries can evolve and change based on how your business and your life evolves and changes. When you start your business as a 26 year old unmarried, no kid person, and then five years later you're married, you got kids, life is different and your boundaries are going to be different. So don't feel like you can't change your boundaries. Just remember that you need to communicate what the new policies and boundaries are to your current clients. Okay? All right, the next goal that your onboarding process must have, not negotiable, is gathering important information. Okay? Information is your job. It's your J OB. And in this phase of the client journey, the onboarding space, you need to get up to speed on what's going on.

[00:14:28.640] - Candice Coppola (Host)

You need to get information from your client, whether you're a photographer, a planner, a videographer, an invitation designer, a Florist. You need questionnaires, girl. You need to get info and you need to drip it out. Don't just send your client some fricking 20 page questionnaire asking them for their emergency contact blood type, groomsman, best man's phone number, is your dog going to be your ring bearer? That's too much. Nobody wants to fill all that shit out at once. But you do need to start gathering important information. So this is a time for you to begin to collect that information in a systematized way that will help you to bank that information so that you can go back to it in the future and I don't know, do your job. So you need to start gathering important information during this process, and that'll be different for any type of wedding industry pro. Next, I want your onboarding process, this phase to surprise and delight. You might have heard this term before surprise and delight. It's one of my favorites. But what does it mean to surprise and to delight someone? Well, when you surprise and delight your customers, you're offering them an unexpected moment.

[00:15:38.360] - Candice Coppola (Host)

It's a moment that they didn't expect. It's something they didn't think was coming. There's a great book on surprise and delight. It's called The Power of Moments. I think the author's names are Chip and Heath. I think it's Chip and Heath. Anyway, it's an awesome book. Pick it up if you're interested in learning more about the power of surprising and delighting and creating moments for people that become core memories for them. It's fascinating. But your onboarding process needs to have a bit of whimsy to it. It needs to have some surprise. It needs to have something fun. And this can be a gift. It could.

[00:16:12.060] - Candice Coppola (Host)


[00:16:13.380] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Something they didn't expect. It could be so many different things. But adding this element of surprise and delight will improve the client experience overall. It's going to create a memorable moment for them that they may even reflect back on. Remember when Candice did that cool thing she did? It would enhance your interactions with them, just make everybody happy and in a good mood, which we want. It can help to create customer loyalty, turns your clients into raving fans like you would never believe what our wedding planner did. And it makes the process of working with you fun and exciting. Like, Hi, we want to have fun. We are planning a wedding, and sometimes that's very un fun. So your onboarding experience needs to do something magical for your clients. Think about Disney and the magic behind Disney and how there are elements of surprise and delight throughout your entire experience at Disneyland or Disney World, the Disney experience. You need to bring in a little bit of that magic, a little bit of that whimsy to your onboarding process. These are the goals that I want you to consider. Let's just recap them. From the top, I want your onboarding phase to affirm the purchase.

[00:17:25.480] - Candice Coppola (Host)

This is critical time. We want them to be like, Hell yeah, I hired the best. Thank God I just spent gazillion dollars on my wedding planner. Next, we want it to have a clear pathway that reduces overwhelm, that reduces anxiety, that gives people exactly what they need to be focused on. We also want it to communicate boundaries and set expectations. Make sure that you answer common questions that you put them in the know of what to expect. Most client problems can be avoided by clear communication and setting proper realistic expectations. And remember, your boundaries can change. They don't have to stay the same. You're not the same person you were when you started your business. It's okay to change your boundaries. The onboarding phase should also gather important information so that you can prepare next steps so that you know what to do next. And it needs to surprise and delight. It needs to elevate their experience. So that is what I want you to focus on. Use these goals and start creating your own onboarding experience for your clients. This is worth your time, especially at this time of year where you are onboarding new customers.

[00:18:35.160] - Candice Coppola (Host)

This is the perfect time to test out a process on a new client to see how you can tweak it and make it work even better. And listen, if you want more on the onboarding experience, I have an entire playbook inside my shop, candice copplishop. Com, that gives you an onboarding experience if you're a wedding planner. If you are a wedding planner listening to this episode and you want a plug and play onboarding experience for your clients, you can go to Candice CoppolaShop. Com and go and purchase the new client onboarding experience. It literally is a plug and play process for your wedding planning business and girl trust. All those goals, check. I built it with those goals in mind. That's it for me today. I can't wait to hear about how you change your onboarding experience based on what we've talked about today. Feel free to share more with me on social media. I will see you in the next episode. As always, I'm here to remind you that there's so much power in your purpose until next time.

[00:19:39.600] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Thanks so much for tuning in to this week's episode.

[00:19:42.520] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Of the Power In Purpose podcast. If you enjoyed the show, be sure to.

[00:19:46.920] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Subscribe so you never miss an episode and consider leaving a review.

[00:19:52.100] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Head over to powerinpurpose podcast.

[00:19:54.820] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Com to access.

[00:19:56.680] - Candice Coppola (Host)

All of the resources.

[00:19:57.900] - Candice Coppola (Host)

And links mentioned in today's episode.

[00:20:01.280] - Candice Coppola (Host)

That's powerandpurpose podcast.

[00:20:04.110] - Candice Coppola (Host)

Com. I'll see you next time.

Thanks for tuning into today’s episode of The Power in Purpose Podcast. I want to know– what was your biggest takeaway? Head to my Instagram to join the conversation!


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