This article follows a previous article – How the Client Experience Elevates Referrals – to help you not only understand what a Client Experience (CX) is but how to follow a few simple steps to up-level your CX next year.
In the first article, I explained what is a sticky client experience using the two parts that you deliver on that makes up the CX equation, when the CX starts (not to be confused with the buyer’s journey), what makes a CX “sticky” and why a sticky CX is important. If you haven’t read that article yet, I encourage you to go back to read it first before continuing with this article.[After reading this article, check out the Stacey Brown Randall Live Show (Episode 15) where I discuss in more detail the idea of sticky clients.]
Your clients feel a certain way when working with you – from start to finish – whether you are intentional about it or not. So, it is important to make sure that you deliver on an experience in an intentional way that allows your clients to feel the way you want them to feel…like they are connected to you, they know they mean more than a number or dollar amount…ultimately that you care.
Maya Angelou’s timeless quote sums it up well…
“…people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Your clients will forget what you said and what you did – especially over time. But if you are intentional about how you deliver your work and build a relationship with them (remember the ring and proposal explanation of the CX equation), they will have a feeling that they associate with you. And the more powerful and positive the feeling is, the longer the feeling will last.
I remember when I used to be a real estate agent (2006 – 2009) and one of my very first clients – that I am still connected to – still talks about, now 10 years later, what an amazing agent I was and how much he loved working with me. I laugh now when I think back to working with this client. It was a tough assignment, I had to help a husband find a home that his wife would approve of (he was house hunting alone in the new city they were moving to) that met some very specific specifications (like an entryway that would fit a beloved piece of furniture).
His feeling about me was through an intentional client experience which included doing the work well – finding the right home – but also in building the relationship. I took time to get to know him and his family while we spent hours house hunting. But it was also the intentional steps I took when we first started working together, when he was a “new” client, and those steps I took after our work together was done. Most of what I did was following a process – my CX process – so I could make sure he had the type of experience I wanted him to have. Which allowed him to feel a certain way about me and the work we did.
An easy place to start to examine your current CX is considering what it looks like – from your client’s perspective – to work with you. What do you think they feel, go through, consider when they work with you?
Then once you have a handle on what your clients think of your current CX you can apply a few simple steps to help you can up-level the current experience. Keep in mind it is pretty hard to up-level a CX when you don’t know what your CX looks like now. So, first step is to start with identifying the current CX.
When you are ready to up-level what you are doing, you will want to follow a few simple steps.
1. Set Expectations
A client should never wonder what it will be like to work with you. They should understand the steps or phases they will go through once they decide to hire you. You need to outline what to expect and then as they move through the process with you, you need to keep them informed as to where they are in the process. What setting expectations could look like for your business has more to do with the type of work you do. There isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all-approach for setting expectations but a best practice I teach my students inside my Sticky Client Experience program is to communicate the process verbally and in writing that is easy to reference too.
2. Thank Early
According to research by Design Symphony, it was found that across all industries businesses lose 20 to 60% of clients within first 100 days. Why is this? It is because when a client decides to work with you they experience a few emotions…elation or satisfaction that they are going to solve the problem through hiring you but then also buyer’s remorse.
You need to be prepared to overcome any buyer’s remorse and an easy way to do that is to thank early in the process. Meaning think of a way you can show your thankful and gratitude that they are becoming a client soon after they make the decision to work with you. A best practice is to also remind them – while thanking them – as to how you are going to help them solve their issue as well (the whole reason they decided to hire you).
3. Add in a ‘WOW’
What is a wow? A wow is adding in something your client doesn’t expect that builds and strengthens the connection they have with you. A wow doesn’t have to be complicated or complex and it certainly doesn’t have to cost a lot. But every business – especially every service provider – should make sure that their CX has one ‘wow’ or maybe two mixed in.
Remember, it is important to be intentional with your Client Experience. I encourage you to consider what is your Client Experience today and how can you use the three simple steps above to up-level your Client Experience for next year?
Your business will thank you…and so will your clients!