Today we’re talking about one of my favorite topics — one that I honestly don’t cover on this podcast enough because I’m seriously obsessed with it. And that is… how to create a great client experience and some mistakes you might be making! I got a heavy dose of teaching on client experience in my course for designers, Booked Out Designer, where there’s an entire module with 12 lessons (and 5 hours of content) on this topic.
By improving your client experience you not only make your client happier, but you make yourself happier as the service provider. You’re less likely to experience burnout and overwhelm, and you’re very likely to be able to charge a lot more for what you do! So, I’m sharing the top 4 mistakes I see designers and other service providers making with their client experience. I’ll also be offering some solutions to these mistakes so you can have a happier YOU and happier clients!
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Let’s dive right in! I would encourage you to listen to the full episode to hear all of the mistake examples and possible solutions!
Client Experience Mistake #1:
Not utilizing templated responses, checklists, and automated systems for the process.
This is probably the biggest mistake of them all!
Once you’ve done something perfect once, save it and reuse it. For example, writing an email that you feel like you’ve written a thousand times (because you have) should become a templated response! So many people are constantly reinventing the wheel with every client and you don’t have to do that!
In addition to that, all the steps you go through to complete a project should not live only in your brain. More than likely, there are a bunch of steps to your process. I know that is true for me. To really create a great client experience, those steps should live in a checklist that you can duplicate for each project.
I know that some people are scared to do this because they think automation will hurt their client experience, but in reality, the opposite is true! You and your client will have a better experience with this project because this ensures that all of the tasks are organized and nothing is forgotten.
So, next time you do a project, document all of the steps! Create a master checklist that you can duplicate for each project. Save that really great email you wrote to your CRM or even just to a document. Save those form questions you ask every client when you onboard them into a form you can reuse.
Inside my Booked Out Designer course, I share my exact steps for how I create a great client experience! I give my students my exact checklist for projects and some of the templated responses I use. I also show you how to set up your own version of that same thing in a way that works for you.
Client experience mistake #2:
Not communicating expectations and boundaries to your clients.
This is a HUGE mistake that you can easily avoid to create the best client experience.
Violated boundaries mean your client is doing something you find to be “boundary-breaking”. Unmet expectations from your client towards you is one of the biggest reasons I see projects go badly.
As the service provider, you need to communicate your boundaries and what you expect from the client as well as what they should expect from you VERY CLEARLY at the beginning of the project. That communication will be reiterated throughout the project in small ways.
Then you have to stick to those boundaries to ensure you create a great client experience!
Here is a great example: Let’s say you don’t really want your clients texting you, but you give them your phone number at the start of the project for emergencies. If YOU text them about some small question while you’re working on their project, then you’ve opened up the texting communication. You have now shown them that you want to communicate that way. Now, the client might start texting you all the time.
I had this happen to me once early on when I texted a client first to ask her a project-related question. Then when she needed to send me her brand photos, she sent them all via text. I never told her not to do that though! She just was doing what made sense to her, right?
She had the photos on her phone, we were already texting, why not send them that way?
I never communicated NOT TO do that with her.
Communication can be a hard one to figure out. You have to establish your boundaries to know what expectations to tell your client.
- Will you text with clients?
- Do they have Voxer access?
- Do you email or only communicate over a project management system?
- Can they call you whenever with questions?
- Is your calendar always open for impromptu meetings?
In addition to these expectations, you need to communicate some other important things to your clients like your turnaround time, when they should expect to get messages from you about the project, and when your office hours or available response times are.
Another important boundary to make sure you cover with your clients to ensure a great experience for both of you is surrounding payments. What happens when they pay late?
In Booked Out Designer, I have an entire video on this where I share my boundaries with you as an example and then I share all of the different ones you need to consider.
If you just want to swipe my language around it, there is a download with my EXACT “Communication” document clients get upon working with me that tells all of this. You can use exactly what I use!
I also have it in my contract, which as a Booked Out Designer student you will have access to as well.
A major factor in creating a great client experience is properly onboarding and offboarding your clients with a system and plan! This falls into its own category but is similar to communicating boundaries.
Thinking the Booked Out Designer course is the next step you need to really take your business and your client experience to the next level? I think you’re right! CLICK HERE to find out more information!
Client experience mistake #3:
Adding in unnecessary, extra work for your client in the name of “client experience”.
Yep, I said it right. Is your mind blown? The truth is that more steps do not equal a better customer experience. Having more calls, forms, meetings, communication, does not equal BETTER for you or your client.
If your client could skip your entire process and just get the result of working with you, they would. Making the process to get that result more complex and detailed doesn’t make it better. If anything, it makes it feel harder and less fun.
In most cases, it ends up being more work for you when you overly involve your clients. This doesn’t actually create a great client experience for them when they have to meet with you a million times.
What I have found works for me is to have the minimal amount of meetings possible with my clients. Every meeting has a purpose and that purpose does not include me quizzing them about their ideal client avatar or asking them questions I could find on Google.
I make communication easy and organized by using a project management system that they are in with me. I also utilize Loom for videos to communicate back and forth. This is faster and easier than long email threads!
I rarely communicate by email with clients once they booked me! I explain all about how that works inside of the Booked Out Designer Course!
The main point here is that you really don’t want to make the mistake of thinking that extra steps will mean a “great experience”. If the step is really important and helpful, then absolutely do it! But skip things that aren’t serving a purpose.
Client experience mistake #4:
Not having a system for billing clients and collecting payments.
Every client should not be on a unique payment plan! Especially not one where you are having to remember to invoice them each time.
Maybe this is your right now. Your system might be writing each client’s payment plan on a sticky note on your desk and you just have to hope that both of you remember to get you paid and on time!
I had a messy system for payments when I first started. In addition to that, the clients were all sending me money via Venmo, which made tracking it all even more painful.
This is not sustainable. You are wasting so much of your time. You need to implement a CRM (Customer relationship management) like Dubsado or Honeybook to bill your clients.
You also need standardized payment plans with automated emails that send to your clients when their payment is due. This way, you set it all up one time and then don’t worry about it anymore and the money just flows in! Your time and energy are much better spent on actually doing the client project, not creating custom invoices.
Want to see exactly what payment plan system I recommend for most projects as a designer? Join Booked Out Designer and see my whole process!
That is it, friends! These are the 4 mistakes you might be making with your client experience and what you should do instead to create a great client experience! If you want to dive into the 5 HOURS of training on this exact topic of client experience, Booked Out Designer might be your next step! You always have the Facebook community and coaching calls with me where you can ask me specific questions about YOUR client experience to get help and feedback as well.
July 6, 2021
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