Best client onboarding questions for digital agencies


The client onboarding process is a lot like a first date. You’ve already made a winning first impression, which means it’s time to set the stage for your relationship. But there’s no need to play an awkward game of 20 questions. With a new client questionnaire, you can get the insight you really need to create a quality client experience from the start.

We’ll provide 10 of the best client onboarding questions you can include in your new client survey. This article will focus on questions that help you uncover client expectations. Keep in mind that you can also use your survey to collect logistical info, like current brand guidelines and preferred contacts.

This list is for freelancers and agencies who create websites for their clients. These questions are designed to learn more about your client in the early discovery phase of the web process.

Best Client Onboarding Questions

1. What Are Your Company’s Goals?

When you know your client’s vision for the future, you can create a website that scales with their business. Ask about your client’s business goals — both short-term and long-term. Once you know where they’re taking their company, ask about project-specific goals. This way, you’ll understand where your services fit into the overarching vision.

The more specific your client is about their goals, the better. In your new client questionnaire, prompt them to provide target metrics. You want to know exactly what they define as success. But if their goals are still unclear, follow up with them while you’re still in the client onboarding phase to identify metrics you can use together.

2. What Does Your Ideal Project Timeline Look Like?

The client onboarding process is the best time to set clear expectations. Ask your client what their target launch date is and if they have any target deadlines in mind. It’s also important to express your team’s current workload to let them know if you will not be available to start right away.

When you understand your client’s ideal timeline, you’ll be able to flesh out a highly detailed website design timeline for your team. Plus, this gives you the chance to communicate milestone requirements like client feedback deadlines. A clear timeline helps you encourage your client to do their part to keep the project moving, too.

Check out our Website Design Timeline Resource and Template for a more in-depth look at crafting the perfect timeline to meet your clients needs. We share what 8 items are absolutely crucial to include in your timeline, how much information is necessary, and a free web timeline template for you to work from.

3. What Are Some Sample Websites That You Love the Look and Feel Of?

Your new client questionnaire can also help you gain insight into what your client wants the final result to look like. Gathering concrete examples of website designs they like can show you how you can build a website that meets their preferences.

Have your client collect 3-4 websites for your agency. These can be from competitors or non-competitors. If there are specific elements of each website that your clients love, ask them to highlight them. During each step of the project, your web and content teams can reference these sites and client notes for inspiration and guidance.

4. Who Are Your Ideal Customers?

Some of the best client onboarding questions help you get to know your end users, too. At the end of the day, your client’s customers are the ones you need to build your website for. Have your client list out their key characteristics, like demographics and interests.

Having a clear picture of your end user will help you design a website and create content that customers can connect with, so clients can see results.

5. How Would You Describe Your Products or Services?

Your new client questionnaire can help you get to know your client’s current offerings at a deeper level.

Beyond understanding what their products or services do, this question can help you clarify:

  • The value they provide clients
  • Why clients love each product or service
  • What makes clients hesitant to buy

You’ll be able to create more effective product pages and content. Getting this information upfront can also reduce bottlenecks in the content collection phase.

6. What Are Your Core Values?

Your client onboarding process should also uncover what your clients stand for. Ask them to list out their core values. With this information, you can create a site that matches their brand, vision, and the overall sentiment they want to evoke.

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7. What Is Your Ideal Voice and Tone?

When your agency creates content for your clients, a consistent voice and tone of voice is a must. To create a website that fully fits their needs, ask this question to understand how your clients view their brand.

You can guide your clients to provide a more effective answer by asking, “If your brand were a person, how would you describe them?” This will help you get key characteristics that you can build a brand personality around.

8. Who Are Your Top Three Competitors?

Your client is an expert in their market. Within your survey, you can ask them for their insights into their top competitors — both direct and indirect. Have your client tell you where they excel, as well as where competitors outperform them.

This is one of the best client onboarding questions you can ask because it helps you understand your client’s niche. You can build a website that emphasizes your client’s strengths, so they become the clear choice for shoppers.

9. What Challenges Do You Currently Face With Your Website?

The best websites help clients and their end users solve problems. If your client currently has a website, ask them what issues they face. Whether they’re constant bugs or long load times, you’ll be able to brainstorm features that can help them combat the same issues.

If your client doesn’t have an existing website, you can still ask about general challenges in your client onboarding survey. This can still help you identify helpful features you can develop. For example, if your client is struggling with a high volume of phone calls, you can add an appointment scheduler or contact form to their site.

10. What Fears Do You Have About Working With Our Agency?

Want to provide standout service that keeps clients long-term? One of the best client onboarding questions you can ask is about their fears. This can help you identify exactly what relationship pitfalls you can avoid.
This question can also help you differentiate what your client considers a great website versus a poor website.

Create an Effective New Client Questionnaire

Knowing the best client onboarding questions to ask can help you and your clients start on the right foot. Your new client questionnaire helps you show your client your commitment to meeting their needs from day one. You’ll be able to define clear expectations for your relationship. Plus, it’ll help you clarify their vision, needs, and desires, so your client satisfaction can soar.