Want to raise your rates? Wait just a sec… When was the last time you reviewed the customer experience you deliver?
When you have a stellar client experience, raising your rates won’t turn off clients or potential new clients. In fact, according to a study by the Tempkin Group, 86% of buyers are willing to pay *more* for a great customer experience.
It’s important to recognize, too, that sometimes diving into a quote-unquote saturated market means price and end-product aren’t the differentiator anymore. If you want to win clients, the clients that are meant for you, up-leveling your client experience could be your edge.
Let’s dive into some of my favorite ways to elevate the client experience. This episode will leave you feeling inspired and ready to kick up your methods and start building a killer reputation for providing the best client experience around.
Your user experience now
When I say “client experience” what does that mean? I don’t want any ambiguity here. SuperOffice defines it best as your customers’ perception of how your company treats them. These perceptions affect their behaviors, and build memories and feelings to drive their loyalty.
When we think of kicking off someone’s experience with you, your brand or your business, it’s about realizing and acknowledging that it’s not about YOU, it’s about the user. You or your product is not the hero, you want to place the viewer as the hero of their own story!
When designing your website or structuring your social media feeds, remember the user first… and keep in mind the fact that, if your potential customer can’t find what they’re looking for quickly or if they don’t have the information to qualify themselves as a person in need of your product or serving, you’re likely going to lose them as a potential customer.
I want to challenge you to think through every single click someone needs to take to find out about your services, your processes, your products and how to get in touch with you or book you. Is it intuitive? Does it make sense? Is it clear to find? Is it easy for them to get answers to their questions?
If it’s not, you’re going to want to try and adjust it ASAP. Make sure that your website, or wherever that place you own on the web might be, makes your potential customers excited about the prospect of working with you and confident in what you can do. Make it easy for them to reach you, make your work about THEM and their experience, and try to anticipate their path or questions they might have before they can even ask them!
It’s your job to put systems into place that make sense for you while making sure that your client is getting what they need. This is an example of being intentional in what this experience looks like and how it can save you time and energy and turn customers into raving fans.
Communication is Key
Everything should be clearly communicated from the jump, and I’m talking everything! One of the greatest gifts you can give your clients is anticipating their needs before they could express them and answering their questions before they ask.
One of my favorite ways to do this right off the jump is by providing a client welcome packet that digs into the fun stuff and the exciting thank you’s. This is something you can spend some intentional time on creating ONCE and it can serve you and your clients in the weeks and months, even years to come. This is built to kick off that experience with confidence, because after someone makes a decision, even if that decision is to simply contact you, you want them to feel confident that they made the right decision.
This guide can be something that shares more about you, your work, and your process, it can also be a place that answers questions and lays down some ground rules for anything from communication expectations to the exact details of the project and its deliverables. This is something the client can hang on to and refer to often, equipping them with the resource they need to help them be an even better client to you!
While you and your client work together, you should always keep open communication as a key tenet of your experience. This doesn’t mean you always need to always be available, because ground rules, and boundaries, are key.
It does, however, mean that your client should always be able to trust that they can come to you and get the answer they need. Having clear expectations around the best way to contact you, when they can expect a response, and any other insightful info can set both of you up for a solid relationship.
Streamline the experience
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your client experience is to make a roadmap of what needs to happen between a client booking and the delivery of the finished product. What are all the action items that need to happen and what is the estimated timing on these action items. When you plan out that roadmap, we call it a workflow.
There should be a system that you can follow that will not only help you to deliver a standard, exceptional experience. When I was first starting out I made a chart that tracked every client. It was more of the pen and paper days and I had it hanging on my wall in my guest bedroom turned office and I’d check things off the list as I did them, making sure things were uniform.
Now, there are definitely other customer management softwares around that friends of mine swear by, but I can tell you from lots of personal experience that Honeybook has consistently made my clients (and me!) very, very happy. See how I use it and start your free trial!
When your client can go directly into a program like Honeybook to communicate, to pay, and to access their contracts, to fill out questionnaires, and to get in touch, they’re going to look at you as a professional gal with her stuff together… and that, my friend, is priceless when it comes to scaling up the client experience.
Surprise touchpoints have been a part of my client experience for a long time, for a couple of reasons. A: it’s fun. I love reminding my clients that I really am thinking about them, and I’ve always been one of those people who loves popping in with something unexpectedly. B: on a business note, it reminds your clients that you truly DO care about the experience they’re having.
If I can give you one piece of advice, it’s to never forget that your client experience is SO MUCH MORE than a contract signature and a project deliverable and a paid invoice. Those teeny, tiny steps that come in between are where so much of the good pieces lay… the relationship building, the future projects, the level of service and care, the memorable snippets, and the fun stuff. Take the extra thought and care to integrate surprises and fun additions into those teeny tiny steps, and you’ll be amazed not only at your client’s happiness, but at yours.
There are tons of ways you can do this, too. There’s always the legitimate, tangible surprise, which I think is so fun, like a sweet letter in the mail or a gift box you send to your client. At the same time, there’s just as much value in those small, unexpected check-ins, like a fun email to just say thank you, a digital gift card even if it’s 5 bucks to Starbucks, or an extra-special way to get some questions answered. Never underestimate the impact of a little extra something. Your client won’t!
Under promise, over deliver
I think that all of the magic in a super elevated client experience comes with the underpromise and the overdeliver. Now, don’t get me wrong here: I always think we should promise our clients the best of the best, because that’s what they deserve. I’d never tell you to promise minimal results to your client, because what’s the point in that? But, I’d always keep your magnificent service a little bit of a surprise.
I almost always will underpromise when it comes to my level of commitment, but then I’ll always over deliver on how I show up. Sometimes, that’s providing an additional service, spending more time with the client, getting the finished product to them sooner, showing up for them with extra support or insight, or delivering a bonus goodie.
Over delivering shouldn’t ever be something that stretches you too thin, but instead something that lights you up and makes you excited to show up for your client. Sometimes, over delivering could simply mean sending extra emails to your client to keep them in the loop. Another time, over delivering might mean mailing an extra print of a photo you really loved, or sending over a drawing that might have just been an initial logo concept, or giving a client two options for their bio copy.
There are tons of different ways to show your clients you care… none of which you need to guarantee from the get-go. By just showing up because you want to, your clients will be impressed with your service and you’ll be pumped to give it to them.
The Big Picture
If you’re in a season of wanting to raise your rates, make sure that that raise signifies a heightened experience for your clients. Make the extra cost worth the extra value you’re providing! If you’re going to raise your prices, which I’d bet you should, you also need to raise the level of service and experience someone will get from you. This always comes down to consistently tweaking your client experience, heightening it at every level, streamlining your process and systems and giving your lucky clients the red carpet treatment!