Clients are one of the best parts of owning your own business. Clients can motivate you, they believe in your vision, and they are part of the reason you push yourself to do more (and do better).
It doesn’t hurt that they pay the bills, too.
If you’re trying to grow your business, you’ll want to think about how you can keep them around, or keep your business top-of-mind so they refer you to others. How do you do that? It starts with taking action to create a better client experience. Below, we’re sharing some of the best (and easiest) ways to enhance your clients’ experiences.
1. Set Expectations From The Beginning
One way you can create a better client experience is setting the tone so everyone knows what to expect. One of the best ways to set expectations is to create a contract agreement.
What we mean by contract is a document of the services you and the client agreed to, pricing, and anything else relevant to the agreement, like timelines and ad-hoc services. We definitely recommend using a contract template drafted by a legit lawyer – the The Legal Paige has a large selection of contracts and other legal documents for a variety of industries that we recommend you check out! If that's not in the budget, you can find some simple, starter contracts here.
Want to up-level your legal documents? Browse Unsplash for on-brand photos to add to the cover pages, headers or footers of your contracts and other documents. This will help reinforce your own personal branding while adding a professional flair.
Another way to set expectations from the beginning is by sending potential clients your Service and Pricing Guide. This way they know what your services include and what they can expect to invest. Creative Market has plenty of beautiful, easy-to-use Canva templates to purchase to make the designing of your guide much easier!
2. Communicate Regularly
Communication is essential for any great relationship with a client. It not only helps build trust, but it allows both you and your client to check in with each other to make sure you’re on the same page. Discuss deliverables, ask questions, get feedback, talk strategy… these are all great conversations to have regularly with your clients.
A simple way to create ongoing communication with your client is to schedule standing meetings or calls. These don’t have to be frequent, as you still need time for the actual work. Talk with your clients about what works for them and go from there. Whether it’s bi-weekly, monthly, or once every quarter (depending on the length of the project or type of work you do), your client will really feel like a priority, and they’ll be better able to plan their days, as well.
3. Ask For Feedback
Your clients already enjoy working with you (because you're a pro at what you do, and because your client experience is off-the-hook, of course), so use that to your advantage: ask them how you can make their experience even better!
Here are a few ways to get the conversations started:
- Ask for regular feedback in your standing meetings with clients
- Send out bi-yearly or yearly surveys to clients
- Create a survey using a tool like Google Forms if you want to keep client feedback anonymous
4. Aim To Exceed Expectations
You probably already work to exceed expectations, but now that you’ve already set them with your client, they’ll be that much more blown away when you present your ideas or deliverables. Here are some ideas of how you can exceed your client's expectations:
- Submit deliverables on time or *gasp* early
- Come in under budget (or right at budget)
- Answer their emails within 24 hours
- Keep them updated on your progress
All clients want to know is that they can trust you to do the work well, so show them that — without a doubt — they made the right call by choosing you.
Our favorite - Be sure to spoil your clients with gifts! Now, this does not have to break the bank, and actually, it shouldn't. Figure a gifting budget into each "package" you offer, and stick to it (a.k.a. don't decide to keep that part of the budget to yourself... *shame shame* that's not allowed.) Here is a simple gift-giving process that we recommend sticking to.
Pre-Contract-Signing: That's right. Before they're even your client, spoil them. This can look like value-based freebies when they sign up for your newsletter, value-based social media posts, or posting a Starbuck's gift card to your Instagram story for your followers to use until it's gone! *chef's kiss* THAT will keep you top of mind.
Onboarding: Send your client a larger, well-thought-out gift that says just how excited you are to work with them! Our recommendation is that when they fill out your interest form, onboarding form, or somewhere in your early communications, you ask them what their favorite _______ is. Could be drink (coffee, tea or hot cocoa?), candy/snack (chocolate, caramels or granola?), or a "would you rather" (movie night, bubble bath or work ahead?) type of question. This way, when you go to get them a gift, you'll know exactly what to get them or what theme to stick with!
Oh, and if you're not the shopping type, or just don't have time (understandable), we make memorable gifting simple, in case you forgot ;).
Offboarding: Send a small thank you at the end of working with your client. This could be an e-gift card (the ONLY time we recommend sending a gift card to a client), a well-thought-out gift bag (coming to our shop soon!), or a significant discount for future services with you!
We definitely recommend doing all three of these, but if you must choose one, choose the Onboarding option, as that's by far the most memorable, and will keep you top of mind for their future needs or when their friends and family ask for a referral.
We hope this post was helpful in making your client experience even better! Please leave your thoughts or comments below, and thanks for being here!
xx The WM Team
(This post was originally written by Styled Stock Society, with modifications made by Wonderfully Made Gifting Company.)