What does your client experience say about you and your brand? Everything. Your clients are the only people you need to satisfy in your business, so it’s important to make sure the experience they have goes above and beyond!
In today’s episode, I’m sharing how you can improve your client experience in just a few steps to day, but then how becoming your own client can make the biggest impact in the experience you’re providing!
Clocking In with Haylee Gaffin is produced and brought to you by Gaffin Creative, a podcast production company for creative entrepreneurs. Learn more about our services at Gaffincreative.com, plus you’ll also find resources, show notes, and more for the Clocking In Podcast.
What’s a Client Experience? (2:59)
Three Components to Review in Your Client Experience Today
1. Customer Relationship Manager (4:11)
Try Honeybook for one week + get 50% off your first year.
Now ask yourself these client experience questions related to your CRM: (5:33)
a) Are your inquiries funneling to one central location or are you managing them in email, and text messages, and instagram, etc? (5:36)
b) Are you having to build out a custom brochure or proposal each time someone inquires with you? (5:59)
c) Are you writing custom emails to every single client that essentially say the same thing? (6:39)
d) Are you getting paid on time and prior to providing services? (7:40)
Try Honeybook for one week + get 50% off your first year.
2. Create/Review All Email Communication Templates (9:06)
Headshots in the Studio Client Six Email Example (9:22)
a) BROCHURE – A brochure with my headshot in the studio option, my regular rate, and a branding session, because sometimes I can upgrade people to my branding session because it fits their needs better simply from a brochure.
b) PROPOSAL – The second is a proposal email after they’ve selected what they want and are ready to book.
c) CONFIRMATION – After they book, they get a confirmation email with a reminder to select their time on that date if they haven’t already.
d) REMINDER – Two days before their shoot, they receive a reminder email that include their session date and time, along with rules for when to arrive, how long it will take, and the address of the studio.
e) PROOF OF IMAGES – After their session, they get a proof email to review and select their 3 favorites from the 15 proofs for editing.
f) FINAL IMAGES – Once they select their three, I’ll edit and then send them a final email with the final edits.
3. Become Your Own Client (13:21)
What I Found in my Launch Process from Being My Own Podcast Launch Client (13:44)
a) My clients experience needed weekly reminder emails to help guide the process. (13:44)
b) I needed a workbook for my clients to help guide them through the asset creation. (14:09)
c) I needed to communicate how much money my clients would spend on a podcast outside of my services. You can download my Podcast Budget Worksheet here. (14:42)
What I Didn’t Expect to Find in Becoming My Own Client: (15:09)
a) I wasn’t offering guidance in content creation or topic ideas. So I developed two offerings: (15:48)
– Adding a content brainstorming worksheet to the launch workbook. (16:16)
– Contracts are per month vs per episode to help with accountability. (16:34)
b) I wasn’t requesting or encouraging them to have an episode content bank. (16:55)
Your Homework From This Show: (18:10)
a) Set aside an hour to review your processes this week.
b) Set aside time in the coming weeks to review as your own client.
Try Honeybook for one week + get 50% off your first year.
Who I’m Cheering for this Week:
The Natalie Franke Team: Natalie Franke, LaShonda Brown, and Bree Pair – nataliefranke.com/book
Last Week’s Episode: 014: Overwhelmed? You Can Take A Break
Pre-Order Natalie’s Book: nataliefranke.com/book
Review the Transcript:
Are you constantly running into issues with your clients that could be avoided if you made one simple change in your process or workflow? Using client feedback to improve your experience is always important, but sometimes it takes a matter of going through the process you’ve set up for your client to realize what’s missing, that neither of you can see from where you’re at.
In today’s episode, I’m sharing why this is important, how I did this myself in creating my own podcast, and what I learned in the process.
So you’ve likely learned client after client that there may be something missing in your workflow or process. Maybe it’s a confirmation email, maybe it’s a line in your contracts, or a consult call, or maybe you think your system is flawless.
Here’s the reality, I don’t believe that any system is flawless. Maybe for a short period of time, but after a few weeks, something interferes. Let me give you an example.
As many of you know, I have a studio in Chattanooga that I rent out to other photographers. I feel like I have my Studio rental process down to a T. So recently, I went back through every single email template to update the rules for my studio, as I had moved some cameras around inside and needed my clients to be aware of them. In making that update, I realized I had a State of Tennessee COVID recommendation link where I encouraged my clients to follow the guidelines of the state. When I clicked on the link, it was a broken link. They had restructured their site. WHen? I have no idea, but for the last year, I’ve been sending this email out to renters guiding them to information that doesn’t exist.
That system that I thought was so perfected has probably been linking incorrectly for at least a few months, but in my mind it felt perfect. So before we jump too far into this episode, I want you to listen with an open mindset that there is always room for improvement in all areas of your business, but especially in your client experience.
So what does a client experience entail? It’s so different for every industry, person, and even service. My simple headshots in the studio clients do not get the same experience as my brand photoshoot clients. That’s because my headshot clients aren’t paying for a custom service that is tailored to their needs, where my branding clients are. My emails are different, my contracts are different, and my time commitment and the relationship I build with these clients are vastly different.
So as we go thought this episode, I want you to think about your profession, business, services, etc, and look at the most popular or profitable component of your business. We’re going to walk through X things you need to ensure are a part of your client experience or process, and do somewhat of a mini audit.
Now this is not the end all be all of client experience, so this is just a simple starting point.
So let’s walk through the first component, your CRM also known as a Customer Relationship Manager will play a huge role in this. A CRM is a tool that allows you to manage communication, client information, projects, etc within your business to keep you organized. For my business I use Honeybook every single day. All of my inquires from forms on my website funnel into Honeybook, then I share service brochures, proposals, invoices, contracts, and more all from templates I’ve built over the years. In addition to that, I have email templates for EVERY step of the process for every service that I offer within Honeybook. Now this isn’t a sponsored episode, but if you head to the link in my show notes at gaffincreative.com/014, you’ll find my Honeybook affiliate link that will get you 50% off your first year!
I’ve been an avid Honeybook user for almost 3 years now, and I’ve never been more organized in managing my clients.
So if you’re not using a CRM, give Honeybook a try. If you are, this is where it’s important to understand if you’re using it to it’s fullest capabilities! Let’s answer a few questions:
- Are your inquiries funnelling to one central location or are you managing them in email, and text messages, and instagram, etc? Narrow that down to one place, like email, which funnels into your CRM.
- Are you having to build out a custom brochure or proposal each time someone inquires with you? I understand that not every offering will use the exact brochure or proposal, but that’s where you can create a template that is customizable. None of my clients are booking the exact same thing, but they all start out from the same template and I just remove the items that they aren’t booking.
- Are you writing custom emails to every single client that essentially say the same thing? I have simple emails that say I’m unavailable, but here are a few other dates, all the way to full blown processes of 12 emails for my podcast launch clients to send reminders and details they need through their launch process.
- Are you getting paid on time and prior to providing services? I think this is the most important one for me. I’ve gotten to the point in my business that I won’t show up or leave my house for a shoot or client UNLESS I’ve been paid what’s required.
Now those are just a few things to look for in utilizing your CRM to ensure you’re creating a great experience for your clients, but what else can you do?
Let’s talk about reviewing every single email communication template you’ve created, and if you haven’t already, now is the best time to work through what that could look like. For example, for my headshot in the studio clients who pay $99 for three headshots, they get a total of 6 emails through the process:
- A brochure with my headshot in the studio option, my regular rate, and a branding session, because sometimes I can upgrade people to my branding session because it fits their needs better simply from a brochure.
- The second is a proposal email after they’ve selected what they want and are ready to book.
- After they book, they get a confirmation email with a reminder to select their time on that date if they haven’t already.
- Two days before their shoot, they receive a reminder email that include their session date and time, along with rules for when to arrive, how long it will take, and the address of the studio.
- After their session, they get a proof email to review and select their 3 favorites from the 15 proofs for editing.
- Once they select their three, I’ll edit and then send them a final email with the final edits.
Occasionally, I’ll have to customize a response if they want more editing or if they want to buy more photos, but essentially I use those same 6 emails and just plug in a date or a link.
Now, when reviewing those emails after each headshot date, I typically find something I want to add. For example, I decided to add in the reminder email after I had a no-call no-show. I also added in the address of the studio to the brochure email after having someone book without looking up the address, then realizing that I was an hour and a half away and they weren’t willing to make the drive. Each and every client is going to teach you something new about your business, your communication, and your overall experience, if you let them.
I’m reminded of this any time I book a new client or run into what feels like an issue, because most of the time, issues can be avoided thorough communication and a better client experience.
Again, my processes are not perfect, my workflows are not perfect, and every single month, I’m finding new things to do to improve my email communication!
So at the beginning of the year, I decided to revamp my podcast launch experience. I wanted every client that went through it to feel like I did everything they never thought of with their podcast launch.
Once I mapped out the full experience, created emails to guide the process, and resources to go along with them, I did what I recommend you do.
I walked through the experience myself. I launched my own podcast based on my client workflow.
There were a few things I took away from it:
- My clients may need reminder emails at the beginning and end of every week (depending on the client). So I created a weekly email for my launch clients based on where they are in the process, along with a followup in case that client is the type that needs a reminder (like me).
- My clients need a workbook that better guides them through the podcast launch process and what tasks involve their work. So I created just that, a workbook that guides new podcaster through a podcast launch, and helping them create the assets they need, which I will end up selling in my digital shop later this summer, so keep an eye out if you’re a hopeful podcaster who isn’t ready to outsource the launch process!
- And the final thing I realized my podcast launch clients needed to understand was just how much money they’ll be spending outside of my services, like gear, hosting, music, gifts, and more.
Now, those were a few things I realized that needed to be improved for my client experience after going through my podcast launch process as a client. But what was even more apparent to me was something I definitely didn’t consider when approaching this process.
I 100% expected to find flaws in my own system, it was a brand new program and experience that I was putting together, but sometimes you find opportunities to improve your services in ways you weren’t looking for.
So after launching on March 1st, my podcast felt easy to push out. I had some ideas that I’d brainstormed, and topics I wanted to cover, but I found two major flaws in my system that I wasn’t offering a solution for to my clients:
The first, was that I wasn’t helping guide them through content creation and developing a list of potential topics to pull from at a later date. This meant that after a few weeks, their podcast may go silent, because no one was guiding them to create.
So I implemented two things that have helped: a) within the launch workbook, my clients are now brainstorming their first three months of content ideas. This means that they’re working ahead to always have an idea while the podcast plan is fresh on their mind. b) I started requiring a monthly commitment vs a per episode commitment. For most of my clients, this is a huge accountability motivator in producing their show. Obviously, I know things happen, so it’s flexible, but it’s not going to be because they couldn’t come up with a show to talk about.
The second flaw I found was not having a content bank for when emergencies happen or interviews get pushed. So what that means, is many of my clients are batching. They’ll sit down and record 4 episodes in one day (mainly if they do solo shows). Then we’ll work these into their schedule where they fit or hold them for a later date if they run out time to record a specific episode or an interview gets cancelled and they need to replace an upcoming episode. Having this content bank or at least encouraging one is such a helpful component that I didn’t foresee coming out of my own podcast hosting experience.
You know how it came about? If you listen to my last episode, I shared a little bit about how sometimes you just need a break. I didn’t have the capacity to produce my own show, but I also just didn’t have the focus for a couple of weeks. Having a bank of episodes would have been phenomenal to me. Don’t worry, it’s in the works!
So if you haven’t taken any time to run through your processes and client experience, make sure you set aside an hour this week, just to look over it. Then, I want you to set aside time in the coming weeks to go through your process as if you were your own client. What does that look like for you? How can you improve?
And don’t forget, if you’re looking for a CRM to manage all of this for you, I recommend you give Honeybook a try! Head to the link in my show notes to get a free week, plus 50% off your first year! And once you’re signed up, I’d be happy to jump on a quick call to chat about how you can use it in your business to improve your client experience!
Don’t forget to stick around to the end to hear who I’m cheering for!
This week, I’m cheering for my dear friend and client Natalie Franke and the whole NF team! I’ve worked for Natalie for a couple of years and this last week, our team got to officially open up her Built to Belong book launch team applications! You’ve probably seen about this goup on social media in the last couple of weeks and I can’t wait to meet them all in person soon! LaShonda Brown and Bree Pair have killed it at this launch team! To be on the launch team, you simply have to pre-order the book and fill out a form! Plus, pre-ordering the book gets you access to the digital copy TODAY when you apply to be on the launch team! Additionally, I don’t know if you know this, because until working on this book with Natalie (which is like one of the best books I have ever read), but pre-orders help the author get noticed by retailers! So for first time authors, like Natalie, this is the key to landing on bestseller lists and the shelves of your favorite book stores. So make sure you head over to nataliefranke.com/book to pre-order and get your hands on the digital copy today! Plus there are so many other cool things that will happening between now and August 24th, when the book officially launches, so you’ll want to be on this preorder list and a part of this launch team!