One of the best pieces of advice I have for those starting a business is to cultivate an exceptional client experience from the moment you begin taking clients. This goes beyond taking great photos. This is how your client experiences your business from start to finish. From your social media platforms to your website, to when they first contact you, you set the tone for their interaction with your business. Once you harness your client experience then you can leverage the relationships you’ve cultivated by building your business through referrals. Here are my tips for upleveling your client experience.
Make it easy for your client to work with you
There are few things that can stall business growth more than subpar communication. If it takes you more than 24-48 hours to respond to inquiries or questions, then you are setting the tone that your potential client’s time and energy aren’t important. I doubt this is your intention and I know you have a life outside of your business but it doesn’t change the fact that is the message they are receiving. However, there is an easy solution to this even if you’re not in a place to hire help yet.
Set up a CRM, client relationship management system. My favorites are Honeybook and Dubsado. I’ve been using Dubsado for about four years, but both systems are solid investments. Both of these systems can do a lot more than just house templates, and improving your client experience begins by utilizing the automations they have. The first thing you want to set up is an autoresponder for anyone filling out the contact form. This email can give them more information on your services but it can also be as simple as confirming their email has arrived in your inbox and when they can expect a reply from you.
The next step in taking advantage of these systems is to set up full automations or workflows to take your client from contact to contract to completion. You can set up processes that automatically send prep guides, reminder emails, invoices, payment reminders, and more. This takes a little more work, or you can hire a professional to set it up for you. In either case, you will need to invest some time learning the system to manage it efficiently. What is the benefit of this investment? You will have clients being taken care of while you’re out shooting, sleeping, or spending time with your family. Win-Win-Win!
Set clear expectations and boundaries
Another great way to uplevel your client experience is to set clear expectations and boundaries for your client. You want to be crystal clear about what you can do for them, what they can expect from you, and what the client will be paying for.
A common mistake business owners make is allowing their clients to run the experience instead of them running the client’s experience. Clients often reach out to businesses with a preconceived notion of what they want to gain from the relationship. They can have the impression that because they are hiring you, they dictate how you manage their photoshoot. This is not the case, and being clear with your prospective clients means you will have clients that align with the boundaries you set.
Now, boundaries will look very different for each business owner because each of us has a different set of values driving those boundaries. One of my biggest values? Time. I cannot waste time, which is a large proponent of some of the boundaries I’ve established in my business. For example, my assistant manages the initial contact for all of our inquiries. She qualifies them to see if they’re a good fit and onboards them if they are. Then, I take over the client experience and plan the strategy and photoshoot. I spent a lot of time calling and connecting with prospective clients who weren’t a good fit and wasted hours each week in these conversations. Some other examples of boundaries:
- Having set business hours. Calls and emails are answered in a certain timeframe Monday-Friday or on certain days of the week. You can have a successful business and have 2-3 admin days a week. You simply need to let clients know when they can expect to hear from you. Set up that auto email in your CRM for new inquiries and set up a “vacation” responder in your email for any new emails coming in.
- Only taking photoshoots on certain days of the week and/or times of the day. Most business owners I know are people pleasers. When a client requests a specific day or time, we want to make that happen for them, but if it is outside of your shoot days or times, then it’s a no. You have chosen those days and times for a reason and working outside of them disrupts your flow.
- Not giving out your personal number. There are so many different apps you can use to generate a number for you that allows you to keep your personal number to yourself. This allows you to keep your peace by not fielding calls and texts when you’re off.
These are just a couple of examples. In order to start implementing boundaries in your business, you’ll want to brainstorm how you want to run your business and then build your boundaries from there.
Instill confidence in your client
Your client is coming to you as the expert in your field. They are going to want to lean on your expertise and experience to create a photoshoot that helps them reach their goals. One of the best ways you can accomplish this is by instilling confidence in your clients. This begins with their first contact with you.
- Show them you’re in control. Clients will always have questions, so be prepared to answer succinctly and confidently. If you’re not sure about something, tell them as much and what your solution is.
- Respect their time. We all have busy schedules, and you want to be sure you’re respecting their investment in you and your services.
- Hype them up! When it comes to the day of their photoshoot, you want to hype them up. Get them to have fun, laugh, and get out of their shell. This will ensure that you have candid photos that encapsulate their personalities.
Tips for Upleveling Your Client Experience
With these three tips in mind, you can help elevate the client experience to something that feels more like a relationship than just a transaction. Implementing these changes will keep your clients happy, referring you, and your business stays in growth mode. I hope these tips for upleveling your client experience helpful! If you are interested in more tips and hanging out with me head over to my Instagram!