Running a business is a lot like being a circus juggling act.
No one told you that becoming a business owner actually meant tons of hours spent tethered to your computer becoming: a masterful blog writer, a customer service representative, an accountant, a branding genius, and a social media expert.
Let’s go back to that customer service bit… Because we all want happy clients, but we aren’t sure exactly how to get them every single time. Don’t worry, I’ve got you. This episode is your guide!
I am sharing my 5 secrets to getting happy clients in a service based business and how you can create a system to ensure client satisfaction. I want to help you avoid those sleepless nights thinking about your client base and the emails that make your stomach totally drop.
Some clients just aren’t the right fit — and that’s okay. But with these secrets I know you can make your dream customers feel worthy and valued, and LOVE working with you.
It Starts with Your Brand
Most business owners think of their brand as their logo, their colors, their fonts… All the visual pieces of a brand. While all of that is super important, what’s even more important is the way your brand makes people feel. When you start to look at your website as your online storefront, you want to to make sure it’s not just pretty but that it communicates and starts the experience for your clients. A lot of times we haven’t put as much thought into what our website is “saying” to potential clients because we are so focused on the images and the way it looks.
Your brand should be making it super clear as to who it is you want to serve and where you create your best work. If you’re a photographer and don’t want to shoot families, don’t have any family images on your website, if you love studio work, make sure your clients can both see and read about that. You want to make sure it’s very clear when someone lands on your site: who you are, who you serve, and what you offer.
Speaking as a photographer, be sure to curate your portfolio with a fine tooth comb choosing only THE best images of you and your work that communicate these things and your style, show only the type of work and people you want to do again and spend some time on your website copy to makes sure every piece is intentional, authentic, and exactly what someone can expect from you should they choose you to worth with. Your website and brand shouldn’t be just about YOU, it should be about the experience your clients can expect to receive should they work with you.
Let’s just say an ideal client shoots you an email with their inquiry. Once they reach out, the ball is now in your court and it’s time to focus on setting expectations with your client. This is a critical step in having the happiest of clients.
Expectations don’t have to be stuffy or scary, it can quite literally keep everyone on the same page so that while you’re working, your clients aren’t trying to guess what’s next or how the process will unfold. You can set expectations at numerous touch points with your client, through blog posts, email correspondence, and in-person consultations.
Setting expectations through each step of the process is one of the biggest ways you can have happy, satisfied, raving fan clients. Whenever I see that someone has run into an issue with a client, somewhere along the way they failed to set the expectation and therefore, the client is feeling like they didn’t get what they paid for or were left with an unsatisfactory experience.
Set expectations on timeline, payment plan, delivery of product or service, how they are delivered, what the preferred way of communication is, how you plan to work together, and what your role is in their experience and what they are responsible for as clients.
Under Promise, Over Deliver
At every corner, at every turn, you must always do this. This is the pinnacle for happy clients who can’t stop telling everyone about you. There are many places in the client experience where you can do this.
Things like client gifts will remind clients you’re thinking about them. Always blow them away with the product or service you deliver, whether it’s added value bonuses or extras they weren’t anticipating. Give yourself a cushion in your delivery timeline and surprise people by being early, and especially never late.
Enjoy the ability to knock their socks off and really take advantage of the fact that you can give them a crazy awesome experience, one that they won’t be able to stop talking about! I always am careful on what I promise clients keeping this at the forefront of my actions. I would rather impress them and over deliver than fall short of their expectations or what I told them. Never promise anything that you’re worried about fulfilling, when we do that, it’s generally when we fall short.
Make Them Feel Special
They yearn to feel special. They want to feel seen, heard, and adored and something tells me that you can do all of those things. I think sometimes we have to remind ourselves just how important our job is and how we can pass along that importance to our dear clients who are choosing to work with us.
It’s important to let your clients know that you CARE about their experience and the finished results. You never want them to feel like just a paycheck or a transaction. Ask them about themselves, beyond the services they are hiring you for. Just as you want to share what makes YOU unique in your business, it’s important to understand what makes them unique has humans. Not only does this give you a chance to connect on a more personal level, it also shows them that you care about THEM. Remember these things about them so that you can surprise them with the level of care given to them.
Pay attention to them. In the world of wedding photography, pay attention to the fun nicknames the couple calls each other, take the time to learn their families names, remember how or where they met, pay close attention the the way their family speaks about them or stories that are told while you are present. All of these bits and pieces can help your clients feel valued, appreciated, and can help you show them that you care!
Make sure that they feel loved, appreciated, and respected. The more you do this, the more likely you are to not just work with them again, but the more likely they are to go out into the world and tell everyone about how you made them FEEL not just about how you worked with them! I know you have a big heart, so just don’t lose that in the hustle and bustle that comes with running a business.
Follow Through and Follow Up
At the end of the day, your transaction and client relationship can simply end when you deliver your product or services. If you’re smart, you won’t let it end when you hit send on their project. Keep growing your relationship with your clients by having a follow up process after you’re all done with the commitment. Whether you’re sharing a blog feature of them, or simply checking in on them to see how they are doing, like all other aspects in your business, you want to focus on SERVING them and not constantly SELLING to them.
When I was a photographer, after I delivered images, I loved to check in with the client to make sure they were able to access their gallery, download their photos, even order prints if they are interested. This shows that you’re desiring feedback and still interested in serving them even though your contracted services may be complete. This also gives you a chance to send gentle nudges towards other ways we can work together in the future. It’s YOUR job to educate them and leave them feeling so happy and satisfied.
Most clients remember the END of the experience most because it’s likely the most recent communication with you, so you want to always leave relationships well, happy, and highly satisfied! Your follow through can either make or break their total experience so make sure to follow all the steps listed in this guide so that when the time comes, you can ask your clients for a review or a testimonial and they will gladly leave a raving one that you can plaster all over your website and social media.
The Big Picture
In the end, you want to make sure that your clients got more than they were expecting in terms of service and products. Ensure they felt valued as human beings and respected as clients. The happiest clients feel a personal connection with you and thus feel connected to your business. And the biggest goal of all, your clients are excited to go out into the world and share your work (and YOU!) Always remember that you are blessed to get to do whatever you do for a living. Treat every client as though they are your only client and have fun! You are being CHOSEN to work with. Cherish that, embrace it, and give it your all. If you do all of these things and smile while you do them, your clients will turn into raving fans.