Coastal Media Brand

Just as you want to give new clients a great experience when you first start working together, you want them to have a positive experience as you wrap things up. That’s not the only reason to build out a client offboarding process though.

In this post, we’ll look at the advantages of including an offboarding process in your web design workflow. We’ll also walk through the nine steps involved in offboarding clients and give you a checklist to use when managing projects going forward.

What Are the Benefits of Client Offboarding?

Client offboarding refers to the part of the design process that starts as soon as you’ve wrapped up website development. Rather than push the website live, email your client about it, and send off the invoice, offboarding gives you a structured process to ensure that things wrap up on a professional and positive note.

Here are some of the benefits of adding a client offboarding phase to your web design process:

  • Leave your client with a great final impression.
  • Ensure that you’re not just getting an “okay” on the job, but that your client is fully satisfied.
  • Alleviate any remaining concerns or questions your client has so they feel more content with what you’ve done.
  • Empower your client to use their new website and set them up for ongoing success.
  • Open the door for future work by letting the happy client know what other things you can help them with.
  • Increase the chances that they leave you a positive testimonial and send high-quality referrals your way.
  • Collect the final and complete payment on time.
  • Improve your internal processes and workflows based on lessons learned on each job.

If you’re looking for a way to set yourself apart from other designers or agencies, sandwiching your projects between a client onboarding process and an offboarding process is a great way to do it. And it will benefit everyone involved.

Client Offboarding for Web Designers

Let’s break down what goes into offboarding web design clients. While some of the steps can be moved around in the process, all of them are necessary if you want to achieve the best outcomes. 

At the very bottom of this post you’ll find the full client offboarding checklist.

Jump to content in this section:

Step 1: Review the SOW

To-dos:

  • Review the original scope of work document and contract.
  • Confirm the project was completed in full.

Recommended tools:

You likely created the SOW in your word processing or contract software. Refer back to the approved and signed SOW when performing this step. 

What this step entails:

Before you officially close things up on the project, make sure you’ve fulfilled the original requirements of the job. If there were any changes made to the scope along the way, confirm that those updates were addressed and any new requirements met as well. 

This will keep you from having to go back to the client with an, “Oops! We forgot to do this one thing” after the fact.

Step 2: Prep the Deliverables

To-dos: 

  • Gather all the deliverables you owe your client.
  • Pull together all the login credentials for any accounts you set up in your client’s name.
  • Package everything up and upload it to a secure server.

Recommended tools: 

You can share the deliverables via your project management system — something like Asana or Trello. Another option is to deliver them via a secure file sharing service like DocSend or OnionShare.

What this step entails:

From style moodboards to website wireframes, you’ve delivered various assets to your client over the course of the job. When the job comes to an end, you’ll have more deliverables to provide them with. 

Your final deliverables package may include:

  • Logos
  • Style guide
  • Market research report and user persona profiles
  • Website design files
  • Licensed image, video, and/or audio assets

If you set up accounts on behalf of your client, the package should also include a document with the links to these services as well as the login credentials. For instance:

  • Web hosting
  • Domain services
  • SSL certificate
  • Payment provider
  • Content management system

When packaging up the assets, it’s important that you deliver them in the right formats and with all the possible variations you came up with as well. While something like a PNG mockup might be client-friendly for viewing, it won’t be something the client or another designer will be able to modify or use.

While it would be best if your client comes back to you for future design or development work, they might choose not to. Rather than leave them in a sticky situation where they have to pester you for the workable files or pay someone extra to rebuild it all from-scratch, provide them with what they’re owed now.

Step 3: Send the Final Invoice

To-dos: 

  • Send the final invoice to the client.

Recommended tools: 

Whatever invoicing software or payment processor you’ve been using throughout the project — like PayPal or Wave — will do.

What this step entails:

If you want to make sure you get paid in full and on time, send the invoice before you hand over the deliverables. I’d even go so far as to recommend sending it before you push the website live or have the offboarding call. 

While a client may have been good about paying for each milestone, you can’t take that for granted. The only way to ensure that you are paid in full is to hold onto those assets until the payment is rendered. 

So prepare the invoice (if you haven’t done so already). Send it over to the client with a note and let them know that the website will go live within 24 hours after it’s paid.

Step 4: Publish the Website

To-dos: 

  • Publish the website.
  • Test everything out.
  • Invite your client to schedule the final call.

Recommended tools: 

Use the same online scheduler you used to schedule your onboarding and mid-project calls. Like Calendly or Doodle.

What this step entails:

Once you’ve received the final payment, push the client’s website live. 

Go through the site and make sure everything looks as it’s supposed to. Also, test out all the links, buttons, menus, forms, and interactive elements. You want to make sure that everything works as it should after moving the site from staging to live. 

Once you’ve confirmed that the site is good to go, let your client know. Include a link to your online scheduling tool and invite them to set up the final call at their earliest convenience.

Step 5: Have the Offboarding Call

To-dos: 

  • Host the offboarding call and record it.
  • Review the website in real time with your client.
  • Walk through the backend of the CMS.
  • Review the deliverables package.
  • Give them recommendations on maintaining the website going forward.

Recommended tools: 

Use the same platform you used during onboarding (like Zoom or Google Meet). That way, the client doesn’t have to figure out how to get into a new app. 

What this step entails:

During this video call, go through everything you need to in order to hand off the website to the client. 

Start by walking them through the live website in real time. At the same time, show them how to make edits to it from the content management system. 

If you can demonstrate how the two components tie together, that would be great. For instance, change a word on the home page on the backend and then show them what it looks like on the site.

Also, review the deliverables package with them and quickly explain what they’re getting and what they need each asset or login for. 

Give them a chance to ask questions if they have any. When they’re done, provide them with some brief tips on how to maintain their website going forward. You can also remind them of any additional services you offer at this time — like ongoing maintenance, marketing, etc.

Step 6: Send the Deliverables Along with a Thank-You Note

To-dos: 

  • Share a link to the deliverables with the client. 
  • Add a thank-you note.

Recommended tools: 

You don’t need to do anything fancy here. Grab the link to the secure file storage where the deliverables are and email it along with the note.

What this step entails:

This is the last official communication you’ll have with your client. 

In addition to emailing the link to their deliverable file, take a moment to thank them for this opportunity. You don’t need to rehash the details of the job. Just let them know it was a pleasure working with them and that you look forward to future collaborations.

Note: If the project didn’t go well or the client was particularly troublesome, don’t skip this step. Send them the deliverables and then keep the delivery note short and to the point. No need to open up old wounds or instigate an argument by pretending like the job was a ton of fun or suggesting that you’d like to work with them again.

Step 7: Do a Post Mortem Review

To-dos: 

  • Schedule a post mortem review with your team (or do it on your own).
  • Compare the SOW to what was completed.
  • Make note of any anomalies that occurred along the way.
  • Update your processes as needed.

Recommended tools: 

If you’re meeting remotely with your team or collaborators, use your video conferencing software so you can review everything in real time.

What this step entails:

The goal of a post mortem is to evaluate how the project went and to use those lessons to improve your process going forward. If you worked with others, they should be brought into the review. If not, run through this exercise on your own.

Start by comparing the SOW to what you actually did:

  • Were there any deviations?
  • Who initiated the deviations? The client or someone on your team?
  • How did those changes impact the timeline and cost of the project?
  • Were you able to meet all of your projected milestones and deadlines in general? If not, why?
  • Were you able to keep project costs under budget? If not, why? 

It’s also a good idea to evaluate the relationship you had with the client. If things could have gone more smoothly, what do you attribute the issues to? 

Pay attention to project anomalies as well as any trends you notice from job to job. You might discover, for instance, that there are certain kinds of companies or clients where the jobs tend to be rockier or you have difficulty collecting payments from.

Use this information to update your process as well as your general approach to business so you can keep things running smoothly going forward.

Step 8: Add the Website to Your Portfolio

To-dos: 

  • Add the completed website to the relevant parts of your own site.

Recommended tools: 

Your CMS.

What this step entails:

Give it about a month to ensure your client has had some time with their website and doesn’t have any requests or concerns related to it after the fact. You can then add the website to your portfolio. 

There are a number of places you can promote your work:

  • The Portfolio page.
  • A portfolio reel or gallery on the Home page.
  • A gallery of client logos on the Home or Clients page.
  • A Case Studies page or blog post.

The last one will take more time to put together. It will also require further participation and approval from the client since you’ll be telling a truncated version of the before-and-after of their website. If you can create a case study, though, go for it as it’s a great way to provide prospective clients with a closer look at how you work and what you help your clients achieve.

Note: You don’t have to add every recently completed website to your portfolio. If the site isn’t in your niche, if you had a tumultuous relationship with the client, or if it’s something you don’t want to show off, you can skip this step.

Step 9: Send Follow-Up Emails

To-dos: 

  • Do a check in about a month after the website launch and ask for feedback.
  • Request a testimonial a few months post-launch.
  • Follow up at 6 and 12 months to make sure everything is going okay.

Recommended tools: 

Regular old email will work. You might also want to create a feedback or testimonial form using something like Google Forms. Another option is to add the form(s) to your website.

What this step entails:

You don’t want your client to feel like you’re pestering them once their website has launched. At the same time, you don’t want them to feel like they’re on their own. Some clients might not feel comfortable “bothering” you after the fact, so it’s always good to check in. 

Around the one-month mark, send your client an email to see how things are going. Ask if they have any questions, if they’ve started blogging, how sales of their products are going, things of that nature. 

At the end of the email, thank them again for the opportunity. Also, let them know that if they have any feedback to help you help other clients to please share it. You can leave it open-ended or send them a short feedback form.

Wait a couple months before reaching out again. Let the client know that if they’re happy with what you’ve done that it would be helpful for them to write a testimonial. This way, prospective clients can get a sense for what it was like before you built the website, what it was like to work with you, and what it’s like now that they have the completed site. 

You can either have them send the testimonial over email or ask them to upload it to Google if you’re trying to boost your reputation there.

I’d also recommend following up at the 6- and 12-month mark. This is usually when clients will see big changes if they’re properly maintaining their site and marketing it. It’s also around this time when clients who aren’t doing much with the site will realize they need help.

This is your chance to ask them how it’s going, share tips to help them get more from their site, and to offer assistance if they need it.

A Client Offboarding Template for Web Designers

Client offboarding gives you a chance to plant the seeds for future work with your client. Whether it’s ongoing website maintenance, a rebranding project six months from now, or assistance with a side business they start years down the line, the offboarding process gives you a chance to remind your client that you’re more than just a designer. You’re a partner they can trust.

As a bonus, client offboarding also gives you the time to get your business in order. To ensure that the client has everything they’re owed, that you’ve collected your final payment from them, and that you’ve reviewed the project and amended and optimized your workflows as needed. 

Here’s a full breakdown of all the steps and associated tasks from above. Feel free to take this process and make it your own:




























Client Offboarding Template for Web Designers

Step 1: Review the SOW

Review original scope of work and contract

 

Confirm the project was completed in full

Step 2: Prep Deliverables Package

Gather the deliverables you owe the client

 

Pull together the login credentials for any accounts you set up

 

Upload the package to a secure server

Step 3: Send the Final Invoice

Send the final invoice to the client

Step 4: Publish the Website

Publish the website

 

Test everything out

 

Invite your client to schedule the final call

Step 5: Have the Offboarding Call

Host the offboarding call and record it

 

Review the website in real time

 

Walk through the backend of the CMS

 

Review the deliverables package

 

Give recommendations on maintaining the website

Step 6: Send Deliverables + Thank-You

Share a link to the deliverables 

 

Add a thank-you note

Step 7: Do a Post Mortem

Schedule a post mortem review with your team (or do it on your own)

 

Compare the SOW to what was completed

 

Make note of any anomalies that occurred

 

Update your processes as needed

Step 8: Add Website to Portfolio

Add website to relevant parts of your own site

Step 9: Send Follow-Up Emails

Do a check in a month after the website launch and ask for feedback

 

Ask for a testimonial a few months post-launch

 

Follow up at 6 and 12 months to make sure everything is okay

Web Design Myrtle Beach

Coastal Media Brand

© 2024 Coastal Media Brand. All rights Reserved.