Whether you're have a service or product-based business, your clients are vital to the work you do. There is lots of advice out there for finding your ideal client and building your business based on your greater purpose, but there is another step to growing your business. Your clients need to love working with you! By figuring out your process, you'll be able to focus more time on serving your clients and less on the administrative side of things.
Set Up a Process
When you start out, it's easy to just wing it every time a new client hires you. And that might work for a while, but it isn't a great plan long term. You need to spend your time on what you love: whether that be designing, writing, or taxes; and not on answering emails and trying to keep track of inquiries.
- Start by thinking of how your clients find you. You need to make it easy for them to get from social media to your blog and from your blog to your services.
- Lay out each step of the process, including how a potential client contacts you and how you respond throughout your process. This could be through email, a document folder, or a client page (I use all three).
- Include time for revisions and responses if necessary. Sometimes a client may not be able to get back to you right away, so build in some room for that when you plan.
- Pay attention to the amount of time each step will take. While you may be able to expedite some parts of your process, you don't want to promise to get something delivered in a time frame that's going to demand that you work 16 hour days.
Delight Your Clients
As a christian entrepreneur, we must do our best work and giving anything less than that isn't honoring to God. He has anointed you to serve as a steward caring for His business, and you must treat it as such. Part of that involves delighting and serving your clients well.
Doing the extra mile and doing your best for every client is also a fantastic way to stand out in business. In a world full of mediocre customer service and hour long waits on hold, providing quick responses and little extras along the way can make all the difference in succeeding or just getting by. Happy clients are also the best way to find new clients you love: word of mouth is the best advertisement.
So, when you're busy running a business and juggling all the tasks that go along with that, how do you make delight a part of your process?
- Keep your clients updated about your progress.
- Deliver on or before the deadlines you set in place.
- Be friendly and open with everyone.
- Be honest about mistakes and delays (there's nothing worse than making excuses instead of apologizing and moving on).
- Take criticism well and help your clients see the process.
- Give a little extra. This could be a hand written note, a small gift, or an extra design piece.
- Remember dates and keep in touch after the work is done.
You Also Need to be Delighted
Serving your clients well is great and will certainly grow your business, but you need to make sure that the process is fair to you as well. You can only delight others if you're happy with the work you're doing.
- Charge fairly. Someone recently reminded me that before Jesus started His ministry, He was a carpenter. While He would have made great tables, He also would have charged fairly for them. There is no expectation for you to give away work for free or provide deep discounts because you want a certain client. Help them value your work and valuing yourself.
- Don't take on too much. Be fair to yourself when setting delivery dates, don't schedule too many clients at once. Leave yourself some breathing room in your schedule for taking care of yourself and your business.
As you continue to grow you business, remember to take the time to get your processes in place and find ways to delight the clients you already have instead of always being focused on the future. And don't forget to download my free client process worksheet to help you plan everything out step by step (it's the one I use!)