What makes a good client stick around?
The reality is that keeping a client takes just as much work as landing a client. And we’re not talking about just doing the job that you’re paid to do – that’s implied. We’re talking about going above and beyond to make your clients happy.
Rae is here to offer a few tips on how to improve the client experience in your business.
There are probably dozens (if not hundreds) of other freelancers who provide similar services that your clients could have hired. The truth is that you’re not the only person in your niche. However, you can stand out by making your services the best out there.
One way to make your clients fall in love with you is provide the best client experience possible. Happy clients often lead to long-term relationships (and referrals).
Want to get good reviews? Have raving testimonials on your website, LinkedIn, Facebook page, etc.? Make your clients feel extra special and make things easy for them.
Here are a few simple tips to improve client experience:
1. Gifts and Thank You Notes
Your clients will smile when they receive a small gift or thank you note. In the age of e-mail and junk mail, your clients will be pleasantly surprised to find a letter or package in good ‘ole fashioned snail mail form
Starting out with gift or thank you note is a tangible way to show how much you care about your clients. Ending a client relationship with a gift or thank you note will help you leave on good terms, too. Gift don’t need to be extravagant or expensive to make an impact. Remember, it’s the thought that counts.
I am a huge fan of hand-written notes. I simply select a card design that matches the client’s branding or personality and write a few words of about how grateful I am to have worked with them. Many of my clients throughout the years have remarked how good my notes made them feel. If you have a tight budget or don’t know a client well enough to give a suitable gift, sending a card is the perfect option!
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2. Seamless Onboarding and Offboarding
Spend some time developing your client onboarding and offboarding systems. This will not only make less work for your client, but it will make your life easier.
There are many components to onboarding/offboarding. What can you do to reduce the amount of back and forth exchange of information? The easier you make it for your clients, the faster they’ll go through each process and provide the information you need to move forward.
In my business, I found I needed clients to share their passwords with me before we got on an onboarding call. I created a list of login credentials and a canned email to accompany it.
Then I took it one step further. I wanted my clients’ private information to remain private. For that reason, I request that they use the password manager LastPass to securely share their passwords.
Not all of them knew how to do this, so I created a video tutorial on Loom and added that to my canned email.
3. A Comprehensive Welcome Packet
Clear communication is vital to solid client relationships.
Eliminate the guesswork for your clients and highlight all your important information in an organized fashion. Let them know what your office hours are, what turnaround time you require, the best ways to communicate with you, when you bill for your services, when invoices are due, etc.
This way, your clients will know what to expect of you and when to expect it.
You might have all of this information in the fine print of your contract or on parts of your website, but you also have a lot of other information in those places, too.
Don’t ask your clients to sift through a lot of material.
Highlight all of your important information and policies in a beautifully branded welcome packet. Then store it in a shared folder you can both access.
In my business, I’ve found that sending a welcome packet after a discovery call works best, but I suggest experimenting with what works for your business. You might find it best to send immediately after the first point of contact.
Customization provides a sense of luxury.
You can use personalization to connect with your clients and make them feel cared for. Customization doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of time crafting a completely unique good. You can use templates, like canned emails or proposals.
From there, add their name and a line or two about their business to those templates so that is speaks specifically to them, not all clients. Eliminate parts of templates that don’t apply to them.
If you use a client management software like Dubsado, you can create client portals and then customize the banners inside of them. You can put your client’s logos or brand colors to give them a one-of-a-kind dashboard.
Even if you don’t use a CRM tool, you can do something similar with a client’s Google Drive folder. Start by creating documents using the client’s fonts and brand style.
Take a look at your services – where can you add a little personalization?
5. Check In with Them
You should be touching base with your clients regularly about business, but try to connect with them on a more personal level. Don’t be all about business.
Many freelancers and small business owners left the corporate world because they disliked the rigidity and lack of personal touch that is often found in big corporations.
Connecting with your clients can be as simple as asking them if they’re okay after a stressful period or asking if their move went well.
6. Feedback Forms
Don’t assume you know what your clients are experiencing with your services. Ask them! There may be a part of your offerings you can improve. Maybe your clients want to meet more frequently or perhaps they’d prefer an weekly recap email.
Ask your clients what they want and then give it to them.
This may seem like an obvious way to improve client experience, but there are far too many service providers out there who never ask.
Be specific in what you ask and your clients will be more specific in their responses. What was their favorite part about working with you? Is there a service they’d like to have you include in your packages? What can you do to improve your working relationship?
7. Social Media Shout Outs
Promote your clients on social media from time to time (as long as it doesn’t violate your confidentiality agreement). Be sure to tag your clients in your posts so they’ll be notified.
This will show them that you are excited about their business and they will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
The best thing about this tip? It only takes a few minutes of your time. It’s a way to over-deliver without having to give a lot of time or effort. After all, you’ve got a business to run, too.
Being able to deliver consistency is key in your client experience. It will teach your clients what to expect of you and give them a sense of routine.
Think about your business from top to bottom and how you can create more consistency throughout. This could be creating all documents in the same format and delivering in the same method (Asana, Slack, Trello, or email, etc).
Perhaps it means making sure your office hours match on your website, welcome kit, and email stamp.
Offering a good client experience is a really important part of being a service-based business owner.
It sets you apart from other providers and keeps your clients coming back for more. Most ways to make your clients feel special can be implemented without much time or effort, so there’s really no excuse not to give it a go. After all, your clients are rockstars – they keep you in business.
What do you do to make your client experience top notch?
Rae is the founder of Productive Co., a virtual assisting company that helps businesses run efficiently and effectively. As an operations manager and strategist, she implements systems to optimize time, money, and energy. She helps others unleash the power of Dubsado CRM, so they can spend more time on their business instead of in it. When she’s not nerding out over systems, you can find her wandering the outdoors, having a dance party, or trying out every restaurant in town. You can connect with Rae on Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.