As an entrepreneur and small business owner, your client experience is a significant piece that defines your business growth. While marketing efforts and consistent networking tactics are crucial in gaining new clients regularly, they get exhausting! Word of mouth and referrals are a hands-off way to help you scale and reach your business goals.
But what happens when you are a start-up business, and the flood gates have yet to open for referrals?
The answer: Start building and focusing on a memorable and exceptional client experience and customer journey.
Keep reading to learn how you can optimize your service skills so you can scale your business through word of mouth!
The magic that happens during the nurturing phase will determine if a lead gets promoted to a client because. . .
They need to know that they are cared about and that hiring you will bring them stellar results. After all, you are an investment for them, so you want to prove that your services are worth their while!
Ways to cultivate the lead to client relationship can include:
> Offering free solutions in the form of guides, e-books, etc. when they join your email list
> Hosting an ‘ask me anything’ session on social media that allows them to voice their pain points to you
> Providing a complimentary consultation call with a straightforward way to book with you
Using these nurturing methods can help sway your leads towards making the hiring decision before they even hop on that call because they feel seen, heard, and cared for by a trustworthy expert, a.k.a. YOU!
Pro Tip: Be confident during this stage! You have so much value to offer, and your leads will thank you for it by converting to clients!
The Onboarding Process
Hooray! Your lead gave you the green light, and you can officially slap that ‘client’ sticker on them.
As the saying goes, ‘first impressions are the longest lasting,’ so be sure to have an organized onboarding process in place before you start taking on clients.
By doing so, you can implement a few simple touches that will leave your client feeling like a VIP and will help you avoid appearing frazzled or. . . gasp. . . unprofessional!
Here are several components you may wish to include for top-notch service:
> Send your contracts for e-signature and invoices for e-payment
> Create a Welcome Packet that outlines your business policies and hours
> Collect all of the necessary information you’ll need to move forward via virtual questionnaires or forms
> Invite clients to a document sharing system such as Google Drive
> Send client welcome gifts when appropriate
Utilizing a Client Relationship Management system, also known as a CRM, can make your onboarding process even more straightforward with automations and workflows that will ensure none of these pieces fall through the cracks!
Pro Tip: My vote for a killer CRM is Dubsado! Feel free to ask me about it here.
Regardless of how fan-freaking-tastic your onboarding process is, know that communication can still make or break your client experience. Following a concise method for communication will have clients raving about your business to everyone they know!
Creating transparent communication systems and boundaries from the start will help to keep all lines open so your clients can know what to expect. For example, if you announce your 24-hour response policy from the get-go, your clients won’t feel ghosted when you don’t return their message immediately!
Another strategy to keep your relationship running smoothly is to choose one method- and one method only- to communicate through. Email works, but it’s simple to lose important information amongst the other messages in your inbox. So instead, try using a messaging system such as Slack, Voxer, or Whatsapp, and stick to only chatting there!
Pro Tip: It’s brilliant to include your communication process in your Welcome Packet!
When it’s time to offboard your clients, you don’t want to simply slam the door on them! Instead, send them off with a smile and nothing but positive reviews that they can share with their friends or post on the interwebs.
Be sure to hand off any and all files in an organized way, so they don’t need to go digging for them in the future. Remember when we talked about creating a shared Google Drive during onboarding? Yeah? Well. . . that’ll come in handy here!
Schedule one last Zoom meeting to review finished projects and tie up any loose ends. This is the ideal time to answer any pre-goodbye questions your client may have about your work together.
Once everything is in place, you can send a final thank you gift to make them feel valued. Following up with them a month after offboarding is another way to make your clients feel all the fuzzy feelings towards you and your business!
Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals! If your clients are delighted with your work, which they will be, they’ll be happy to do so!
If you’re ready to use streamlined systems in your business, give me a shout! I’d love to set you up so you can provide a client experience to brag about!