As packaging & print experts we are often focused on the final bit of the client experience journey, but there are so many important touch points when creating your personal client experience journey.
The first thing you should do is map out your customer journey - from the time they discover your brand / website to the final delivery & beyond. From there you can work out certain touch points as to where you can offer your clients more value.
Think about their pain points, what they may be experiencing and how you can make your process as painless & informative as possible. Most clients feel frustrated or confused, when they aren't being led, and they are unsure what the next steps in the process are.
Often with service based businesses, the client experience is a long journey, so you want to make them feel valued and engaged throughout the process, not only at the beginning and the end.
You have three main aims when designing your client experience
- To offer increased value, and therefore elevate your brand & service
- To under promise and over deliver
- To keep your client informed, and connect with them on an emotional level so that the value you created lasts long after the project completion date.
The five areas for most businesses are the first impression stage, when your potential client is learning about your brand & services. The next stage is the moment they book you, this is the height of the excitement, and where you want to make sure they are fully engaged, and don't feel like they have paid you and then they have to wait months to hear from you again. Next phase is the “during” stage, this is when you are fully in the process of getting things done. Normally your clients may experience a bit of fatigue or overwhelm, so you want to make sure you check in with them and keep them motivated to keep going. As you near the end of your service, their excitement will increase, as they can feel the finish line in sight. This could be when they are waiting to receive their images (if you are a photographer), or waiting to see the final reveal of their design / website. The final stage will be when the service is complete, this is when you may want to bring a tangible element into your client experience, and past this is the finished stage, where you might want to do a little follow up to remain front of mind, to also increase your chances of getting further business & referrals.
Here are five simple steps to increase value in your client experience:
1. Focus on First Impressions
Before your client has even decided to work with you they are already making assumptions about whether you are the right fit for them or not. You want to make sure that you create a connection with them on social media, and carry that connection through to your website. Make sure your branding & brand message is cohesive, and make sure you can keep in touch with them after they have left your website.
Think about ways you can visually break up lengthy information in your instagram stories or posts. Making it more interactive and easy to digest.
Quotes & testimonials that are beautifully presented on your feed are great ways to subtly communicate your ethics and the value you have to offer.
Remember that once they have ended up on your website, you want to encourage them to stay in touch! You can do this by encouraging them to sign up to your email list. Make sure you have something valuable to offer them, whether this be a freebie (you can offer a tease / taster of your full service), or something helpful that will aid them in their current problem (eg, finding the right photographer, coach, florist etc).
TOP TIP! Flodesk is a great way to keep in touch with your potential client, and continue to provide them with value after they have left your website! As a visual person, I really love how easy to use their templates are, and most importantly that you can make your emails visually interesting without having to know how to code or having to purchase expensive templates! You can get a 50% off your subscription if you sign up using this link
2. Automate your client On-Boarding Experience
As a person who would choose printed over digital, personal vs mass communication, this was something I really struggled with until I gave it a try. I used to think that you can't be personal with automation, but it turns out that you can actually increase your client experience with automation. The key is to still make it feel personal, and to focus on connecting with your client, and then you can repeat the process over and over again.
The key to making it personal is to dive deep into your client journey, make sure you have a system & process for every step of their journey while working with you.
When we first set up our CRM system, we took two weeks to identify where people were getting lost, what types of questions they were asking over and over again, and which emails we were sending on a regular basis.
We then mapped out our client journey, and worked out a workflow to make sure they were informed & directed every step of the way.
A system like Dubsado, can really help you improve your client experience, and be like having a cloned version of you all in one. I personally love how we can easily send a questionnaire, so that we know exactly how we can serve our clients, get all their details in our system (so everyone on our team knows who they are & view the progress of their order), and send them gentle reminders when we are still waiting for information from them. It also allows us to send beautifully professional proposals to them, as well as contracts & invoices.
Once your client has booked you, depending on the type of service you offer & your price point you may want to send your clients a welcome pack or welcome guide. This could be digital or physical depending on the type of experience you would like to create. If you offer a high end experience, we would definitely encourage you to include something tangible. You can read how to create the perfect welcome gift, in one of our previous blog posts.
3. Keep Their Spirits Up
You may find that after the initial excitement has worn off there is a dip in excitement. You may want to consider breaking up how you ask for information required for your services, and offer helpful hints & education along the way. For example, instead of asking for website copy or sending a pre-wedding questionnaire, offer them some advice that will help them give you the info you need. You can also build thoughtful emails into your workflow, checking up on them or wishing them luck before the important milestones in your client journey! This will build a relationship & connection with your client.
You also want them to stick to deadlines, so follow up & reminder emails are key!
As you start heading towards the finish line - for example if you are a photographer, your clients excitement will start to increase again. So you want to make sure you keep them involved in your process, perhaps sending them sneak peaks of their special day or shoot / or a digital thank you card for them to send to their friends & family.
4. Wrap it all up
This is the stage where you will be wrapping up the product, or delivering the final product.
Your client Offboarding experience will vary depending on the type of service you offer. For example if you are a photographer - you will be sending your client galleries. We would also encourage you to send something tangible. We have beautiful products to present your work, and encourage your clients to print their images. See our shop.
If you are a coach, you may want to send your client some follow up exercises, or a workbook of what to do when they find themselves falling back into old habits. If you are a brand designer, you may want to send them a reference guide on their brand essentials & brand messaging. The point here is to really get creative. Put yourself in your clients shoes, and see what they would find most helpful.
There are five essential points you want to address when wrapping up your service:
- Make sure you collect all outstanding funds. This is where a system like Dubsado really comes in handy
- Make sure you present your work in a way that truly shows the value of your service.
- Try to create something tangible - whether this be a small gift, or a way to present your work, by giving something tangible you will be increasing your value & service in your clients mind.
- Ask for a testimonial. You may be shy to ask, but this is the best time to ask for a testimonial. In fact we would suggest doing this a week or two before the final delivery, while the client is still engaged in your service. We would also suggest sending them leading questions to get the most from the testimonial. For example, how did they feel before working with you, how did you solve their problem etc).
- Thank them for trusting you, make sure you include ways for them maintaining the work you did for them. Eg, if you are a coach, offer them a 15min emergency call, or a worksheet / guide on how to stay on track. Or if you are a photographer, perhaps you could explain to them the value of printing their images, or creative ways to use them as works of art to be displayed in their home.
5. Don't forget to Follow Up
This is the part that most of us tend to neglect, and where there is the most potential for making a big impact. We would suggest following up with your client 3-12 months after you have finished working with them. It can be something simple as checking in with them, or if you are a photographer sending them a small email or gift wishing them a happy birthday / happy anniversary.
This shows that you truly care about them, and allows you to remain connected long after the service is complete. This will definitely lead to more word of mouth referrals, possibly repeat business depending on the type of service you offer and leave your clients with a lasting impression of your brand.
These are our five simple ways to improve your client experience. These need not be overly complicated or elaborate, just focus on important points within your client journey and make sure you add value wherever you can.
If you would like to do this for your own business, be sure to download our client experience cheat sheet & checklist! HERE.
I have not been paid to promote any of the items mentioned in this blog post, these are tools & systems we use to enhance our own client experience in our business. Some of the links within this post are affiliate links, and I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you choose to purchase any of the mentioned tools.