8 Tips to Improve the Client Experience In Your Business

Even though I’m a business owner, I’ve had my share of bad experiences working with other business owners. I’ve learned how business owners can improve their client experience and want to share some valuable tips so you can do the same.

Like just about anyone else, I’ve been sucked into working with some businesses who portrayed a killer image on social media, only to realize that sacred truth once again: Instagram is not reality. 

There were promises of a streamlined, detailed process and ongoing education happening for their followers. These businesses LOOK good. They SOUND good. But then when you start working with them, you realize their client experience is, well, lacking. 

So I set out to study what mistakes they were making with their client experience and then used that information to do things differently in my own business. Here’s what I learned.

A woman runs down a sidewalk with her hair blowing behind her and her body in motion - reflecting leaving behind the mistakes business owners make.

The Top 3 mistakes Business Owners Make:

  • Leaving their clients in the dark. Have you ever begun working with someone and realized they didn’t really tell you everything you needed to expect? You, um, you have questions. Maybe a lot of them. And the result is a whole lot of back and forth and maybe even some unanswered emails. This is a mistake that a lot of business owners make, and, luckily, it is completely preventable. 
  • Expecting their clients to do all the research. I’ve heard that some photographers show up to a shoot and ask the client, “what do you want to do?” Oh, gosh, no. There’s a reason people hire an expert and it’s not so that they can do all the prep work and decision-making themselves. Lead your clients through the process to help them be successful.
  • Showing up on social media….instead of for their clients. This is a big one. I’ve had far too many experiences where a business owner is showing up non-stop on IG  and – at the same time – not responding to my emails or getting me the stuff they promised me on time. And I’m willing to bet I’m not alone in this experience. They’re doing more for their followers than for the people who are actually paying them, and that’s a BIG problem.  

If you’re more focused on how things LOOK on social media than on how your clients FEEL, you might find you’re selling an experience to non-clients and followers that your real clients aren’t getting. Don’t do that. 

Creating a Superior Client Experience

It doesn’t have to be hard to create a superior client experience, but it will require you to shift your focus. You might realize you’re showing up less on social media, but you’re showing up more in your business.

A client experience that will make you stand out from the rest is one that is focused on supporting your client through every touchpoint of their experience with you. Your job is to alleviate their worries and frustrations every step of the way and with the right systems and processes in place, it will be a whole lot easier than you may think. 

Starting Small: Systemize Your Business

Every interaction you have with your client is a direct reflection of your professionalism and credibility. Start improving the way they see you by systemizing your business. It doesn’t have to be all done at once. A little at a time is more than enough. My advice? Just get started. 

  1. Automated + Templated Communication

Everyone feels better when we know what to expect, so develop templates that ensure you’re answering questions on the front end – before they’re even asked. When your clients reach out to you, respond in a timely manner and have an auto-response in place if you can’t do so. Most importantly, be clear about how and when you communicate, so that they know what to expect ahead of time. 

  1. Schedulers

Show your client you value their time by eliminating the need to go back and forth unnecessarily. A lot of schedulers, like Calendly and Acuity, have free options that will make your life so much easier, while also making you look more professional, too. 

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)  

Using a CRM system is game-changing. A good system supports your clients, gives you time back, and makes everything more professional. There are so many program options, ones like 17hats, Honeybook, and my personal favorite, Dubsado.

(You can read why I love Dubsado (and chose it over other systems) here and there’s even a referral code for you to help you save as you get started.)

Two small business owners chat about how to improve the client experience at a table while looking at their website shown on a laptop.

8 Tips to Improve Your Client Experience

  1. Answer questions before your clients ask them (or think of them.) 

Ask yourself, “What kinds of questions do I keep getting?” We take for granted that we know what we know because we do whatever it is we do every day. But, truthfully, it took us years to learn what we know. 

Whenever I get asked a new question, I build education around it. This helps me step into my clients’ shoes more and figure out their pain points so that I can alleviate them — and prevent them from feeling confused or frustrated during our time together. I guarantee doing this will help your clients feel well taken care of. 

  1. Give reminders (and grace) liberally. 

People need reminders. They may forget what you’ve said or what you need from them, especially as they get bogged down with all the life stuff (whatever it may be for them.) Be kind and patient. Give reminders on the big things. It will help you both. 

  1. Figure out how you can make your client’s life easier. 

This seems like a no-brainer as it’s probably why they hired you. But ask yourself if you’re making your client’s life easier for them (or if maybe you’re making things harder than they need to be.) Be honest with yourself. Think of the little things (because they all add up.) How’s the onboarding experience? What little thoughtful things are you doing? How quickly do you respond to important emails? How much time are you expecting from them?

  1. Keep your promises. 

Show them you care. Demonstrate the value of their investment by UNDERpromising and OVERdelivering…every single time. This is one of the simplest and most impactful ways to improve your client experience.

  1. Be generous with your deadlines. 

This goes along with keeping your promises because you don’t want to let people down. If you think a project will take you 2 weeks, promise 3 or 4. They’ll be happy when you finish earlier than they anticipated. And if things do happen to run behind (because life happens), simply COMMUNICATE with your clients. Let them know, so they don’t feel ignored or forgotten. People can be incredibly understanding and flexible…as long as they’re kept in the loop.

  1. Learn from your mistakes. 

Don’t keep making the same mistakes again and again. Your reputation is everything. Clients talk. People ask them about their experience with you. People ask for referrals. So if you are doing something poorly and relying on excuses, chances are your client is already clued in and knows this isn’t the first time. Making excuses will only damage your reputation. Instead, use your mistakes to make new choices and inspire the ways you can improve your client experience. 

  1. Hire help if you can. 

The more you invest in your clients and your business, the better you’ll feel and the more you get back in the long run.

  1. Take care of the clients you have before trying to book new ones. 

There is nothing more hurtful than when you’ve paid someone thousands of dollars and they’re showing up on Instagram and Facebook instead of responding to you. If your clients are waiting on you and they can see you showing up for everyone else, it’s going to affect how much they feel prioritized by you.

Bottom Line: The way your clients feel about their experience with you is more important than how your Instagram looks

For real. Just because someone has thousands of followers doesn’t mean they’re making lots of money. Paying clients are the ones who truly support your business and prioritizing them over your followers will always pay off.

Treat your clients well and they’ll take care of you. Invest your time in serving them first and just watch how much that one change positively impacts your business. 

A woman with blondish-brown hair works from her desk and writes notes in a journal during her brand photo shoot.

My mission: to design a  superior and heartfelt client experience centered around putting my clients first…always.

What to Expect: Working With Alicia Leigh Photography

As a former teacher, I’m a big fan of acronyms, so I like to call it the 3-S system for the support, strategy, and service it holds. 

Because I believe in treating my clients the way I would want to be treated, I promise to do business a little differently…

  1. I promise to support you. 

Through every touchpoint of your experience, I’m going to alleviate any worries or frustrations, help you redefine your goals, and give you imagery that aligns with those goals and boosts your confidence as a business owner and as a person.

  1. I promise to strategize for you.

As your brand photographer, it’s my job to ensure our session has clear goals and direction. Brand strategy is so important, but the responsibility for it should never fall squarely on your shoulders. I take my responsibility to your goals very seriously. I’ll never just “show up and shoot.” Instead, I’m going to be doing tons of prep work beforehand and educating you throughout the entire process.

  1. I promise to serve you first.

You may not see me on IG as frequently as other business owners – and honestly, that’s a good thing. You see, I’m committed to educating my clients before I educate my followers. I want to improve my client experience before my Instagram feed. I’m going to take care of the clients I already have before trying hard to book new ones. Because I know how it feels to be ignored by someone who keeps showing up in the wrong ways, I’m going to keep my promises and treat you the way I would want to be treated.

If you’re in the Austin, Texas area, be sure to check out the heartfelt brand experience.

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