Design Your Signature Client Experience
Every business has a client experience, whether it’s intentionally designed or not. The big difference between premium services and brands compared to mainstream and commodity brands is this: the premium/luxury brands have intentionally designed their client experience, and they rarely deviate from it.
That is what we call the Signature Client Experience.
- What is a signature client experience?
- Why is it important?
- How do you design one?
- When is the right time to start designing your Signature Client Experience?
- What goes into the experience?
- What happens if things go south?
What is a Client Experience?
A client experience is everything that happens from the first touchpoint to the last, and then some. It starts when a potential client enters your ecosystem, either by responding to one of your ads, maybe visiting your store or showroom, by aimlessly scrolling through social media and seeing your post, or by a recommendation from someone they know.
The client experience starts immediately. It’s the first impression of your brand and frankly, it’s quite difficult to get a second chance. That’s why you must focus on creating the complete experience to be as wonderful as possible.
What do you need to know in advance?
The first step is knowing your buyer persona; their problems, needs, desires, and aspirations are key to creating a splendid experience. Then you need to know how to deliver delight for your clients, and how to package the whole experience into a process that you and your team can easily follow.
Why is it important to design a Signature Client Experience?
When you have created a signature experience, you intentionally need to put some effort into designing it to match your client’s expectations of quality and results. But you are also creating a structure for your business – and that structure is needed when you scale up.
In this guide, I’m sharing the 6 phases of a Signature Client Experience and a detailed list of materials, tools, strategies, and delightful touches that go into a premium/luxury design delivery.
Once you make the decision to grow and scale, you will be working on standardizing your services, products, and processes. Usually, the standardization work starts where it makes the most sense – it’s your client experience. After that, you can move on to the other parts of your business, most often the internal operations.
How do you design one and when is the right time?
The best way to start designing your Signature Client Experience is to map out your current process; what works and what doesn’t. Of course, if you don’t have enough data, for example, you have not worked on the types of projects or with the types of customers or clients you want, then you need to get that experience first.
Two critical, albeit scary activities:
- do an after-project review with your team and suppliers
- ask your clients for feedback
Both these steps are critical for you to be able to determine how your projects went, and how you want to improve and standardize them!
What goes into the experience?
As said earlier, the client experience starts already at the first touch, and it covers your marketing, sales, onboarding, delivery, offboarding, and leveraging of the project.
Each of these steps looks very different depending on what you sell – if you have a service like home staging or interior design, if you run a store, if visit the client at their premises, or if you invite them to a Zoom call. Here’s an example of an interior design process.
What happens if things go south?
For every great delivery you know the next one could be less great, that’s just business as usual. What matters is that you stay true to your values, and humble when you deliver your excellence to your clients. Some clients might not agree that your experience is great, whereas for others it is the best thing they have experienced, and they happily come for more and refer you to their friend. The key: be intentional, set rules and boundaries, and stick to them!