We all know how important it is to make a stellar first impression when signing a new client. Between your discovery call and onboarding process, you’ve already established that you only offer the best of the best when it comes to elevating your client experience right from the start.
But what about client experience throughout your journey together? White-gloved client experience doesn’t stop after onboarding. It should continue throughout the entire time you’re working together. Ensuring your clients consistently feel valued and supported is essential for client retention and fostering long-term business relationships that may even lead to future referrals (and we all know how amazing referrals are!).
Let’s explore 5 practical ways to continually foster excellent client experience throughout your entire journey together. This way, you can be sure your clients will remain delighted at every stage of their time with you.
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Tip 1: Create Helpful Guides
Guides are the perfect way to get clients acclimated to your systems and how you run your business. However, for some clients, some of the systems you’re using will be brand new to them or have such a big learning curve that they can become overwhelming (we’re looking at you, Dubsado!).
By creating guides, you’re helping your clients lessen the overwhelm that comes with learning new systems. In the process, you’re also handing over a step-by-step document for them to refer back to when they need help understanding your processes.
Here are 4 useful guides that we often send to our clients to help them out:
1. Welcome Guide
We send our client Welcome Guide as part of our onboarding experience. Our Welcome Guide covers everything a client needs to know about working with us. We like to include an introduction to our team, information about how to best communicate with us, holidays, recommended tools/systems, payments and invoicing, terms of service, and an overview of their client portal.
2. Goodbye Guide
On the opposite side of our Welcome Guide, we also send our clients a Goodbye Guide when our journey is coming to an end. A Goodbye Guide covers everything a client needs to know to function without you guiding them, including any assets, documents, galleries, logins, SOPs, and instructions. We also like to think ahead and include an FAQ section for any questions they might have and, of course, a list of our other services and referral program.
3. ClickUp Workspace Guide
If you don’t already know, we’re obsessed with ClickUp. It’s our central hub for all things project-related for ourselves and our clients. But we know ClickUp can be a bit difficult to get the hang of at first. Our ClickUp Workspace Guide covers the basics of ClickUp, from descriptions of different elements to ClickUp’s hierarchy to our best practices. If we set up a client’s ClickUp systems, we also include a secondary document outlining exactly how their unique workspace functions, from their different project folders and dashboards to any custom lists we’ve created.
4. Dubsado Workflow Guide
For our retainer clients, after we’ve set up their workflows in Dubsado, we send them a custom Dubsado Workflow Guide outlining all of the workflows and internal steps the team or client needs to do. It’s a helpful doc that lists what parts of each workflow are automated and which will require action from the client or a team member.
Tip 2: Set Up Processes and Systems
When it comes to ensuring your clients have the best client experience while working together, it’s always helpful to have all of the necessary systems and processes in place to make sure your time together flows without a hitch.
Both for our own business and when we set up systems for our clients, we use a combination of Dubsado (a client relationship system), ClickUp (a project management system), and Zapier (an automation tool that connects everything together). These three main systems create seamless workflows that work together to ease up the backend processes of your business. Not only does having these systems save time and resources, but they also keep all of the little pieces of your business running smoothly, eliminating the possibility of human error while helping you anticipate your client’s needs.
Having all of your systems in place and automations set up will save you time on manual recurring tasks, and your clients will be amazed at the sheer efficiency of your work! With systems and processes in place, you’re able to boost your overall work performance without much extra effort on your end so you can spend more time assisting your clients where they really need it (which sounds like a 5-star client experience to us!).
Tip 3: Keep Clients in the Loop
For retainer clients where you’ve got your hands elbow-deep in their business, chances are you’re communicating on an almost daily basis through regular calls, comments on tasks, or even Slack messages. However, for project-based clients especially, it’s important to keep them in the loop in your progress – not just as a common courtesy but as a part of providing a stellar client experience.
For our project-based clients, we recommend sending mid-project check-ins just to update them on everything you’ve been working on. It’s also helpful to send progress updates and reports at certain levels when you hit milestones within their project. For example, for wedding photography clients, you can send prep emails to make sure you have all of your client’s styling preferences and information correct before an engagement session or send pre-wedding questionnaires and book check-in calls at specific intervals before a wedding in case any changes have been made in their planning.
With our systems setups, our progress updates work towards keeping our clients informed and building up anticipation for their offboarding call. We send detailed updates once an initial systems setup is completed, once all of their assets are created, and then once their final workflows have been built and put in place. After that, we’re ready to book their offboarding call and dive deep into everything we’ve created for them.
Tip 4: Share Your Communication Preferences
This tip goes hand-in-hand with keeping your clients in the loop. Communication is critical to providing your clients with a quality experience that is sure to keep them satisfied. However, effective communication is about more than just what you say. It’s about how, where, and when you say it as well.
As part of our onboarding, we always clearly state how best to communicate with us. Our office hours are listed in our Welcome Guide (including our time zone for our international clients!), and we include any holidays where we won’t be in office. This sets communication expectations right from the start so our clients know precisely when we’ll be around to help them.
However, it’s also important to state where you prefer your primary means of communication to be. Although email is a powerful tool, it’s easy for information to get lost in email threads for daily messages (especially when using the dreaded “reply all” feature). We like to reserve email strictly for official matters such as sending contracts or invoices and confirming meetings.
For daily messages, Slack is our number one tool. Whether your clients get invited into your Slack workspace or you’re a member of theirs, Slack is the best way to send and receive messages on a daily basis. By using direct messages or creating dedicated channels for each client, you have one consolidated place to share links, documents, and images, and you won’t have to worry about important information ending up in a client’s spam folder. Plus, Slack also allows you to set notification preferences, so you’ll only receive notifications during your working hours (boundaries!).
Of course, in case of an emergency, it’s always best to have multiple means of communication. Although we prefer not to use it, our phone number is provided in all of our client contracts as a backup, even though we make it clear in the contract that email and Slack are the way to go.
Tip 5: Respond in a Timely Manner
We all know how frustrating it can be when we’re waiting on an answer from someone, and it feels like it takes 3-7 business days for them to get back to you. Your clients know that feeling too, so don’t leave them hanging! To help assure them that you’re taking care of their business or project in a meaningful way, make sure any questions or concerns they have are responded to in an appropriate timeframe. Now, we’re not saying you need to drop everything you’re doing the moment a client asks a question. No, instead, you need to set a boundary for a response time that works for you (usually 24-48 hours max) and make sure you get to their response within that timeframe as well.
And a good rule of thumb? Don’t ghost your clients! Seriously, don’t do it. 😳
Continually providing a stellar client experience – from your first discovery call all the way up to offboarding – is the key to creating long-lasting client relationships. While making an excellent first impression during onboarding is important, maintaining those same standards throughout the rest of your working relationship keeps clients coming back for more and encourages them to share your name within their work community.
So, as you navigate through journeys with your clients, how are you continuing to provide the white-glove client experience you want to be known for?