20 Ways to Improve Your Client Experience
My favorite way to get new clients is through referrals. I am over-the-moon ecstatic when my clients had a great experience working with me, and then told all their friends to hire me. ;) I love my clients and chances are good that I’ll like their friends too! As a kid, I was taught: “Do what you love, the very best you can, and people will come.”
And that’s why when I first started my business, I invested a lot of time into laying out a design process that creates a wonderful experience for each client. I want them to feel cared for and heard. I want them to know that I really value their business and that I’m invested into making their website dreams come true.
After each project, I evaluate what worked, what felt clunky and then take steps to improve my process so that it’s more enjoyable for the next client. I continue to dream up and implement new ideas that make the design process even more fun and easy for clients. And, I’m constantly asking for feedback from past clients so that I can continue to improve my process.
A lot of you also have service-based businesses, so I thought I’d help ya’ll out by sharing 20 different ways to improve your client experience, with the hope that as you provide your clients with an unforgettable experience, the “people will come!”
20 Ways to Improve Your Client Experience
1) Respond to inquiries promptly.
Now this doesn’t mean you need to spend all day glued to your email or DMs. Instead, set up automated replies so that people know you’ve received their inquiry right away. Then, you can set aside time later to personally respond to all your inquiries.
2) Utilize email templates to help you provide thorough, intentional, on-brand replies to any type of question or request.
Taking the time to write individual replies to every single email is not only inefficient, but leaves you in a position to accidentally leave out important information or respond in an inarticulate way.
Rather than writing each individual reply from scratch and risk inbox overwhelm, take some time to think about the most common email requests or questions you receive. Then, write out thoughtful, on-brand email templates for each type of email request/question, making sure to cover all of the important information. Then, when an email comes in, you can just pull up your template, adjust it slightly to fit the specific inquiry, and send it off quickly.
By taking time to sit down and write out these templated replies, not only are you being efficient with your time, but you’re giving yourself the opportunity to craft very thorough, thoughtful emails that are professional and a positive representation of your brand.
3) Use an online scheduler to set appointments.
Rather than go back and forth in a long email chain - trying to find a time that works for both people, send a scheduler that shows your availability and clients can just choose the time that works for them. Not only is it easier and a big time saver, it shows your client that you value their time.
Looking for a scheduling app to use? A popular choice for Squarespace users is Acuity, as it easily integrates with Squarespace. But personally, I've been using a scheduler through my CRM tool - Dubsado*.
*This page includes affiliate links. When you purchase something using that link, I make a commission at no extra cost to you. That being said, I only recommend the products/software/services that I personally use myself and would recommend to my friends! Thank you for helping me support my family as I help support your growing business!
4) During the first consultation or throughout the inquiry phase, take the time to really listen and understand your client’s problems and their goals.
Ask specific questions to help you figure out what their pain points are, what their goals are, and what the success of the project will look like to them. Then, you can come up with creative solutions that solve their problems, help to achieve their goals, and help close the gap between where they stand currently and where they want to go. This is a great opportunity to build trust in your expertise and better serve your client.
5) Find ways to surprise and delight your clients and potential clients.
I wrote a whole blog post about this here and Pat Flynn, host of the Smart Passive Income Podcast, has a great episode on it here, so I won’t go into too much detail; but surprising and delighting your clients refers to doing unexpected things that show you care about and appreciate them. These unanticipated, positive moments give your customers “warm fuzzies,” thus creating a more positive client experience and helping to instill brand loyalty.
6) In the same vein as the previous tip, throughout your process, find ways to underpromise and over deliver.
Jenna Kutcher has a great podcast episode where she discusses “5 Secrets to Happy Clients,” one of which is to underpromise and over deliver, found here. I love her idea of giving yourself a cushion for the delivery time so that you can deliver the final product early, to the delight of your customers. And at the very least, it ensures you won’t deliver late! I also love how she talks about added bonuses and client gifts that she worked into her process. Check it out - it’s worth a listen! The key here is to be very thoughtful and blow your clients’ socks off!
7) Make it easy for new clients to begin working with you with E-Sign for contracts and invoices you can pay online.
I use Dubsado to create online contracts and invoices so my clients can simply pay and sign online. They don’t have to mess with the printing, then signing, then scanning, then emailing drama. It’s all simple and easy online. Click here, sign here, pay here. Done.
8) Provide a response after your client pays an invoice.
Even an auto-reply will do! Just take the time to thank them for their business after they’ve made a payment to your business.
9) Keep all client files and important documents in one safe place.
For example, in my business, I provide each of my clients an online portal through Dubsado. In the client portal, I store all of the files and documents pertaining to the project, such as the executed contract, invoices, design questionnaire, and content worksheet. This way, things are organized and less likely to get lost. The client portal is also a time-saver for me - since my clients have access to their client portal, they don’t have to ask me for copies of any of their files.
10) Clearly communicate your policies, expectations and instructions with your client at the beginning of the project.
For example, I have a Welcome Packet that I give to my clients at the beginning of the project that clearly outlines my process, how I batch work to specific days, how they can contact me, the timeline of the project, what I need from them, how to send their documents, how to provide feedback and the next steps in the process. (This is a good place to implement tip #6).
11) Before the project or work begins, make sure you and your client on the same page in regards to the project goals and objectives.
In the last tip, I talked about being clear about your expectations, policies and instructions. For this tip, the key is to make sure you understand your client’s expectations.
I like to do this by writing up a design brief for each client. First, I carefully read all the notes I have from their initial inquiry, consultation, design questionnaire, content worksheet, and any email correspondence. Then, I write it up into a design brief that discusses in detail - the project goals, objectives, specific functionalities they requested for their website and their brand identity.
I want them to be able to see that I completely understand their expectations, their brand, and the project objectives, before I even start on the design. This gives my clients the opportunity to provide clarity or further explanation at the beginning of the project.
This process of outlining project objectives and requiring client approval, helps to shore up expectations from the beginning. This initial communication is key to starting on a good foot and keeping the project focused on the client’s main goals.
12) Communicate clearly and often with your clients.
I used to worry about sending too many emails to my clients, but then I started to notice that whenever I went longer than a week or two without sending an update, sure enough, I’ll get an email from the client asking how things are going.
Their project is important to them and they are eager to launch their new website. Therefore, communicating frequently with clients about the project progress is helpful in preventing clients from feeling anxious or forgotten. It lets them know that their project is equally important to me as it is to them and that I’m consistently making progress. In my workflow, I have project checkpoints/email check-ins built in to keep clients informed on the progress of their website.
13) In line with communicating often, at the beginning of the project, provide your client a timeline. Then, continue to update the client to show where you’re at on the timeline so they can see the project progress.
This is especially important for projects that last several weeks. It keeps your clients keyed in to the process and provides reminders of when their responsibilities (such as content, revisions or approvals) are due.
I use Dubsado’s task boards to create a timeline of the project that I share with my client. I make sure to keep it up to date so they can see where I’m at and when their tasks (such as submitting approvals or content or payments) are due.
14) When you complete the work, walk the client through a presentation explaining why you did what you did in terms they can understand, giving them more confidence in your work and trust in your expert decisions.
For example, whenever I deliver a mood board or the first preview of their new website, I also send a video or detailed written explanation of the rationale behind my design decisions. I walk the client through the whole design and provide insight on why I chose each element.
This can apply to a lot of different industries. For example, for an accountant, you could walk your client through their tax returns and discuss the deductions you applied and why, using laymen’s terms. No jargon here. We have a great electrician who after completing the job, takes the time to show me exactly what he fixed, why he fixed it, along with some tips and things I should look out for moving forward. Its apparent that he is an expert and thorough, giving me peace of mind and confidence in his work.
Therefore, take the time to walk your clients through your work and to help them feel confident in your decisions and expertise.
15) Lead your client to providing useful, constructive feedback by asking specific, relevant questions.
For example, when I submit a mood board or a website preview, I provide a feedback form with specific questions about the design. That way, the feedback is focused and useful. Rather than get feedback like, “I just don’t like the vibe,” which isn’t super helpful in making improvements, guided questions generate specific and useful feedback.
I like to ask specific questions such as, “Is the layout easy to use and intuitive?” "Does the design resonate with your target market? If not, what about the design doesn’t fit your audience?” I can get even more specific with questions like: “Does the color palette appeal to your target audience and fit your brand’s messaging? If not, which colors do not fit?”
With clear, focused feedback, you can make specific improvements and adjustments rather than keep shooting in the dark.
16) Go above and beyond by providing your clients with training, education or helpful tips.
For example, before the new site launches, I provide my clients a full lesson teaching them how to use their new website. After the site launches, I also send them tutorials and tips to help them maintain their website moving forward, along with a recording of the lesson.
17) At the end of working with your clients or customers, let them know how they can get help from you in the future and let them know what other services you provide.
You may feel weird about providing this information, I mean they already purchased from you once! But, really this is helpful for them! Your clients already trust you and know the quality work you provide. It’s a lot more comfortable for them to hire someone they already know and trust for future work. By providing a list of the other services you offer, they know exactly how to get support from you moving forward if needed and for you, this is a great way to encourage repeat client work.
For example, at the end of each of my projects, I provide clients a guide that shows them how to get help with their website should they need it, as well as a list of the other services I provide for future reference.
18) Follow up with clients after the project is over to check in and make sure that your work is running smoothly for them.
An easy way to do this is to put together an email template that you can customize for each client. Then, use an automation system (such as Dubsado), to schedule the email to go out a week or two after the project wraps up. This helps your client feel cared for and wraps up the project on a positive note.
19) Establish consistent processes that allow you to provide the same quality of service for every client.
Imagine that a past client of yours raved about you to their friends - the clear way you communicated, your organized process, the sweet gift you sent as the project ended - and then one of those friends becomes your new client. Now imagine that because you don’t have a clear, repeatable process, you end up not doing all of those things for that particular client? Ouch. Stay consistent in your processes so that every client can have the same quality experience while working with you.
20) And finally, I’m just going to go ahead and say it...the last tip I have to improve your client experience is to start with a professional, user-friendly website.
I know - it’s a shameless plug for website design services, but hear me out! You want the first impression of your business to be a positive one!
Have you ever been on a website that is so disorganized or poorly designed that it looks a little shady? You might be thinking, “This can’t be a real, legitimate business, right...” Or maybe you tried to find something important like their phone number and it’s impossible to find? It’s frustrating!
These days, people spend a lot of time on many different websites. As site-connoisseurs, they’ve subconsciously developed pretty high standards for websites. A sketchy website that is hard to navigate definitely doesn't leave the most positive first impression.
Furthermore, people usually aren't ready to purchase from you the minute they land on your website, especially if you provide a high ticket item or service. Instead, your website can provide ways that potential clients can get to know you and build trust in your brand such as free, useful content in the form of blog posts, podcast episodes, an email newsletter, or links to your social media.
When they are finally ready to purchase, make sure to provide a clear way for them to begin working with you on your website. You don’t want to make them search around for it! Keep it easy and simple! I like to provide clear, call to action buttons on every page, at the top and the bottom, so people can easily see how to get started working with me.
In addition to creating a positive first impression for potential clients, your website can also be a valuable tool and resource for your current clients. Your website can provide answers to the questions people ask you most. For example, if clients are always asking when your office is open, you can include your hours of operation on your website. If people ask for directions, provide an address that links to directions on Google maps. If people often ask how to access specific forms or documents, consider providing links to those commonly used forms or access to their client portal from your website. You can also create a Frequently Asked Questions page for them to reference.
It’s also important to provide clients an easy way to contact you from your website, such as a contact form. I also recommend providing the contact email address typed out in addition to the contact form because some people prefer to send an email directly rather than use the contact form.
If you’re ready to improve your client experience with a user-friendly, professional website, feel free to reach out!