When we think of client experience, the first thing that comes to mind is when the client is already yours, but in reality…it starts way before anyone becomes your client… It really starts on the first impression of your brand – that could be on instagram, facebook, on your website, or even your business card! Today we’re going to talk about what makes a stellar client experience from first impression to returning clients with our 3 step system – The Pre-Party, Party, and After Party.
Hi, we’re David and Meivys, a husband and wife photography team based in South Florida. We photograph weddings, portraits, and brands. We share all about life, marriage, and business over at @suarezpartyoftwo. Welcome and we can’t wait to connect with you!
So let’s start with the Pre-Party, in other words – with what happens before you provide your clients with a service.
We are not sure about you, but we are super into our social presence because for us it’s a close tie between referrals and instagram – where we get our leads and clients…therefore we definitely want to talk about your future client’s first impression of your business. In order to do this, we need to think like a consumer – when you’re searching for a place to take your wife/husband to a fancy dinner you probably do 1 of 2 things – search online for review and photos or gather recommendations from your friends and family – then go check out reviews and photos. If you’ve never heard of the place, you’ll likely google it or look in instagram, that my friends – is the first impression. What does that mean for business? That means that you have to ensure that the first place that your future client lands on gives the best representation of your brand possible! Ask yourself these questions to see if your social presence and review are a great representation of your brand:
- Do you have an updated and professional photo of you and of you working so they can feel like they know and connect with who you are as a person beyond just doing business with you?
- What do you want the client to feel when they encounter your brand for the first time? And does your presence showcase that?
- Do your reviews match your brand words? your brand promise?
But let us tell you that the first impression doesn’t stop there…it continues on to the inquiry and booking process because let’s face it, you can never count on a “secure” client until a contract is signed and retainer is paid, so getting to that point is our goal. The inquiry and booking process should be easy and simple, but impactful and different. Be sure to personalize that inquiry email with a fun video, a natural introduction of you and your business, and personal details about them – because who doesn’t love to be celebrated?! That email should match the tone and verbiage of your website and of who you are in person because the client will be able to tell if there’s a disconnect between who you are online and who you are in person. We love our inquiry email template, but we love our booking email template even more! – because since we use Honeybook (a Client Relationship Management Software, click here to find out more about our favorite tools) we are able to use the contract and payment tools within the email so that the client can easily sign the contract and make a payment all in the same email! There are no additional emails, there is no separate program to sign a contract – and hopefully you’re not still doing this, but – there’s no paper contract or printing involved. Then the client gets access to their own client portal which includes all of their documents and communication with us!
Next is a Party! This is when you are actually providing the service.
Once you’ve earned your client, you have already won half the battle, now we just need to keep them happy and that’s easy when you have ideal clients (we have to share a whole post all about this) During this time you need to show your client some love and remind them of why they made the investment they did and how much it’s worth it! We send a client welcome email right away and shortly after prepare a welcome gift for our brides – a snail mail, handwritten card, custom MSP magazine filled with tips and information on what to expect throughout their time with us. We also ensure that we are providing guidance every step of the way. Depending on what your timeline is to provide a service, you should be sure that your client hears from you at least once a month, even if it’s just to check in and see how they’re doing. In our case since we are photographers, we created an email sequence within our workflow that shares tips and ideas with our clients so that they are inspired. We also have virtual double dates with our couples or strategy calls with our branding clients so that they feel supported and cared for…and at the end of the day we do this because we care that they feel pampered and so that they become raving fans (once they’re raving fans, nothing can stop them from telling the world how amazing you are) Then, since you’ve invested so much time in educating your clients, the only thing left to do on the day of, in our case the session or the wedding, is pure fun and joy because everyone knows exactly what to do and the client trust you because they’ve had so many positive interactions with you. So, here’s a three questions to ask yourself to see if you’re throwing your client an excellent party:
- Do you have a template email to send congratulating the client on their investment/purchase? And does it sound like you and your brand?
- Do you communicate multiple times with your clients and is some of that communication guiding them through the process or sharing what to expect?
- How comfortable do you feel your clients are with you? Why do you think so or why not?
The After Party, or what happens after you provide the service, is soooo important because it’s what will make your client rave about you and come back for more!
When the client leaves your hands and you’ve provided them with the services you’ve contracted them for, you think, ok done…but really you should continue to nurture that relationship with the client because you always want to be top of mind. They already fell in love with how easy it was to begin working with you, how much they enjoyed and loved the experience you provided during the service, so now, it’s time to make them lifetime clients. For us, this is our favorite part because we get to see our clients grow every time we shoot with them, we start to build relationships past just clients and begin forming friendships. We love when our clients return to do business with us again and although we only offer photography, having multiple brands allows us to service them in many ways. For example, a bride just got married – we did their engagement session and wedding, then she decide she wants to start a business and we help her with her brand and photography, later down the road, she becomes pregnant and we get to be a part of this beautiful time in her life by photographing anywhere from maternity to holiday minis – this is ideal guys! But it won’t happen if you don’t show genuine concern for the client beyond providing a service. It is easy to feel like you are “done” with a client, but the time after the service has been rendered is crucial because it will yield more business – maybe not immediately, but you will reap the benefits when the time comes where they need your services again.
Here’s a few ways you can nurture that relationship:
- Add them to your Newsletter or Email list
- Follow their SM and comment/engage
- Send them Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary emails or our fav, hand written cards
So, how do you even start? How do you create this incredible Client Experience? Here’s how:
- Write down everything you do with a client from start to finish so that you can identify all the client touch points.
- Figure out what questions you get over and over and build those into your gifting, client support or guidance.
- Ask your clients what their favorite parts of working with you are so you can check if you’re on the right track and so you make make those parts of the process even sweeter
- Use the above research to identify where you can improve your client experience and how – What is the best use of time, money, resources that will help you boost or up level your client’s experience
- Systemize it, but add your personal touch. Build these touch points into your workflow so that it becomes easier to implement. If it’s a gift, then order in bulk (for the amount of clients you’re expecting that year) build them and store them so that when you get a new client it’s easy to personalize with a note and send)
When you provide an excellent client experience, working will be easy and a joyous experience for both of you every time. If you want to check out our top 5 tools for entrepreneurship, take a peek here.
David + Meivys