“Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or price to continue doing business with you.” – Simon Sinek
One of the best decisions you can make for your business today is to design an engaging client experience that builds loyalty. Loyalty not only leads to happy clients, but establishes the foundation for a strong relationship that means you’ll have a client for life. And did I mention the possibilities for continued support? Happy clients will not only be willing to refer their friends to you, they won’t be able to stop raving about what a wonderful experience they had with you!
Choose to cultivate loyalty and strong relationships through intentional choices to the way you’re designing your client experience as a whole. Give your sweet clients something to love, and I guarantee they won’t be able to stop sharing the good news with everyone they know!
Delight through Strong Experiences
It’s simply not enough to serve clients through a bare bones set of encounters that only tick off the basic requirements for a project. Transactions leave us feeling disinterested and unimportant. Experiences draw us in, make us feel valued, and delight our senses! Experiences don’t have to be lavish or over the top in order to be effective. Focus on cultivating a series of thoughtful touch points, like a heartfelt thank you email after a client books you, that are intentionally scattered throughout the entirety of your project. For product-based businesses, go the extra mile by including joyful email updates to let your customer know their order is being packaged, when it’s shipped, and when it’s been delivered! Unexpectedly detail-oriented packaging never went amiss, either.
Serve through Transparency + Authenticity
Trust is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, and those dynamics are no different in the brand/client arena. By creating systems and experiences that are transparent and authentic, then we’re better able to establish trust with those we serve, all while building some serious street cred. A strong sense of trustworthiness means our clients will be more likely to invest in working with us, but more than that, it’s just good business. As boss ladies and as good-hearted people, we should approach all situations, both personal and professional, with some good old fashioned authenticity. Don’t you think?
Your clients or shop customers have their pick of professionals to work with. The fact that they chose you shouldn’t go unnoticed! Be sure to thank you clients or customers for booking with you or purchasing from your shop. That small act of kindness will not go unnoticed, and is such a fantastic way to let your clients know that you value their investment! I personally like to thank my branding clients for entrusting me with telling their brand’s story through design, as well as for the investment they’ve made to build a beautifully branded business. I want these tenacious clients of mine to know that I’m aware they could’ve partnered with any number of incredible designers, but I’m humbled they chose me and will do my best to serve them with all I have as a result.
Ask for Feedback (and Learn from It!)
A huge part of creating strong client experiences includes asking those sweet clients how we’re doing. End every project or sale with an optional feedback form or survey to see how you’re measuring up to their expectations! Not only will their answers give you a chance to rectify any (unintentional) mistakes while you still can, but you also can take their feedback into account as you move forward with serving new clients.
We delight customers by creating thoughtful experiences, but we can continue to delight them even further by not only meeting expectations, but exceeding them as well. I don’t know about you, but that’s an exciting possibility to me! Did you say you could have that proposal to your client by Thursday? Send it on Tuesday with an extra kind email totally unexpected! In your portrait client agreements, do you outline that galleries will be ready 10 business days after a shoot? Send it over in five days instead, and watch as the excited email filled with exclamation points rolls in. Exceeding expectations can even be as small as an unanticipated gift in the mail, or a truly heartfelt thank you card at the end of a project.
If you implement no other ideas from this post except for this one, I believe it will still have been worth it, friend! Ask your clients how their day is going, and listen to their response. Remember their birthday, wedding date or the anniversary of when y’all started working together. Remember that maybe your client is a little late in responding to your emails because she’s entertaining family this week, or she’s expecting her firstborn any week now. (And maybe send flowers when that little firstborn makes his or her debut!) We can best show our clients that we care by getting to know them, by genuinely caring about them as people, and letting them know that we are here for them. Give your clients the opportunity to feel valued by truly valuing them in the first place.
Now grab a piece of paper and write down five ways you can incorporate more thoughtfulness into your client experience today! And don’t just write down those ideas, map out the action steps it will take in order to bring those ideas to fruition, friend. You got this!