Today’s episode is all about optimizing your client journey. Creating a client journey is impactful and delightful for your client and vital for sustainability, for you.
But, you may have that client journey that isn’t serving you. And chances are, if it’s not serving you, it’s not serving your clients either. You’re either trying to do too much and make your client journey super personalized, which isn’t sustainable long-term if you want to scale, or it sounds like a robot is answering all your emails and it’s a big fat turn-off to your clients and leads.
Think about this. How much of what you do is because your ideal client asks for it. This sounds like a really good practice, right? Listen to your ideal client and create experiences based on what they say they want? Wrong. And I will tell you why and how to optimize your client journey in the episode.
- The five pieces of a sustainable and scalable client journey
- The myth about automation and how to do it correctly
- The one action step you can take today to start creating an impactful and intentional client journey
Rather skim before you listen? ⬇️
Your phone rings, you receive a FB messenger notification, and a new email lands in your inbox…
your chest tightens.
Equal parts of dread and uncertainty wash over you.
You know it is your client with an “emergency” at 8pm on a Saturday night and instead of going out to dinner with your partner, you’ll now spend the next 3 hours solving their “problem” rather than enjoying killer sushi at your fav spot.
This is the same client who hasn’t paid this month’s invoice yet, and they were late on last month’s invoice too. Come to think of it, three other clients were late as well.
And while you love certain aspects of the package they chose, there are other parts that you offered because you wanted to make sure to get a client. I mean, a sleeve of Milanos and a bag of popcorn aren’t going to pay for themselves. (That is what you are having for dinner now, btw, since you are chained to your computer rather than out to dinner with your love.)
Okay, if any of this resonates, you may have a client journey that isn’t serving you.
This episode is all about optimizing your client journey so it’s impactful and delightful for your client AND sustainable for you.
I have some bad news: you may have a client journey that isn’t serving you.
You are either trying to do too much and make your client journey super personalized, which isn’t sustainable long term or if you want to scale, or it sounds like a robot is answering all your emails and it is a big fat turn-off to your clients and leads.
Think about this: How much of what you do is because your ideal client asked for it?
This is good practice right? Listen to your ideal client and create experiences based on what they say what they want…?
If you go too far into letting your clients tell you what to do, you will burn out.
Your client journey will be super personal to each and every client, you’ll send handwritten thank you’s after each and every meeting, you’ll remind 4 times about meetings and chase late payments, you’ll give and give and give until you have nothing left.
You’ll be available at all hours, via email, test message, Facebook messenger.
You’ll have 27 different packages because you want to please everyone.
I get it.
You do what you do because you love your clients and want to SERVE them.
But remember, my dear friend, you likely got into the business of entrepreneurship also for a bit of freedom – freedom in your schedule, financial freedom, freedom to lean more into the things you really want to do and topics that really light you up.
So you lean into automations and computers doing the work for you.
But if you swing too far in that direction, you can have a client journey that is cold and robotic, not delightful or human. Your clients are special and deserve VIP treatment.
It’s on YOU to decide what that actually looks like and deliver.
Let me ask you another question: Do you have dreams of scaling your business and bringing in more money?
You need a sustainable and scalable client journey.
Consistent boundary-setting from the beginning allows you to start everything on the right note.
Well-planned delivery & regular communication allows you to maintain expectations & boundaries for your work together.
A delightful, well-timed off-boarding can ensure that you leave your clients delighted and capture their joy and appreciation in testimonials to share with others considering your services.
Plus, delighted clients tell their friends. And word-of-mouth referrals are 5x more effective than digital marketing.
A few intentional decisions can make all of this easy to elevate.
There are a few simple tips that will help you find the perfect client journey for you.
TOP TIPS TO CREATE YOUR PERFECT CLIENT JOURNEY
Map it out. It is easier to see what your journey actually entails if you intentionally write it out. That will highlight bottlenecks, inconsistencies, and complete wastes of time so you can streamline and tweak the journey to make it delightful for you and your people! If you want some help mapping all this out, check out my short step-by-step guide to get you started on creating a client journey that truly serves you and your clients. Grab your free copy of my Welcome New Clients into Your Business like a Pro guide at workwithprocess.co/clientjourneyguide
Automate what makes sense so you can spend your precious time on the touch points that really matter. There is a lot of misinformation about what automation is and isn’t floating around so I’ll take this opportunity to set the record straight. Automation isn’t inherently cold and impersonal. Automation, when done properly, provides you the freedom to focus your limited time and resources on the personal connection with your clients and leads at touch points when it truly matters while providing consistency in the service your clients and leads will grow to expect.
Consider the client’s or lead’s POV. Your business isn’t about you. It is about your clients/customers or potential clients/customers. So think about what their day-to-day looks like and how they will be feeling and dealing with starting a new project or engagement with you. Make sure you get super clear on what they need and want through the process and, without losing yourself in the process, choose the 2-3 things that matter the most and ensure those are represented in your client journey.
Stay on brand. Don’t send a big elaborate welcome gift of trinkets if your brand is minimalist. Likewise, don’t send messages with gifs and memes if your brand is a bit more reserved and serious. Remember, your brand is the culmination of every touch post or interaction someone has with you and your business. If you do it right, you have intentionally chosen language, colors, values, etc. to represent what you stand for and that should also be reflected in your client journey.
Know what the expectations are on both sides— for you and your client. In the age of virtual connection, it can be easy to assume someone knows what their next step is or how the two of you will interact, but we all know what assuming does, right? (It’s not a great customer experience)
Your strategic, intentional focus on clearly communicating what the client can expect from you and what you expect of them goes a long way in avoiding awkward conversations later. Also, it makes it a lot easier to ignore text messages from clients on Saturday nights if they know you won’t be answering until Monday morning.
WHAT EXPECTATIONS SHOULD YOU BE SETTING?
1. What they are paying for. This is probably the biggest one to communicate thoroughly and repetitively. Most clients want to know exactly what they are getting for the money spent.
Are phone or video-conferencing chats included? How many and how long?
How many rounds of revisions are included? What are the guidelines for those?
Is there a rush or express timeline in play? Spell out what that means.
How will they receive any written or designed collateral or original files and when?
What does continued support look like? Is it included or an additional cost?
What is your refund policy?
2. How & when you communicate. This is as much to your benefit as it is to your client’s.
What channels do you accept inquiries through? Email, phone, text, Voxer, Marco Polo…?
What are your office hours? What time zone are you in?
How often do you check email and respond to requests? What is the turnaround time for a reply to an email?
Can clients reach you in case of emergency? If so, how? Nothing that I work with clients on is a life or death emergency so they really can’t “reach” me in these cases (they don’t exist.)
3. What they will be responsible for. If there are specific assets, approvals, sign offs, and meetings that your client needs to be responsible for, outline those and if you already have then, give them deadlines and due dates.
Do they need to schedule meetings? If so, how many and how often?
At what points in the process will you need their approval or sign-off on something? How long do they have for the review and if they want to provide feedback, how should they do that?
Do you need specific assets like their logo, style guide, login creds, etc. to get started? How will you collect that information?
What other action items should they expect? How much time each week should they set aside for your work together?
4. Hard deadlines and repercussions if delays happen. Flexibility is necessary most of the time, but sometimes there are hard deadlines you have to abide by.
Is there a specific launch date or end of engagement date that is not flexible?
If so, what are the repercussions for client delays?
What are you doing to avoid delays on these hard deadlines?
HOW & WHEN SHOULD YOU COMMUNICATE THESE EXPECTATIONS?
The overarching answer to this question is email, phone, carrier-pigeon, skywriting and as often as possible. Basically, you’ll need to communicate expectations continuously and through a variety of channels.
Here are a few opportunities:
In a discovery call, before you ever sign the contract: Ensure that your lead understands how the two will actually work together (the process) and what the deliverables are.
In the proposal, contract, and invoice: List the deliverables here for sure as well as durations of meetings, relevant details about payment and payment options and due dates.
In the client welcome kit or initial client email: I create a Welcome Kit for most of my big-project or retainer clients. In the absence of a Welcome Kit, I try to lay out what the action plan is for our time together and send that via email.
At the beginning of each meeting: Setting the intention for the meeting and what the desired outcome is is a great way to start the meeting. Also, reminding clients how this meeting adds to the overall project or process is a great opportunity.
At the end of a meeting: Set the expectation as to what their next 3 or so action items are and what you will be doing next. Then follow up with an email to reiterate those actions items on each of your to-do lists.
During final delivery of project/files: When you are sending the final deliverables, use this as an opportunity to explain what ongoing support they are privy to. When I was a done-for-you service provider, I had a 14-day contingency window included on my big implementation projects to fix any bugs and work out any kinks.
Do you have dreams of scaling your business and bringing in more money?
Your client journey is an opportunity to set expectations for what you need from the client and also what they can expect from you. The right client journey allows for you to truly set yourself apart, delight your customers, and set and maintain boundaries to help you create the sustainable and scalable business you dream of.
You need a sustainable and scalable client journey.
You need to strategically plan out what personal touch points you have that make the biggest impact.
You need to embrace simplification, automation, and delegation.
You got this!
I always like to end each episode with an action step that you can take right now to help you move forward and begin to implement immediately. Here is your action step for this episode:
Go map out your client on-boarding, a very important part of your client journey.