Streamlining your client intake process: Best practices for digital agencies
Agency Management

Streamlining your Client Intake Process: Best Practices for Digital Agencies

Hutch Morzaria
Hutch Morzaria

While gaining new clients is essential for any business looking to grow, having them sign the dotted line is only the start of their journey. Onboarding them into your business so that they have the right experience with all of your teams is a critical next step. Your overall client intake process needs to be efficient and effective if you want to give them the first impression you’re looking for.

In this post, we'll explore how to create an effective intake form—the first step in the client intake process—and highlight best practices for building a mutually beneficial relationship that endures over time.

What to include in a client intake form

At this stage, you're looking to gather essential information using an intake form to help you better understand and serve your client’s needs. A standard form helps to keep things consistent across clients, which adds that professional touch to your business.

  1. Contact information: This is the basic information you will need from your clients, such as their name, phone number, email address, and mailing address.
  2. Service or project details: Itemize what you’re delivering so there is no confusion from either party. If your client needs to provide something, ensure that it is clearly defined. Similarly, clearly explain what you will provide. Set clear timelines and deadlines for each phase of the project to ensure that both parties are aware of the expected timeline and can plan accordingly.
  3. Client needs: It's important to understand your client's needs to provide them with the best possible service. Here, you’d want to understand what the client wants to accomplish. What are the challenges that they are looking to address, and how can you help them achieve their goals? 
  4. Competitors: This information will enhance your initial understanding of an industry you may not have previously worked with. It will also enable you to provide tailored services to your clients, helping them gain an edge over their competitors.
  5. Preferences: How do they want to be contacted, and in what manner? In-person, by phone or email? What frequency are they looking for? Clearly define the frequency of updates you will provide and how your client can contact you if they have any questions or concerns during the project.
  6. Other questions: Before closing the intake form, include a few open-ended questions inviting your clients to share any additional information they consider important for the collaboration but did not have the opportunity to provide earlier.

Client intake process best practices

Businesses often want to have all of the information on a client right out of the gate, which leads to lengthy forms, unclear instructions, and inefficient processes. These are problems that can lead to client frustration and lost business opportunities. So, what should you be thinking about to make it simple and easy for your clients?

Streamlining intake forms for ease and efficiency

  • Personalizing the client experience: A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work for client intake. Each client has their own needs and wants, and by personalizing your communication and the intake experience, you can make them feel valued and understood. However, personalization must still incorporate all the information you need to fully onboard your new client.
  • Simplifying intake forms: A client intake form should be clear and concise. Avoid overwhelming clients with unnecessary fields and industry jargon. Instead, use a client intake form template as a starting point. Tailor it to gather only the essential information. This respects the client’s time. It also ensures that you get the information you need without the clutter. To make things even easier for your clients, consider getting your client success or onboarding teams to call your clients. Not only is this more personal, but it is significantly faster and more thorough as you can ask clarifying questions throughout the call so that you get the best picture possible.

Automating the client intake process

As businesses expand, manual intake processes can become inefficient. Automating these processes enhances operational efficiency and accuracy, streamlining data collection and reducing human error.

Integrating technology, such as automation tools and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, simplifies routine tasks and improves client and team experiences. These tools manage appointments, send reminders, and pre-fill intake forms with existing information from systems like billing or finance, allowing teams to focus on providing exceptional service.

Shifting to digital forms further streamlines the intake process. Digital forms eliminate the need for paper, reducing errors and saving time by directly updating the client database. They also enable the application of workflow rules to enhance efficiency.

By adopting automation, businesses can gain a competitive edge, achieving time savings, increased accuracy, and overall productivity enhancement, facilitating sustained growth and success.

Reducing Wait Times and Delays

Lengthy wait times can sour the client’s first impression. Ensure your intake process is quick and responsive. Efficient scheduling and prompt responses show respect for the client’s time. They also demonstrate the company's commitment to excellent service.

Maintaining a Balance: Thoroughness vs. Speed

While it’s important to be efficient, it’s equally crucial to be thorough. Focus on acquiring information that serves dual purposes—immediate engagement and laying the groundwork for future interactions. This approach ensures each question on your intake form is intentional, serving both present needs and strategic objectives. It will also eliminate misunderstandings in your collaboration with customers.

Training your team

It's more than just clients who need to understand your intake process. Remember your own internal teams. They must be efficient, welcoming, and focused on the client’s needs. Regular training ensures that your team understands the importance of the intake process. It equips them with the skills to execute it flawlessly and allows them to suggest changes based on real-world operations. Monitoring performance and offering feedback are essential, ensuring continuous improvement.

Gathering Client Feedback for Continuous Improvement

Client feedback is a goldmine of information. It helps you understand what’s working and what’s not in your intake process. Implementing a systematic approach to collecting and analyzing feedback ensures that your intake process continually evolves. This way, it meets the needs of your clients.


Your client intake process should mirror your business's core values and focus on the overall experience of your clients. By adopting a client-centered approach, businesses can tailor the intake experience to meet individual needs, making clients feel valued and understood right from the start.

Reflect on the journey your clients take. It starts the moment they decide to engage with your services. Is it a path lined with clarity, swiftness, and a personal touch? Or is it a course cluttered with unnecessary hurdles? The essence of a successful intake process lies in its ability to be both thorough and expedient, leveraging technology to eliminate redundancies while ensuring no critical detail is overlooked.

If you build your intake process with the client at its heart, you’ll find the success you need and help build relationships that are sustainable, valuable, and long-lasting.

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