While it may not entail the same physical hazards as surfboarding, skateboarding, or snowboarding, make no mistake – the onboarding of new customers can present unseen dangers for businesses that don’t treat it with the respect it deserves.

Because, yes, the humble process of onboarding does indeed deserve nothing less than your respect and full attention.

It’s easy to take this part of the sales process for granted – it seems to fall into some nether region between the thrill of landing a new account and the “real work” of fulfillment and delivery.

Besides, onboarding just seems so mundane, so automatic – all you’re doing is logging some basic info in the books, right?

But you’d be surprised – or perhaps you’ve already been surprised, in that “Whoa, bruh, that dinky little wave was so not supposed to dash me into those razor-sharp rocks” sort of way – by how easy it is to get onboarding wrong, and how costly those errors can be.

When “small” mistakes add up to big hassles

An onboarding wipeout can result from something as simple as messing up your customer’s contact information.

This happens all the time – just think of how often your own mailbox (or even your voice mail) has served as the chance destination of bills, notices, and other material intended for someone else.

When you’re the business issuing the payment-due notice, incorrect contact information can easily delay your cash flow and your closing process.

If you’re really lucky, the chance recipient will forward the invoice. But for most people, “doing a nice favor for some company that clogged my mailbox/voicemail with a letter/call intended for someone I’ve never heard of” stands on the life-priority list somewhere below “scrubbing the bathroom tile grout.”

This being the case, an invoice sent to a wrong address/phone number or even e-mail address (hey, it happens) usually winds up in a black hole. And you know nothing about its status until the payment is past due or you’re trying to close the books.

Ways to address the problem (hint: use the right address!)

These are highly avoidable errors – so avoid them! A few handy tips will go a long way toward addressing your onboarding problems.

Above all, establish an invoice-delivery confirmation process. This should include the following steps:

  • Making sure you have the correct contact info for sending payment notices.
  • Making sure the customer has crystal-clear instructions on payments and remittance.
  • Providing – at the very outset – your policies for handling disputes and inquiries.
  • Passing along any relevant details on the completion and handling of any required regulatory documents, such as the W-9.
  • Asking (well, actually insisting – but nicely!) that the new customer review and confirm in writing all of the above information.
  • Keeping all of this information as a definitive record of onboarding – you never know when you might need it.

While all of this may seem pretty elementary, onboarding can be more complex and time-consuming than many business leaders expect. That’s where Lockstep can help.  Powered by communication templates and workflow, Lockstep gives you the needed controls to improve onboarding.  Consider a demo – and save your gnarly ‘boarding spills for the slopes, the surf, or the skatepark.