November 2, 2022
When you think of “your client’s experience,” do you immediately think of a call center with mean people answering questions?
No? Just us?
Customer service + client experience tend to be convoluted in the online space — we’ve seen so many businesses assume that “client experience” only extends to their automations, troubleshooting, and fancy CRMs.
But client experience is about so much more than the paperwork involved in starting a new project.
Client experience covers every step of your service and product funnel. It’s everything from that first touchpoint with your services — maybe it was an Instagram post or DM — to the day everything is tidied up and your services are complete.
Client experience is kind of like the Yellow Brick Road in The Wizard of Oz. It shows people exactly what to expect when they work with you: where they’re starting and where they’re going.
If you want to leave your clients wow’d and still raving about your services after they’ve been offboarded, it starts with a client roadmap.
A client roadmap is a fun step-by-step guide that shows potential and onboarding clients what your process looks like. Of course, we love to make it a visual because it’s so much easier for our brains (and the brains of your clients) to visualize the process and outcomes.
A client roadmap is more than just a cute little PDF to send to potential clients, though. When you work on creating a client roadmap, it can actually pinpoint areas of friction in your process — where are clients getting confused, where they’re unprepared, when they tend to ask the most questions, when is the most communication taking place, what steps get repeated, etc.
Plus, a client roadmap can help convert leads into booked clients, because it boosts trust in your process. People know they’ll get the deliverables they paid for because you’re showing them exactly when you’ll be working on what…and how they need to prepare.
Now that we’ve talked about WHAT a client roadmap is, let’s talk about how to outline yours.
As service providers or creatives, you might want to create a customized experience based on the unique needs of your clients. That’s great! However, it should also follow a certain step-by-step path that helps your client achieve the outcomes you’re known for.
Your path might look like:
For the Design Lab, our major milestones include:
This will look different for every business, but the main idea is to make sure you’re hitting on all of those bigger touchpoints while leaving room for flexibility and communication along the way (clients WILL have questions, and so will you).
Setting clear expectations is one of the most important things you can do for a client, period. Get these important to-dos written down. Include them in your proposals and contracts, so both you and your clients know what to do and when.
This also eliminates doubt or unease for your client by clarifying when they’ll receive what they were promised. No more questions about “When will we work on this?” or “When will we get to talk about this?”
Your clients are paying a lot of money to work with you, and they want to keep an eye on their investments to ensure things are going well. Obviously, there’s a difference between client micromanaging and being informed, but this type of clear-cut communication will help alleviate the gray areas in between.
This makes YOUR life easier, too, because you can move swiftly through the process by identifying when you can prepare your client to have their homework or assets ready. No more waiting for copy (or other assets you may need) or creative or missing pieces.
Let your client know how long each step will take or how long it will take in between each milestone. This goes back to eliminating doubt and uncertainty.
It’s also a great time to evaluate when there are big resting periods for you or your client or, on the flip side, when work will be coming in fast and heavy.
It’ll help you start noticing places where you can ease the workload for them during busy periods or make the waiting less anxiety-ridden.
Of course, when you offer timelines like this, open the floor for communication. Give them space to ask questions. Remember, you are the expert, but you’re also there to serve them as a services provider — make sure you’re leaving room to do that well (because client experience goes way beyond great deliverables).
We all know how nerve-wracking waiting for a project to be finished can be (especially when it’s YOUR business that’s doing the waiting instead of the creating). Your mind is flooded with a million-and-one questions or thoughts about how it may be going.
So, make it easier on them and make it fun!
Every part of the process is an opportunity to show off how you treat your clients. Some examples of this can look like:
And spaces in between milestones where there might be long waiting periods or a lot of client homework can be made more exciting by:
What all of this will look like truly depends on your brand. No sense in treating a client to that swanky hotel bar if a dive bar is more your scene. Your clients booked your biz for a reason, so stay true to your brand even with little touchpoints like this.
This detailed roadmap is for you and your team, but it exists to make your clients’ life a whole lot easier too. And when working with you feels fun and effortless, they’re likely to come back for more and sing your praises to others.
It’s also a lifesaver to have a quick and easy-to-read version available for your clients to access at any point. Not only will it help clarify your process, but they’ll be reminded of how much care you put into your work.
The best way to do that is by delivering a PDF roadmap at that initial kickoff call — which includes outlines of the course process, timelines, touchpoints, and more!
Plus, roadmaps can just be so much fun! They’re a great way to showcase your brand and delight your new clients.
We’ve worked with Amber Housley, who has a “Blooming Business Inner Circle” membership. New members get an onboarding kit, complete with a gorgeous little garden-themed roadmap — so they know exactly what they’re about to learn and what they’ll achieve as a member. Take a look at it below, along with a few examples from other clients we’ve worked with.
Are you already mapping out your client experience? Ready to share your exact process to avoid all the questions that pop up during onboarding? Great, we’re cheering you on!
If you want to jazz up that process even more — and create a visual roadmap that will really help your clients see just how much it’s going to rock working with you — check out our roadmap templates in our online shop!
Just hit purchase, and you’ll immediately receive a PDF download with a link to access your Canva templates, as well as instruction on how to customize it. You’ll be on your way to creating the roadmap that will have people ready to book with you in record time.
Copyright 2022 Nicole A. Yang, LLC
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