Client experience is a phrase that we hear a lot in the small business world but what does it actually mean? And why is it so important? These are the topics that I’ll be covering in today’s post.
What is a client experience?
Your client experience begins as soon someone has that initial first impression of you. It begins before they are even clients.
A client experience is how you make both potential clients and booked clients feel. It’s the experience you give them from the moment they land on your website or come across you on Instagram to the initial enquiry to working with you to long after the project has finished.
Steps to think about when creating a client experience
Initial touch points / website
Think about how you want your ideal clients to feel and use this when setting the tone and messaging via your website and social media channels. You only have a matter of seconds to grab someone’s attention so make it count.
When it comes to your website, think about the journey that you want your ideal client to take and design your website to accommodate this. When writing your copy, think about how you want to make them feel.
Does your presence on social media reflect your brand? Your brand should be consistent across the board so ensure your social media presence fits with this.
Yay! Your ideal client has resonated with your website and they want to get in touch. First think about how you want them to contact you. Are you happy for them to send you an email or would you prefer they filled in your contact form? What questions would you like answered in the initial enquiry?
Always get back to enquiries within the time period specified. After all, if you state a 24-hour response and it takes three days, it’s probably going to be enough to put your potential client off.
If you find yourself typing the same emails over and over again, use a template that you can customise to each enquiry. This way you can ensure each client receives the same treatment and you don’t miss anything out.
Congratulations, you’ve impressed at the enquiry stage and your client would like to book your services. You want to make this part as easy for your client as possible so think about ways in which you can do this.
If you are still sending paper contracts through the post then stop right now! Digital signatures are the way forwards. Use a system such as HelloSign or Adobe Sign. You can even use a complete project management system that will send everything from your estimate to your contract to your invoice.
The key here is to keep things moving quickly whilst keeping your client informed at each stage of the process.
After they’ve booked
They’ve signed on the dotted line and paid their deposit. Depending on what service you offer, there might now be a wait between booking and the project starting. You want to make sure your client feels loved during this period also.
Why not send a little welcome gift to show that you appreciate their business. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just thoughtful.
In addition to this, if you are a wedding photographer or wedding planner then why not send some helpful tips to guide your couple through the planning process. You can set this up via an automated email campaign.
If you are a branding designer then this is the perfect time to send your clients some homework to complete whilst they are waiting for the project to start.
During the project
Whilst you go through the project with your client, ensure you keep them informed of what’s happening and when they can expect to receive things. Stick to deadlines and if possible, exceed them. Again, you want to make this as easy and enjoyable for the couple.
After project has finished
Think about how you can extend the client experience after you have finished working with your clients. How can you keep in touch with them and make them feel like your relationship didn’t just end as soon as the final invoice was paid.
Perhaps you are a wedding photographer or wedding planner, a good way to keep in your clients minds after the wedding is to follow them on social media, keep up to date with their news. Send them a card for their first anniversary or for the birth of their first child. Show you care.
If you are a branding designer like me, you might want to send them monthly emails with advice that helps them grow their business. Check in with them after three or six months and see how they are getting on. Find out if their new branding has helped meet their goals.
It’s not all about client gifts
I hope you can see from the above that creating an unforgettable client experience isn’t all about gifting. Yes it’s nice to spoil your clients with a little gift from time to time but if you aren’t at the stage where you can afford to do this, then there are other ways to ensure an unforgettable client experience.
How to get started with creating your client experience
This all might seem like a lot of work to do however it doesn’t need to be. Don’t feel like you need to do it all at once. Break it down into manageable chunks, small steps will make a huge difference.
Write down your process
The best way to get started with creating an unforgettable client experience is to write down your process from start to finish. This will help you map everything out and from this you can brainstorm how you are going to enhance your client experience at each step.
As you go through your process, you’ll probably realise that there are a lot of emails that you are sending that are exactly the same. For example, your initial enquiry response, your welcome email, your closing project email. If this is the case then use templates that you can copy and customise for each reply so you are still providing that personal touch. If you are using Gmail then use their canned responses feature.
Automation is your friend here. Go through your process and work out which parts you can automate to make your life easier and to speed up the process. For example, you may be able to set up a client in your project management system, enter a few key details, push a button and then it sends them the contract and invoice without you having to do these manually.
If you are looking to send a series of emails, set these up in your email campaign software, add your client and away you go.
So there you have it! As you will see there are so many ways to enhance your client experience and give clients reason to sing your praises to their friends and family.
P.S. Congratulations if you made it to the end of this post, it’s a long one!
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Fleurir Creative is a brand design and marketing strategy studio for online service-based businesses. I work with creatives, coaches and consultants to define their brand, increase their visibility and grow their business online. My signature offering, The Flourish Experience, is a three-month branding and marketing experience for women in business who are ready to grow a successful brand.
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