Client Process & Why You Need to Stick to It
Why It’s Important
My business is still pretty new, but one thing that’s always been important from the start was the client experience. I wanted my process to be more than just an exchange of money and service, I wanted it to be a meaningful experience and develop meaningful relationships.
I recently came across this quote from Judy Wicks, who wrote Good Morning Beautiful Business and I think it’s a good way to introduce why our process and client’s experience is worth stopping to think about:
She said this:
Business, I learned, is about relationships. Money is simply a tool. What matters most are the relationships with everyone we buy from, sell to, and work with—and our relationship with Earth itself. My business was the way I expressed my love of life, and that’s what made it a thing of beauty.
The experience isn’t just about person to person—but design to person, process to person and product to person. All of these things will affect my client so I want them to thought through and intentional. At least for me, whoever said this was right: “don’t deliver a product, deliver an experience.”
Why You Need to Follow It
I know better than anyone how important having a set process that you follow for every client no matter what. I used to work for a small landscape design firm and there was no process. I would push the owner often to set one up and stick to it. We finally set it up but we couldn’t stick to it because to him, each client was different and one set process will not work for everyone.
I now laugh thinking about this because here I am, knowing how important this process is and I find myself doing the same thing that he was—tailoring the process to fit the client. Please don’t do this! I’ll tell you why… Having a process will never turn a client away—if anything it will show the professionalism and pride you take in your business and in your clients. If a client comes to you and starts to run the show and take over your process, take a step back and say, “Hold on. I would love to work with you, but I have a process and this is why___. Let me tell you what it is.” The why is because it avoids confusion, it helps the client to get the best experience possible and the best product possible.
My client process is broken down into three parts: client onboarding, the work itself, and the wrap-up.
1. Client onboarding
- Client meeting to discover what they are looking for
- Contract/Proposal that outlines the services
- Client discovery questionnaire that gives more insight into their brand, their clientele, and their marketing strategy
2. Design work
- Mood board that echoes the conversation I had with the client
- First proof of the main logo and revisions
- Final proof of the main logo (as long as there are no other revisions)
- First proof of the font choices, color choices, graphics and patterns and revisions (if any)
- Final proof of items listed above
- Digital delivery (PDF) of all the files I created and any education necessary to use them
- After the project, I am available for any questions you may have regarding the work I’ve completed
- Finally, I send a gift because my process is long and personal and it’s a way I can thank my clients for spending their time and money with me
If you find that your process is difficult to use for all of your clients and you find yourself changing the process to fit each one, maybe there is a problem with your process. Take a look at your process if you already have one and figure out what is realistic and what isn’t. If there is something in your process that you never seem to get to, maybe you have it set at the wrong stage or you need to simplify something about it.
If you don’t have a process at all, I would highly suggest you create one. My client experience greatly suffered when I just rushed things and tried to just get the work done. Not having a process only makes things more difficult for you and your client and that client will likely never refer you.