I get it. You’re nice. If you’re anything like the women I work with, you likely have an overwhelming desire to deliver an amazing customer service experience so that your clients will recommend you to all their friends.
At first it often may even feel like the answer to the hustle you’re growing tired of to find that next elusive damn ideal client everyone is going on about.
Then it hits. The wall of “OMG what did I create?”.
You’ve got clients emailing you with obscure and way out of scope questions and demands. Your reaction is likely to either try to avoid them, hide your head, and ignore the issue in hopes it will go away or you enter martyrdom, tell yourself it’ll just be easier if you give in, and deliver what they want.
Keeping your client relationships on track can be exhausting.
I know you stress about disappointing your client. I mean, your reputation is everything to you so the last thing you want to do is offend your client or damage your reputation in any way.
Sound familiar, gorgeous one?
Client communication often becomes a sore spot for many creative entrepreneurs as they navigate working with several clients at once or are just starting out.
In today’s post I’m giving you my top ten processes I use to ensure the sticky situations stay at a minimum in my business.
- I dedicate the first time I meet a new client to designing the way we’ll work together. Yes this often means an extra hour of my time but it’s well worth it to set the project up for success from the get go AND I build it into my price. Isn’t it worth charging a little more knowing that your clients are the ones who’ll benefit and become your brand ambassadors?
- I let my clients know that like them, I too have a life outside of work and indicate that I likely won’t be responding to emails after 4pm or on weekends. In that same vein I don’t expect them to respond to me if I reach out to them during that time.
- I let them know that I prefer email over Skype. I often work in coffee shops or co-working spaces and I don’t want to be that annoying person who dominates the space with her conversation. You may prefer to talk or text. Neither is wrong or right. It’s all about preference.
- I give them specific examples of issues/topics that need to be communicated and examples of ones that do not require my feedback on.
- I also like to let them know my preference for receiving answers to my questions (Saved up and send as one conversation daily instead of individually in separate emails/conversations). I promise not to send them several one liners each day and ask they do the same.
- Feedback – I talk about what happens if they have a concern. I go into detail on what they can do and how to best resolve any issue that arises. I also ask how THEY like to receive feedback. I need to know how to say what I need to say without worrying about how they’ll handle it. If I know in advance what won’t trigger them, it creates a much better environment for success!
- I highlight my own policy on scope creep, client no-shows, unpaid invoices, and rescheduling.
- One of the big things we go over is what will happen if they don’t meet their own deadlines in getting information or decisions to me on time.
- We also talk what works best for them if they miss deadlines, go radio silent, or otherwise disengage.
- Finally, I get crystal clear on what my client’s expectations are on results. I find out what a win would look like. I find out what their fears and concerns are and I inquire what would disappoint them. I want to know how best to position my own support to make our collaboration an awesome experience for us both.
It’s my experience that building in these expectations and processes at the beginning of our relationship sets the tone for a positive and collaborative working relationship that bears fruit for us both.
I really hope you can take some of these ideas and incorporate them into your own client process. If you’d like some more 1:1 support around creating these specifically for your business, I’d be very interested in talking to you about how I can help you. Reach out when you’re ready. I’ll be here!
p.s. If you’d like to get my full workbook which has all these questions and others, scroll to the bottom of this page and grab your own copy of my Blueprint for Client Success!