October 13, 2017
Creating an amazing client experience is important whether you’re anevent planner in Atlanta, an interior designer in Los Angeles, or a virtual life coach who works nationwide. No matter what, your client experience is what sets you apart from others in your location and industry, so it’s important to be consistent and always provide the highest quality of experience for your clients.
But how do you do this? What if you don’t even know what a client experience should look like? We have answers to your questions below.
If you’re running a reputable business in this century, your clients are going to expect you to have a website for your business. The one thing that’s possibly worse than not having any website? Having a terribleone.
Your website needs to do two basic things:
One thing that will ruin your customer’s experience before they even get to work with you is your failure to have clear-cut policies in place about your services. Make your cancellation policy, inclement weather policy, no-show policy, and any other policy obvious and easy to access. These are essential to avoid hurt feelings and frustration (on both ends) later in the relationship.
But having policies is only half the battle. Your clients must be aware of your policies and know that you’ve shared them. The best way to do this is to integrate them into your client contract. That way, your client knows right from the get-go what to expect when working with you.
What will your clients remember about their experience with you? What will they tell their friends and business BFFs when they need a copywriter, graphic designer, commercial photographer, or other service professional? Will they recommend you first? Give you a raving review and mention something crazy above-and-beyond that you did for them?
Spend some time crafting the experience that you want clients to have. If you don’t know where to start, think about the experienceyouwish you had with the last service professional you hired. Get out there and see what other people in your industry are doing well and what they are doing poorly. Do something similar, but do it better by adding your unique touch.
Speaking of signature elements, what will be your signature offering? What is the one service clients will keep coming back for each week, month or year?
You don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get started. Create one offer and see what your clients like about it, and what they don’t. Keep improving your clients’ experience by getting feedback from them when your contract is up or your project is finished. Or send periodic surveys through your email newsletter to keep that feedback rolling in.
Collaboration over competition! There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition now and then, but we think we’d all accomplish a lot more if we worked together. There are certainly enough clients to go around for everyone who truly wants them in your industry, and new clients are being created every day by innovative providers in all of our fields.
Just think back to 1995 for the photography industry. Had you ever heard of boudoir photography? Senior portraits? Even engagement sessions? We bet not!
All of these are relatively new additions to the photography industry and all of these categories have created a deluge of new clients for all photographers—not just the few in the beginning who thought outside the box.
Every once in a while, take a step back from your business and look at it through the lens of the client. Where are your shortcomings? Are you always pushing back scheduled meetings to later times? Or taking days, or even weeks, to respond to emails? Are you always consistently 10 minutes early or 10 minutes late?
Only you can answer these questions if you’re honest with yourself. Spend 30 minutes thinking about your biz from your client’s POV. We guarantee you’ll come up with at least a few things you can cut out of your business or improve for your clients.
Zappos is a favorite case study of business schools for a good reason: they have amazingcustomer service. And they go above and beyond whendelighting their customers.
For example, they famously screwed up their price listings on sister website 6pm.com, costing the company over $1.6 million. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh made the unconventional decision to honor all those prices, and shipped all orders as scheduled — even the $2,000+ goods that had been purchased for just $49.
We’re not advocating you throw money away on clients; there are lots of great ways to surprise and delight! Include handwritten thank you notes in your orders. Throw in extra swag or an exclusive discount. Whatever you do doesn’t have to cost a lot of time or money.
No, don’t “use your friends” in a mean way! We mean get creative with friends who are willing to market your biz or test drive some of your products. Give them a private coaching session for free. Shoot a family photo session. Design a business logo for them. What do they have to say about working with you? What do you do well and what can you do better?
You can also use your friends to find out what their experience is on your website. Give them some simple tasks to do, like buy a product or schedule a call with you, and see how long and complicated it is for them to do so. Ask them what they like and don’t like about their website and try to make improvements from there.
As the owner and founder of your business, you are alwaysthe face of your company, whether it’s online or offline. Remember that, and be consistent in how you treat others.
If you teach a nice serene yoga class and a client runs into you in the grocery store, where you’re rude and dismissive, how do you think they will feel the next time they come to your class? Will they even come back?
It’s unlikely, and it’s why being consistent is so essential. The key is not to mold who you are to fit your business persona. The key is to fit your business persona to fityou.
Look, mistakes happen. No one is perfect! Mistakes aren’t a bad thing, they’re just something we have to understand and accept.
If you make a mistake with a client, apologize and own your mistake. Don’t blame your lateness on traffic, forgetting an important document on your printer, the bad quality of your work on your dog — you get the idea.
It is much more professional to say you’re sorry and take full ownership that you messed up. And hey, you’re human! Any decent client of yours will remember that. They’ll make mistakes, too. (If they don’t forgive you and hold it over your head, though…it may be time to let that client go.)
What did you think about these top ten tips? Need more advice on offering an unforgettable and incredible client experience? We’ve got you covered with our Ideal Customer Experience Checklist!
In it, we’ll walk you through each step it takes to create the perfect client experience, whether you’re a new biz owner or have a few years under your belt. Get yours today!