Understanding your client experience doesn’t start when you sign a client. The overall process of attracting leads through to offboarding a satisfied client all is included under the umbrella of customer experience.
This is such a huge chunk of our time as online business owners, and understandably you expend a truckload of energy maintaining it so you can keep the lights on. But we are all human, and having an experience that requires you to constantly be ON in your business is simply not sustainable. If you want to provide the best quality experience to your clients while also supporting yourself and your capacity, it can only be done with pre-planning.
I’m breaking it all down in this article!
Benefits of a Client Experience
What is a Client Experience?
Tips to Creating Your Luxury Client Experience
How to Make Space for Yourself Inside the Client Experience
Benefits of a Client Experience for Service Providers and Coaches:
I think we can all agree that we want to give the best possible experience from the moment someone hears about us and checks out our page. A well-thought-out client experience can not only make a client happy, but it can also help boost your reputation and provide you with referrals, incredible testimonials, and sustainable profits for years to come.
WHAT IS THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE?
What do you think of when you hear “Client Experience”?
When most business owners hear ‘client experience’ they think of a couple of things:
Rolling out the red carpet: Gifts in the mail, post-its on walls, etc.
Incredible customer service: supporting above and beyond when the client needs it
When I think of client experience, I think of the time I went to a restaurant in Bali. We were walking along the beach shops trying to find a place to eat, and this particular place caused us to stop.
It was a nice-looking restaurant. It had a laid-back vibe and was nestled at the end of a very dark road. And the menu had a variety of foods to choose from.
But it was because the hostess, when we asked what she would recommend, first asked us our preferences, then gave us recommendations that we went in.
From the moment we passed by, to the moment we were seated near fans because I was sweating buckets, to the waitress getting to know us, to the owner stopping by and buying us dessert, it was an EXEMPLARY experience from start to finish.
It wasn’t just about the service, it wasn’t just about the gift, it was the overall journey of how the staff made it a point to center US at the experience that made us like the product even more. I still haven’t found a pizza I liked more than at Soul on the Beach.
We can create a similar experience within our own online businesses too!
The official definition of customer experience (CX) is: an all encompassing journey a person takes with your brand from discovery to offboarding and beyond.
I consider there to be 5 key areas in our day to day business operations that are considered part of the client experience (service-based or otherwise):
Act of attracting leads. The name of the game here is attention and connecting with a narrative to challenge or a problem to acknowledge. This is typically done through the creation and distribution of content. This can be done in a multitude of ways, so knowing which lead generation practices work best for you and your audience is key.
After you attract the leads you gotta nurture! How else are they going to know that YOU are the right fit to support them? This can be through social media marketing or, my personal favorite, moving people to an email list of the private communities so there are fewer distractions.
This is where you validate potential clients to become clients! This can be manually through a DM, an application process, or a sales call. There are all multiple ways to go about this.
This is the meat of the experience: giving the people what they purchased! Now it’s time to deliver. From the onboarding process to the work you do inside of your service, this is how you satisfy the need your client has.
The client has finished with you, and you are getting ready to offboard them. Here is where you have the options to grab a testimonial, induct them into a referral program, OR, if needed, upsell to additional support.
TIPS TO CREATING YOUR LUXURY CLIENT EXPERIENCE
Set Expectations Early
We want to outline early on in the client experience what customers can expect when they are in your world; from the moment they discover you, to the moment they sign on. This way they can be sure they are getting the right type of support. As service providers, it’s natural for us to want to exceed expectations, but the last thing we want to do is have clients expect more than we are contractually promising. Or worse, we don’t meet the expectation since we didn’t have any for ourselves! While most of these expectations can be laid out in the contract, I think it’s important to lay these out in your marketing, your sales copy, in your lead nurturing conversations, all the way up to your onboarding process.
On the flip side, also outlining what you are expecting from the client clears up any potential misconceptions. I have a clause in my welcome packet that clients don’t need to show up on camera, and are always welcome to reschedule if they need a mental health break. Letting them know you are creating intentional space can set a major tone for your work together.
We want to ensure that we are leaving nothing for assumption when we are working with our clients, because when we leave things up for debate that’s when misconceptions occur (like I mentioned above). If you aren’t telling people when they can expect to hear back from you, if you aren’t telling people you’re going on vacation, if you’re not telling people that you are not available at certain times, they are going to be left wondering what they paid for?
No one likes when they are wandering around a store and there is no one around to help them (At least, I don’t like when that happens). We can negate this by making sure we are communicating often with our clients, and guiding them throughout this process. As I like to say to my clients, “be supportive, not clingy!” We can do that through systems too!
My favorite is setting up automated check-in forms through my CRM Dubsado (you can do the same with Gmail)! Or, if you aren’t an email kind of person, setting automated reminders in your phone to check in with clients is a great way to ensure you are connecting with them. You never know when a client is ghosting you because they’re stressed and overwhelmed, and getting that little email or text can make a world of difference.
Thinking Ahead to What They Need to Feel Competent
My leadership mentor once told me that the pathway to confidence is paved with competence. How can we encourage competence within our leads and clients?
Examples could be laying out FAQs targeting specific questions your target audience may have so they feel more secure in their choice to purchase from you. It could be highlighting a common obstacle in their journey and offering solutions on how to mitigate it; having them feel more competent in how they can overcome obstacles. Think of what points you can anticipate your audiences’ needs are to increase their confidence in solving their problems and investing in you.
MAKING SPACE FOR YOURSELF INSIDE THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE
While it is incredibly important that we are creating a luxury experience within our online business, we also need to make sure we are striking a balance between being able to support that client experience, but also make sure that it’s supporting us as the business owner as well.
It does no one any favors if we are overextending ourselves in order to run this incredible client experience when behind the scenes we’re having to infringe on our own personal boundaries. That isn’t sustainable, or enjoyable (which I’m pretty sure both are reasons you started this business)! I firmly believe that you need to choose between living your life and making a living.
Here are three questions I want you to consider while looking through your own client experience:
What boundaries do I need in place to deliver, without overexerting myself?
Y’all, don’t forget we are human. If we do not set up strict walls around what is our personal time and what is our client’s time, they will always breach it. You cannot put the responsibility of managing your boundaries on somebody else (that’s a life lesson, not just a business lesson). Throughout the client experience, we want to make sure we are making our boundaries crystal clear. Layout your client’s work hours. Let people know how long it normally takes for you to get back to a message. It’s important to create this space for yourself so you are able to honor and manage your capacity, without leaving the client hanging. That said, it can be exhausting trying to reinforce those boundaries manually. Take time to see where you can bake this into the client experience so you aren’t taxing yourself every time you set a boundary.
Where inside of each area do you feel good working in? Which parts feel draining?
Where inside of each area of your client experience do you feel AMAZING working inside of? Just lights you up to do, and you wish you had more time to dedicate towards? What about parts of your client experience that make you roll your eyes and draw a big deep sigh of aggravation because you have to do this thing. This will help you determine where you need support inside of your online business to make room for the good, and support in managing the draining.
This is the reason I love operations and systems so much as they can fill the gap of where you currently are putting your energy.
You can construct a very simple system in order to cover these areas so that you can construct some space for yourself and protect your energy for the things that you want to spend more time doing (like the service delivery and direction of your business) while also automating or expediting what you can of the draining parts of your business. This is how you can begin constructing a sustainable service-based business.
What is the simplest thing I can do to make this easier to execute?
It doesn’t need to take a team, or 20-step automation in order to make this experience easier on you. You just need to start with what would be the one thing to make this one degree easier. As an example, let’s look at the onboarding process. If you’re taking too much time answering too many questions from new clients, that one simple thing could be recording the answers, and sending the videos instead of having to answer the questions over and over again.
One of my PMB Intensive clients recently did this and has saved hours of her time that could be redirected into finishing her group program launch. These tiny tweaks can make the biggest impact on giving us as entrepreneurs space inside our online business.
What could that thing be for you for each of those five areas of customer experience?
If you need more support in how to deliver an incredible client experience without adding more to your plate, check out my other blogs, and join the email list to grab more operations and biz systems advice to help you build your online business without sacrificing your creativity or productivity.
And if you are looking for more 1:1 guidance and customized support, you can always grab a PMB session from my Services to get my eyes on your online business and my experience to help you run your client experience more sustainably.
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I live in Melbourne, Australia, but I’m from the States (Washingtonian through and through). I’m a cat-mom, wifey, and in love with a good workflow (it gives me that warm, fuzzy, Christmastime feeling). My goal is to help creative-minded female service providers stop having to choose between creativity and productivity to build a successful, sustainable business.