Can I let you in on a little secret? I book the majority of my clients through word of mouth and referrals. I have literally built my business all thanks to the praise my current clients give me, and I can attribute that to client experience. Over the years, I’ve recognized that it starts at the beginning by establishing trust with potential clients through my website and words, transitions into providing a quality experience, and ends by signing off on a good note that leaves clients excited to sing your praise!
Client experience is a continually evolving process in business. It’s always changing, because it always matters. And as your target client/audience shifts with time, so will the experience you need to provide. However, that doesn’t mean that creating an exceptional client experience needs to be complicated. To simplify what client experience is, it’s establishing trust with potential clients from your first interaction all the way through to the end of your working relationship.
Take wedding photographers for example. Most bridal clients likely have little to no experience with wedding photography. They simply do not know what to expect at any point throughout the process. Aside from that, they may be overwhelmed by wedding planning in general and would appreciate a little hand holding through the photography journey. A photographer however, has a very valuable inside look into simplifying the planning process and guiding clients through a fun and flawless photography experience.
For me, on-boarding education starts with the initial consult. As a Photo Editor, I share a similar experience of booking clients who have little insight into what outsourcing their editing actually looks like. I start communication early on by offering a free consultation, where I can guide clients through the process of outsourcing, but also educate them on the value I specifically provide in my business. From there, I’ve learned to address the frequently asked questions before they’re asked. This allows my clients to feel confident in the beginning instead of overwhelmed. Create an on-boarding system that educates and provides guidance, without complicating the next step. Simple is best here.
VALUE BASED SERVICE
Speaking about providing value, I used to think that creating an exceptional client experience simply meant tacking on additional, free tasks to my current paid services in order to make my client happy. I know now, that client experience is so much more than attempting to go “above and beyond” at the risk of becoming burnt out. Your client deserves an exceptional service and experience, but you also deserve to be compensated for your time and efforts.
So you may be thinking, what does this have to do with client experience? The reality is that creating a value based system protects your time, your profits, and even your relationships with clients. In order to provide a value based service, you first need to know what your potential clients well…value. You can find this out by simply talking with your clients, requesting surveys, and reviewing any client testimonials or feedback you receive. When clients are receiving exactly what they hoped for or maybe even didn’t know they needed, they’re going to stay with you, return to use your services again, or continually sing your praise. They trust that you provide a value and they’re willing to pay the asking price.
Running a service based business can be challenging, but clients do not exist to intentionally break boundaries. If you feel this way in your business, it’s most likely due to two things: 1. They simply weren’t aware of the boundaries you have in place 2. Your business lacks the necessary education to answer a question before it’s asked. If you want to learn more on boundaries, you can read about the healthy boundaries I place in my business. To build on that, if you feel overwhelmed by your clients, it’s possible your clients are underwhelmed by the experience you’re providing.
In order to create quality client communication, take it one step further than your inbox. What can you do to proactively educate and serve your clients before they send you that email? In the beginning, my client communication starts with the client consult and follow up email, and then transitions into email templates and on-boarding education. Get creative with ways that you can effectively communicate with your clients that doesn’t take more time out of your day. This can happen through email signatures, auto email responders, email templates, welcome guides, videos and more!
A strong foundation is the key to a successful client experience. Start by reviewing frequently asked questions from leads and current clients. What problem can you solve before it becomes a problem? And how can you effectively communicate that to your client? Take a deep look at the service you’re providing and identify what it is about your service that goes above and beyond. By focusing on quality not quantity and communicating value to your clients, you’ll exceed their expectations every time.