Spring Clean Your Brand Part 3: 5 Ways to Create an Extraordinary Client Experience

April 18, 2018

 

Having such an unforgettable client experience that people are running for the nearest megaphone to shout your praises from the rooftops sounds pretty cool, right? But figuring out how to get there can take a lot of time, trial and error and probably more than a few hiccups {don’t be too hard on yourself here: we have the break our own systems to learn how to grow!}. Here at Ink & Vellum, we view every person in our tribe as a precious sparkling gem and we’re always looking for ways to make entrepreneurial life a little easier on you. In the name of that mission, this week’s edition of Spring Clean Your Brand focuses on a few ways you can create wildly loyal fans and ridiculous referral machines out of your client base. Not to mention feeling like a complete ROCKSTAR service provider and decreasing your workload.

{Can anyone say win-freaking-win?}

 

 

1) Create a Client Dashboard

There are several project management programs out there to explore but our personal favorite is Asana...1) because it’s simple to use with minimal training and 2) because it’s free {nobody’s mad}. In Asana, you can create custom project portals and invite your clients to collaborate so they can track exactly where the project’s at, what’s coming up next and what “to-do”s and due dates they should have on their radar while working with you. We also use this portal to drop and house ALL project documents and need-to-knows (such as contracts, payment policy, “inspirational” design files, head shots, design mockups, etc) and with the ability to add comments to any item in the dashboard, keeping track of communication and feedback in one central place is a piece of cake. {Oh and did we mention clients can respond to any Asana notification directly from their inbox? Talk about easy peasy!}

 

 

2) Build a Welcome Packet

If you’ve ever had that nagging guilt that keeps you up at night when the expectation wires get crossed with a client or wanted to smash your face through a wall wondering WHY you said yes to this person who so clearly isn’t willing to participate in the process, a welcome packet may be just the secret weapon you need. This client experience tool is a double whammy of awesomeness. First, it allows your client the opportunity to fully understand what it’s like working with you before you do a single thing for them {effectively weeding out the people who aren’t willing to play along} and it allows you to get ahead of common points of confusion or contention and resolve them before they have the chance to create hiccups. Your welcome packet should include things like:

 

  • A recap of the services you’ve agreed upon

  • A copy of your contract

  • What the client can expect from your working relationship {this is your chance to set boundaries on when they can and can’t call you, realistic timeline expectations, etc}.

  • Training on how to use any project tools during your work together {such as a client dashboard like Asana}.

  • A breakdown of the project phases and what’s involved in each

  • FAQ sheets

  • Post-project processes

  • And anything else the client may need to know to be fully educated on what the next days, weeks or months of their experience with you will look like. 

 

 

3) Coach Without Crossing the Line

It can be hard to not push back when you see a client doing or requesting something you feel may harm their end goals, and truth be told, you simply wouldn’t be doing your job if you weren't advising them on the best path to see the results they want. However, to create positive client experiences, it's important to know when to coach and when to acquiesce. In essence, you should be acting as a counsel without forcing your methods on clients. When you find yourself needing to have a “real talk” conversation with a client, using specific language that helps them frame your response in a positive light and further reinforces your expert status can make all the difference between professional and pushy. To use our service as an example, that language might look something like:

 

“Hey Suzie Q, I hear you on {insert topic at hand}. And rest assured that I’m committed to providing you with the {insert marketing product} of your wildest dreams. Because I know you hired me for a reason and I want you to get the most out of your {insert marketing product}, I’d love the opportunity to offer my professional advice based on marketing best practices and what market research shows will create the highest ROI for your project: {insert advice}.”

 

{As a note: if your service is based on a more personal process, such as a fitness coach, and pointing to concrete numbers and facts isn't possible, bring the client back to their goals and motivators here: “Because I know you hired me for a reason and I know how important it is to you to run that 5k in September...”}.

 

If you still get push back from the client after this approach, you have one of two options: A) Decide that client isn't the best fit for you and refer them elsewhere or B) Acquiesce and change course. Continuing to push at this point will likely cause more harm than good. 

 

 

4) Have a "Final Steps" & "Follow Up" Plan

While delivering an amazing product or result quickly is a fantastic thing, you don’t want your clients to feel like you’re shoving them out the door once the goal is achieved. Taking time to make sure your client process is solid in the final steps and after the transaction is complete is a surefire way to create raving fans: after all, everyone likes to feel like they’re your only priority. This means evaluating questions, issues or concerns your client might have as the process is coming to a close {i.e. for us, that means providing access to and training on the materials we create so clients are able to self-edit moving forward} as well as understanding how you may be able to alleviate hiccups down the road for the client. This can be as simple as checking in with your client a month or so down the road and asking: “Hey, how’s it going? Is there anything you have questions on or anything I can help you understand?”. If you have a client process that’s extended over a long period of time, such as a life coach, this follow up will be simple, but for many one-and-done service providers, this step often gets overlooked and will go a long way in making you five star material in your client’s mind. 

 

 

5) Champion Your Clients

This is one of our personal favorites for obvious reasons. Because, how fun is it to brag about your clients and how awesome they are? Mega fun. We suggest you find any way possible to publicly uplift the amazing people who support your business and help you live a life by design. As a business to business marketer, Ink & Vellum has plenty of opportunities to not only shine the spotlight on our stellar clients but to provide them with organically-driven, free advertising for their business. We most often do this through the power of social media by promoting our client’s newly-launched websites or gushing about the amazing vision they bought to the table to create an incredible marketing piece. There are so many ways to champion your clients to your social network, on your email list or even at networking events that not only make them feel incredible and more excited about the process but serve as a brilliantly-genuine plug for both you and your client {we’re all about the win-wins today}. 

 

READ THE REST OF THE SERIES:

 

Part 1: 5 Ways to Freshen Your Website.

 

Part 2: How to Overhaul Your Marketing Campaigns in 5 Simple Steps.

 

Part 4: 5 Steps to Building a Brand Story That Sells

 

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