The Power of First Impressions for an Unforgettable Client Experience
Think of client service like being a translator. Just like a translator who speaks many languages, giving great client service means understanding the needs of your client and your business. The goal? Make sure both sides get each other, loud and clear.
It may not always be a piece of cake, but it’s really important. And that’s why this guide is here – to help you understand the tough bits and make your journey easier.
Let’s jump right in and discover how to make clients happy, and how to make your services the best they can be. Simply put, this guide is your map to going above and beyond for your clients.
This episode shares:
- The necessity of designing a well-defined service delivery process
- The role of continuous and effective communication in service delivery
- The significance of adding unexpected elements to elevate the client experience
- The importance of personalisation in service delivery for a human touch
- The power of regular updates in managing client emotions and expectations
- The view of client service as an ongoing journey aiming for exceeding client expectations
Mapping Out the Delivery Process
“Look at your service, look at the service you have sold your client, and I want you to really think about the steps that you take to complete that service”
Your service delivery process is the roadmap that defines how you’ll navigate your client’s journey. It’s essential to break down your service into its basic steps, identifying all the necessary resources and pieces of information you’ll need from your clients to execute the tasks effectively.
You can do this by creating timelines or defining milestones based on your workflow. Whether your process takes a week or is outcome-based, mapping it out ensures you have a clear direction. Remember, the aim is to prevent unnecessary disruptions that may hinder your momentum. Efficiency is key here.
Action: 🎯Use a project management tool to track the process, milestones, and timeline for each task. This will provide a visual guide, making it easier to manage.
The Power of Effective Communication
Effective communication is crucial in setting the tone for your service delivery. Anticipate the type of information you’ll need from your clients and strategise on how you could receive it sooner in the journey. Consistent updates and check-ins throughout the journey also help in keeping your clients informed about the progress of their work.
Furthermore, acknowledging your client’s emotions and expectations along the journey will improve your relationship and their perception of your service. Regular communication can alleviate any anxieties and answer any arising questions.
Action: 🎯 Regularly send updates to your clients, even if there is no significant progress. This keeps them in the loop and reassures them that their project is on track.
The Significance of Frequent and Purposeful Communication
With frequent communication comes the need for purposeful interaction. As an online business manager (OBM), your connection with your clients is crucial. Therefore, each interaction should carry weight. This means having clear objectives or discussion points during each conversation and not wasting their time with unnecessary chit-chat.
When it comes to communication modes, consider different ways to reach your clients that align with their preferences and the context of the conversation. Whether it’s through a project management system, Zoom calls, emails, or even WhatsApp messages, ensure it fits the context and frequency of the communication.
Tip: 💡To determine your clients’ communication preferences, simply ask them. This will enhance your communication and ensure they are comfortable and satisfied with the process.
Surprise and Delight: The X-Factor in Client Service Delivery
One way to enhance your client service delivery is to add elements of surprise and delight. These could range from sending your clients small thoughtful gifts to providing additional services that make their journey easier and more enjoyable. These gestures show your clients that you’ve gone the extra mile to consider their needs and preferences.
Action: 🎯 Keep a list of potential ‘surprise and delight’ items or services you can provide your clients. Tailor these to your clients’ preferences to ensure they find them useful and enjoyable.
Personalisation: The Human Touch in Service Delivery
Personalization is a powerful tool in client service delivery. It involves showing empathy and understanding during your client’s journey, especially during challenging times. In these moments, a simple gesture like sending a card or flowers can make your client feel seen and appreciated.
It’s worth noting that it’s impossible to anticipate every situation that may occur. Hence, keeping a backup list of potential gestures or actions can be a handy tool in managing unexpected circumstances.
Tip: 💡Add a reminder in your calendar for your client’s upcoming birthday. Sending them a small birthday gift is a thoughtful gesture that adds a personal touch and helps foster a deeper connection with your clients. It shows that you value them as individuals and goes a long way in building a stronger relationship.
Meeting Client Expectations and Emotions: Building an Emotional Connection
So, we’ve talked about the process and communication, but there’s another crucial part of client service – understanding your clients’ feelings and expectations. It’s like being a friend who not only listens but also understands.
Try to put yourself in your clients’ shoes and imagine how they might feel at each step of the journey. It’s not always about facts and figures; sometimes, it’s about the emotional side of things. Maybe they’re feeling a bit anxious because they haven’t heard from you in a while, or they’re excited to see the results of your work.
The key is to keep them in the loop. Regular updates can work like a soothing balm for any worries they might have. It’s like telling your friend, “Hey, I’ve got this, and here’s what I’m doing.” It’s not about bombarding them with every little detail, but giving them a reassuring nudge that things are moving forward.
Even if there’s no big update, just a quick check-in can make a world of difference. It tells your client that you’re there, you’re working on their project, and you haven’t forgotten about them. It’s about making your communication frequent, meaningful, and most importantly, comforting.
Remember, we all like to feel valued and in the know, and your clients are no different. So, don’t underestimate the power of a simple update – it could be the bridge that strengthens your client’s trust in you.
Action: 🎯 Make a habit of updating your clients regularly, even if it’s just a quick “Hello, here’s what’s happening.” It keeps them reassured, involved, and most importantly, it shows that you value them.
The “Surprise and Delight” Factor: Going Beyond Expectations
Remember when you received that unexpected gift, or when someone went out of their way to help you? That’s what we call the “surprise and delight” factor. It’s about doing more than what’s expected and making your clients feel special.
In the world of client service, this could be something as simple as a personalised note or as grand as a gift box. It’s not about the size or cost of the gesture, but the thought and care behind it. These little surprises can add a spark to your clients’ experience and show them how much you appreciate them.
Imagine you’re a chef who doesn’t just cook the dish but adds an extra touch to make it stand out – maybe a special ingredient or a unique presentation. That’s what you want to aim for with your client service. You’re not just delivering a service; you’re creating an experience that they’ll remember.
Tip: 💡Start thinking about how you can add a “surprise and delight” element to your client service. It could be something specific to your client’s tastes or something universally enjoyable. The key is to make it thoughtful and personalised.
Personalising the Service Delivery Experience: Adjusting to the Rhythm
If there’s one thing you can expect in client service, it’s that no two clients are the same. Each one has their unique rhythm, preferences, and circumstances.
Maybe they have different communication styles or different ways of doing things. Or perhaps they’re going through a tough time and need a bit more flexibility. Being able to adapt to these differences and show understanding and empathy can go a long way in building a strong relationship with your clients.
Just think about it: how do you feel when someone adjusts their pace to walk with you, or when they adapt their plans to accommodate your needs? It feels good, right? That’s exactly how your clients feel when you personalise your service to fit their circumstances. Stay open and flexible in your service delivery
Tip: 💡Be ready to adjust your plans and processes to match your clients’ unique rhythms. It might take a bit of effort, but the trust and loyalty you’ll earn from your clients will be worth it.
Wrapping it up
“Delivering client service is not a one-time event but an ongoing journey.”
In conclusion, creating an amazing client service delivery experience requires a strategic blend of process mapping, effective and frequent communication, and the incorporation of surprise and delight elements. Lastly, personalising your service delivery underscores your empathy and dedication to your clients’ needs.
Crafting an exceptional client service delivery isn’t just about ticking boxes or crossing tasks off a list. Instead, it’s a unique blend of understanding your clients’ needs, connecting with their emotions, and going beyond their expectations. It’s about painting a picture of care, dedication, and respect for your client, showing them they are valued and understood.
So, as you go back to your business, remember these insights. Use them as your compass to guide your actions and decisions. Start today and transform your service delivery from good to extraordinary. Remember, every interaction with your clients is an opportunity to create an experience that resonates with them, makes them feel appreciated, and keeps them coming back.
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Follow along with the transcript
E12 Creating Amazing Client Service Delivery Experiences: Giving clients what they need, when they need it, the way they need it
Leanne Woff: [00:00:00] hello. Hello. Welcome to another episode of The Audacious OBM. I’m Leanne Woff and [00:01:00] today we are talking creating amazing client service delivery experiences, giving clients what they need, when they need it, the way they need it. So I wanted to tackle this as part of our Creating Amazing Experiences series.
And so we’ve covered why we need to do it. We’ve covered the onboarding experience to create, now we’re looking at service delivery. So this is the part where you actually do the work, where you deliver, right? So the first thing that we are going to do is map out our delivery process. Now, what I mean by this is look at your service, look at the service you have sold your client, and I want you to really think about the steps that you take [00:02:00] to complete that service and what you need to be able to do it well.
So the information that you need, and it might be assets that you need from clients, but just do a map of that because these are our known factors, right? So we always start there. Let’s map them out. Now you can do this using timelines or using milestones. So depending on how you work, if you know that. You know, it usually takes you a week to do a certain thing or two weeks to do a certain thing.
You could map out your delivery based on that time, or you can do it based on outcome. Okay? Once I’ve taken the brief, that’s this milestone, then I do the first draft, then I, and create your milestones. So either way is fine. We just wanna get some of our [00:03:00] known quantities down right. Now, once we know the things that have to happen and we know the things that we need to make them happen, I want you to think about communication.
I want you to think about. What ways could we possibly get all of those assets or get that information sooner in the journey? So I know that I spoke to you in our last episode about my onboarding process and how I ended up creating this massive client onboarding form, but I didn’t explain what really led me to do that.
And it was when I was looking at my service delivery and I was looking at. Where are the delay points or where are the bits where we’re asking for more things or I can’t make a decision and then I have to go back to the client, and it was [00:04:00] these places where I didn’t have enough information and I thought if I could just have all of that information upfront, then when I get into delivery, I have my foundation knowledge, but I also have the exact pieces that I need from the client already, and then I can just keep going.
Because here’s the thing, right? If you are working on something and you are getting some traction and it feels good, everything is making sense, you wanna keep doing that, you don’t want to stop that boulder from rolling. You wanna keep going and get it done. And if we stop and start all the time, we’re actually less efficient because we have to get back into understanding what it is we’re working on, where we stopped, what we left off, and we switched to something else.
So we are context switching too much. So it was that that caused me to make that big form. I actually looked at each step [00:05:00] of my, each step of my process so that I could then get what I needed. And the whole project would run smoother and it worked. The other things. So not only asking for pieces of information, but the other type of communication I want you to think about is how your client is feeling as you progress through this journey.
What are they thinking about? What are they feeling? What are their questions? And what is their perception? Of what you are doing. Because I know if I work with a supplier and they say to me, yep, cool, it’s gonna take one month to do it. And then I sign off and they do the engagement, and then I don’t hear from them for three of those weeks.
I start to get a little bit nervous. Are they still doing it? Have they forgotten about me? Don’t they need my [00:06:00] logo? And I create all of these questions in my head, that might not be true at all, purely because I’ve not heard anything. And then I feel the need as a customer to email and go, just checking you haven’t forgotten. And then hope they don’t get offended. And I really think that this is something that we need to tackle better in our OBM businesses, is thinking about what is the client’s perception here? Because I know I said to them, I’m going to deliver this thing in two weeks, and no, it hasn’t been two weeks yet, but maybe I need to give them an update before that two weeks is up, even if it is a, Hey, I’m just checking in.
I wanted to let you know that I’ve done phase one of this job. It’s looking good, and I’ll be back in touch if I need something more. None of this has to be super impressive or, like lots of detail. It is more [00:07:00] about easing some of those concerns and answering some of those questions your clients might have.
So I want you to think about the important messages along that journey, along that delivery process you just mapped out. And you might have a few different ones of these depending on what services you offer, right? And it’s not always going to be the same thing. If your service changes, the process changes.
And some of this will translate across, but not always. So you might need a few. So let’s map those important messages, answer the important questions. Think about our clients. Another thing I want you to do is start to really think about the frequency of your communication. So we work quite closely with clients.
We’re online business managers. And it might be okay if you were an accountant and you spoke to your clients once a fortnight or once a month [00:08:00] and you had, a regular meeting scheduled in and every quarter you did their tax. And that might work well and that might be all your clients need. But for OBMS, that’s not the case.
We are in, in, in businesses and we need our connection with our clients to thrive, for their businesses to thrive. So our communication has to be much more frequent. And the more frequent means it needs to be more purposeful. And what I mean by that is we don’t wanna just send messages to say, hi, how are you?
Hi, how are you? And it doesn’t actually have any substance. We wanna communicate clearly. We want to go to them with clear objectives or clear discussion points, so we are not wasting their time, especially if we need to talk to them a lot. And obviously we still want the friendly approach, but we don’t just want conversation for no purpose.[00:09:00]
So if you are working with OBM clients, think about how you communicate, what form, what mode of communication? Do you meet with them in person? Do you WhatsApp? Do you have a Task Management System? Do you do Zoom calls? Because if you’re frequently talking to someone, the likelihood is you need different modes of communication.
You don’t wanna sit on Zoom all day every day just to get a question answered. So I really want you to think about the different ways you can talk to your clients and how frequently they want information from you and how frequently they actually wanna see the progress and how they wanna see it, because that matters.
So we’re looking at, and I know a lot of this is unknown, you might not know the answers to these. I don’t know how [00:10:00] my clients want me to talk to them. I don’t know how often. I don’t know if they want me to update them when I finished every phase or when I finished three phases. It’s always gonna change and there is no exact answer.
The best thing. That you can do is ask them. And that’s what I did. And that’s how I built out my delivery process. The next thing that I want you to factor in is the points where you’re going to need sign off or you’re going to need, permission to proceed to the next step. So if you are looking at your process and you’re like, okay, here I like, here is a clear cut draft one is finished before I do draft two, I’m going to need it signed off.
And then I want you to factor in when you could possibly start communicating that [00:11:00] with your client so that they know, hey, when we get to this stage, this time, this date, I’m gonna need you to set aside some time to review this. Here’s how much time I think. Here’s what it is. Here is the impact. If we don’t get it done on time.
Now this is a big one. Sometimes we forget to explain why we need it, and we assume the client knows. “Well, they know if they don’t do their bit, I can’t do my bit.” Yes, you’re correct. They absolutely do know that, but they don’t know the impact on the project as a whole because they’re not in it. They’re not looking at the whole timeline because that’s your job.
So we need to explain to them, Hey, if I can’t do this bit on time, it means this piece is gonna be delayed. We’re not gonna get to the printer in time, and then we won’t be able to have this asset at all. [00:12:00] So try and be as clear as you can just to create that full understanding. The less guessing our clients have to do the better.
Okay, next thing, factor in, surprise and delight. Now this bit is my favorite. So we looked at our process, we’ve mapped out when we’re talking to clients, what we’re talking to them about, the different things that we might need from them, the different points that they need to be aware of, that we need them to keep some time aside for us, how we’re communicating with them.
Do we have an email nurture? Do we have a process where we send a text message? Is it client calls? What does this look like? Now we get to our ‘surprise and delight’, and that’s where I look at the process and I go; right, now what other [00:13:00] ways and what other things can I implement to make them feel good or to make this journey easier?
And that’s when I start sending gift boxes or pencils or I remember I used to send my clients sprout pencils, so it’s like a gray lead pencil, and once you’re finished using it, you put it in a pot with soil and it turns into a herb. It grows. Just different things depending on what your clients like and need.
It might be that you work with a lot of a D H D clients. And so instead of sending them sprout pencils, you might send them, an A D H D organizer planner. There’s so many different things you can do that will make your client’s journey easier and just give that little bit of a perk for them.
The, hey, they’ve really thought about this and they thought about me and this [00:14:00] is amazing. And just keep, as long as we’re delivering everything we need to deliver. We’re communicating and then we’ve got this extra thing, like the experience is amazing. Like we’re trying to not just do the mediocre experience that anyone could do.
We’re trying to be amazing, and I think that this is a really easy way to do it. The other thing I want you to think about is points of personalization. Now, what I mean here is life is not linear. And it’s not like that for our clients either. And so it doesn’t matter how much we plan, sometimes our plans aren’t going to come off the way we want them to, and we can’t account for every situation that will ever occur.
So for instance, in OBM Academy, one of my students, her dad passed away. [00:15:00] And I could have just continued on my way delivering the content and going above and beyond and trying to make sure everybody understood what we were doing and make sure they were progressing and they were getting the results they needed.
But right then, this student didn’t need that. What she needed was someone to see her and appreciate her and recognize what she was going through. And so instead, I sent her flowers and she was completely surprised and amazed because I thought about it and because there is no way I could have assumed that was gonna happen and I did what I thought I could do that might make it just the teeniest, tiniest bit easier, or for her to feel less alone.
And so that’s what I’m saying, have. What you could have is like a backup list, okay? If we know that someone’s sick or having a hard time, here’s a list [00:16:00] of different things or different suppliers where we can source something and send it to them. Or it could be a card. It could be a special pack you have in your office.
It could be, okay, if I have a client and they’re going to have a birthday, this is what we’re gonna do. If I have a client and they’re getting married, this is the kind of thing I wanna do. So look for, some of those points where it might not be clear cut, but you know, you want the human element of you to come out there.
All right. And then the final thing, this is a really big one, are you listening? It is. Listen closely. Listen closely. A lot of the time, our clients are telling us what they need, but we’re not hearing it. And filling that need will [00:17:00] make the experience amazing for them. So if they’re repeating something like, ‘I’m really, really visual’, and you keep sending them emails that are written, they’re going to be frustrated that entire time, not because you’ve done something wrong.
But because you missed the opportunity to present something in the way they needed it to make it feel amazing. If they’re saying to you, I’m just wondering where this is up to. I’m just wondering where this is up to. Do you need anything from me? That’s telling you, you’re not communicating enough. So I want you just to listen to the things that aren’t being said or the things that are being said.
But we’re not paying enough attention to them because we’re so involved in meeting our deliverables and just getting it done. So if we can look for things like that and be aware and pay more attention and then put in place some things to [00:18:00] improve those, your experience will be amazing. So, I hope that that has helped and it has given you an understanding of how you can craft an intentional, amazing client service delivery experience with you.
So not only do you deliver exceptional work, but they feel incredible the whole time. Thanks for listening. I’ll chat to you next week.