October 6, 2022
You may or may not have noticed we’re big advocates of the concept of “brand chemistry” around here.
Brand chemistry is made up of four different elements — your visuals, the tone, your marketing, and client experience. All of these things are important for making one badass brand.
Without a seamlessly designed client experience, though, does it really matter how the rest of the brand looks and feels? Not really. It’s like having a car with one of the wheels falling off. You’re not going very far.
So often, business owners assume their products or services are the real gifts to their clients — but we all know that there’s someone else out there who does the same thing we do.
Nobody’s business is TRULY unique, especially in the online business space. We all have competitors or offer similar services and products. There’s nothing wrong with that because there’s plenty of space for all of us.
The key, though, is to create unique brands that draw people to the right one for them.
So… what makes people choose your brand? People want your solution, sure. But if they can find that solution elsewhere, what brings them to your door?
Think of anything you’ve purchased. You need it — but you chose the product or professional that made you feel seen, engaged, supported. You also chose that product or services because it seemed easy, like you wouldn’t be doing all the work yourself. (This applies to that new electric toothbrush you just bought or the YouTube production team you hired.)
The same goes for your clients. They want to know that they can access your solution easily and without friction. And they want to know it won’t just be transactional.
When you purchase something, you assume you’ll get it in the mail or delivered to your inbox. When you book someone for their services, you assume they’ll deliver on said services. That’s the essence of the transaction — but it’s also the bare minimum.
Think of these basics as a commodity. Drafting updates or delivering projects on time aren’t a part of your brand — it’s just something a client receives that they could (and should) get anywhere else.
Unless you truly are offering a one-of-a-kind service (which… let’s be real, that’s hard to find), you want to make sure you go above and beyond the basic commodities that “everyone” in your industry or niche offers.
Creating thoughtful client experiences is what makes you stand out. So… how can you adopt a stronger, more attractive client experience? We’ve got a few tips.
Again, what you’re selling people is an experience. Your offer may make someone’s life easier or free up some of their time… but if the process of reaching said outcome is complicated, then what’s the point?
For a truly stand-out brand, make the act of working with you feel easy AND delightful. Think about how easy it is to schedule a call, get a proposal, and start working with you (we’ll cover more of the admin deets in just a bit). You’ll also want to make sure that everyone on your team is trained to engage with clients in the same way and with minimal confusion.
Also bring in a little bit of joy — and show folks just how excited you are to work with them. Send them a cute custom gift, or send them a birthday card. Little personal touches go a long way in making it a pleasant experience for everyone.
Your client experience isn’t just about looks or the bells and whistles you attach to your onboarding process. It’s also how you show off your values and your brand superpowers. What the hell does that mean?
Here are just a few examples:
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box with this one. It’s a great time to introduce your brand and show your client what they can expect while working with you.
It also means getting your shit together on the front end AND the back end. This is the admin stuff we mentioned a couple sections up.
The front end is everything that the client sees and interacts with, which includes:
Make these easy to use and easy to access later. Don’t use tools or formats that are confusing or overwhelming.
These things affect the client, but they don’t actually see them, like:
To streamline this element of your client experience, ask yourself:
Part of building a great brand people trust is being reliable — and you’re busy as hell. This is when it’s important to automate certain elements of your client experience, like invoices and onboarding emails, so everyone has what they need without your brain imploding from all the tiny to-do’s.
However, automation can (and has) gone wrong. A stunning brand experience doesn’t mean you’re hands off and the client is pushed along the conveyor belt without any human touch. Nope. This process requires you to identify ways you can interact with your client or customer one-on-one.
Don’t sacrifice building that relationship for automation. You might lose an important part of the conversation that will help you identify what their needs are and how you can better provide for them. Plus, part of why they want to work with you is… well, YOU.
Everything we shared might feel like basic operational tasks, but it’s important to really think about your client experience as more than automations or workflows.
Your client experience is critical to your brand because it’s where clients will have the most intimate contact with it. Plus, your gorgeous branding or perfectly laid out Instagram feed aren’t going to mean a thing if someone starts working with you and it feels like a totally different experience.
The way you treat your brand treats its clients needs to be as curated and beautiful as the way your brand looks.
Want to dig into this some more? Step into our Lab.
During a recent interview series — the Intersection of Design series — Nicole sat down with Kate Hutcheson, our Design Lab project manager! She is also an online business manager who is an expert in creating workflows and managing the back end of a brand’s operations. Together, Nicole and Kate discuss all things client experience.
They talk about what it looks like to keep things running smoothly, how to make (and keep) things simple throughout the entire process, and how that alone can transform your projects — including the design process!
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