New Client Questionnaires: Solving the Onboarding Mystery

Case closed

New client questionnaires

You made it through the kick-off period; your project proposal, the quote, and the briefing process. Now you can transition into client onboarding, namely new client questionnaires!

Getting to know your customer and their professional background can be a difficult mystery to solve, but hold the suspense! This week we are giving all the clues to write a killer new client questionnaire.

What are new client questionnaires?

A new client questionnaire, sometimes referred to as just NCQ, is a document to better get to know your customer, their field, and their design envisions. Depending on your working style or project needs, new client questionnaires can be either an extensive and formal document (>30 questions) or it can be short and casual (<30 questions).

Creatives in all disciplines, from a graphic artist to an interior designer, utilize new client questionnaires. That means they are also in charge of creating a document to send over to clients, based on the project type. But before we get into the questions specifically, let’s take a look at three reasons why you should write a new client questionnaire.

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1. Acts as an official welcome

Creating a thoughtful and tailored new client questionnaire is key to warmly welcoming your customer to the team. If you really want to make a good impression, consider adding a personalized note or message to your new client questionnaire to let your client know you’re excited to work with them. This seemingly small, but thoughtful act, illustrates your customer service skills and your overall assiduousness.

2. Helps to develop a better client-designer relationship

In our previous blogs, we’ve talked about the importance of developing a strong designer-client relationship. But just to recap, the overarching goal of your business is to create and keep customers. In order to achieve this, your client needs to feel appreciated. In fact, studies from have shown that 70% of customer purchases are based on how valued they feel. That’s why getting to know your customer, their company, and their industry is key.

By getting to know your customer through a new client questionnaire, you develop a sense of trust and familiarity, leading to a healthy and long-lasting relationship.

3. Provides vital project information

Have you ever committed to a project just to find out that it’s not right for you? Creating new customer survey questions eliminates this problem from the beginning. Since your questionnaire comes equipped with questions based on your intended audience, product positioning, marketing strategies (and more!), you can easily weed out projects that might not align with your business or design intentions.

Understanding your client and their design needs before you start working saves you time, money, and resources!

35 questions to ask in your questionnaire

Okay okay, the word “interrogation” is a little drastic, but now it’s time to ask your new clients all the important questions.

We have compiled a list of questions that you can include in your new client questionnaire. Broken down into 8 sections, feel free to pick and choose the questions that fit your project best.

1. General information

  • What is your company/organization/business name?
  • What are your primary contact details - includes phone number, email, address
  • Who will be the decision maker or head of this project?
  • What is your company background?
  • What is your mission statement?
  • What are your company values?

2. Project Description

  • What is the project type?
  • Please describe the project and the content required in this project
  • What stage are you at in this project? Or are you starting from scratch?

3. Your Service or Product

  • What service or product do you sell?
  • What is the average price point for your product or service?
  • How is your product or service used?
  • How do you currently sell your product or service? (online, in stores, at markets)
  • How do you wish to sell your product or service in the future?

4. Your Business

  • Does your business name have a background story?
  • What is your company history?
  • Is there anything particularly special about your company?
  • What are the trends that impact your industry now?
  • What are your business goals?
    • In 1 year:
    • In 5 years:
    • In 10 years:

5. Target Market

  • What is your current marketing strategy? (mass market vs. specific target)
  • What is your target market? (could include gender, age, geographic, etc.)
  • What is your buyer persona?

6. Buyers

  • Who currently uses your product or service?
  • Who else could use your product or service, but currently aren’t?
  • What pain does your product pinpoint?

7. Current Marketing Strategy

  • Do you have examples of your marketing materials?
  • What colors best describe your business?
  • What types and fonts do you utilize?
  • What is the feeling you want your customer to have when they experience your brand? (humorous, conservative, artsy, young, cultured, elegant, minimal, etc.)
  • What is your vision for marketing your product?
  • Whose marketing examples do you notice or admire? What about dislike?

8. Competition

  • Who is your primary competition?
  • How do you stand out from your competition?
  • How would you like to stand out?
  • What characteristics do you like or dislike about your competitors?

No matter the type of new client questionnaire you create, whether it’s long or short, formal or informal, we hope that these questions can guide your questionnaire process. With that said, here are some common mistakes to watch out for!

How NOT to write a new client questionnaire

In our blog “How to Write a Customer Satisfaction Survey,” we talked all about the science behind question formation. It turns out that asking straightforward and simple questions is harder than it seems. While that article goes more in-depth, the same ideas can be applied to new customer survey questions. Here’s the gist.

1. Confusing questions

Long and confusing questions discourage your customer from participating in your questionnaire. If the client has to guess what you’re asking or re-read your question multiple times, then you should consider rephrasing your query. Focus on formulating questions that are easy to comprehend. Your client will thank you for it!

With question creation also comes language. You are likely much more knowledgeable in the field of design than your client, that’s why they’re working with you! In order to get complete and helpful answers, make sure you stay away from technical or software jargon. Or if you must include it, add a short comment on the side explaining what you mean.

2. Unwelcoming and disorganized

As we said earlier, your new client questionnaire is designed to welcome your client to the team. You want to show them that you are excited to work with them and on their project. New client questionnaires that are disorganized and unwelcoming don’t always illustrate your true excitement for the project. Consider adding some personal touches to further develop that positive designer-client relationship.

3. Too Long

Make sure you make your new client questionnaire a manageable length. It’s easy to make a list of every question that comes to mind, but the truth is, your customer probably doesn’t want to spend hours filling out your questionnaire.

If you do have a really long new client questionnaire, consider filling out the sections you know from previous documents, like in the project proposal or the create brief. You could also see what they already have posted on their website. That way you have all the information in one place, but your client doesn’t carry the full workload.

Use Collato to create new client questionnaires

Collato aims to make collaboration between creatives and externals seamless and joyful. Whether you’re a photographer, a graphic designer, or an architect, we provide the tools to help you through every creative project.

Let’s check out just three ways you can use Collato to create your new client questionnaire (or any other project you wish!).

1. Question types

No matter the question, make your new client questionnaire fun and engaging. Using cards, you can format your questions in multiple ways, including with features like adjustable sliders, single-select, and multi-select, to construct questions that are 100% tailored to your client and project.

  • Text Box - Structure your questions with a formatted text. This gives your client the opportunity to write out anything they’d like, thoughts, concerns, ideas, opinions, etc. It’s a great way to get your client to go into detail about something.
  • Adjustable Sliders - Ask questions based on a rating scale to find out subjective data about your customer. These types of questions are especially helpful when digging deeper into your target audiences!
  • Multiple Choice - Give your client a list of options to choose from. This is a question made for a quick and easy response. Choose between a single select, where your client can only give one reply, or a multi-select, where your client can choose as many options as they wish!

2. Collaboration

Work with your client and coworkers straight on your new client questionnaire. If your client has any further questions or areas they would like to elaborate on, they can add a comment right on the document. They can even add emojis, upload PDFs, mention people, or add a video message. Collaboration has never been easier.


3. Easy sharing

The best part about creating your new client questionnaire on Collato is that you can easily send it to your client via URL-link, and even better, they don’t need an account to access the document. No more confusion around account details, logins, and passwords.

But don’t worry, even though it’s easy to share your new client questionnaire, we make sure your project stays safe. In addition to EU data security protection, Germany has further laws that make data even more secure. Since Collato is based here in Berlin, we comply with all data security standards to protect your most important information. All shared projects are sent with a double-verification code, so you can safely share your project with anyone.

Case closed

You’ve collected all the clues to solve the mystery around new client questionnaires. Given the information you’ve read in this blog, you can create your own new customer survey questions to welcome them on board.

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From California, Lillie is passionate about personal development and the Future of Work. She enjoys writing about New Work concepts, leadership solutions, and productivity hacks, all with a sprinkle of quirky humor.