This morning I was really feeling inspired by the spring energy all around me, a gentle reminder for me to start to think about spring cleaning (metaphorically speaking), our business and our client experience. A lot has changed over the past two years, things have come to an end, exciting new opportunities have emerged and it’s time for these to be reflected in our client’s experience.
I thought while I am going to be doing this for our business, let me bring you along with me, and hopefully spark some ideas on how you can bring joy and value into your everyday process of working with your clients.
This is what I am going to do:
Relook at our values & purpose and make sure this is reflected in our process
Although our values haven’t changed, I would say some things have become more important than others. Last year a sentence kept popping up in my mind over and over again, and that was “to leave little trace, aside from in the hearts of others”.
As a person who is very concerned about our climate, and the effects of late stage capitalism, I started to feel a disconnect in our work. While I truly do love creating beautiful packaging and stationery, I also realize the impact that has on our environment, which is where things started to become very muddled up in my mind. How could I sell packaging for a living, and yet be trying to eliminate it in my home and personal life at all cost?
My answer is, and was, to make sure that everything that we encourage our clients to purchase was intentionally thought out and wasn’t encouraged “just for the sake of making the sale” (not that this has ever been the case).
To do less but better, and to really think of creative ways we can make an impact for our clients, in other ways, that aren’t necessarily physical things. For example, sometimes the gift of our time can be just as impactful as a physical gift. And a smaller, more thoughtful gift, with lots of intention behind it, can be even more personal than a lavish gift designed to appeal to everyone.
Now that we are offering more services, I love the idea of incorporating something tangible into our client experience strategy. But rather than rush to send something out just for the sake of it, I am letting things settle in and see what would make the biggest difference in my client’s lives. Could it be just as intentional not to give anything? What feelings and emotions come up when working with me, and is there something physical I can give them that will help them at certain stages of our time working together?
I have a few ideas, but I am still mulling this over, so for now I am focussing on making my service as good as it can be. Which includes the amazing client portal I designed for my clients, that houses everything that we have worked on together, and gives them some tools to help them implement everything we have unearthed together. I have also been paying close attention to where they are getting stuck in the implementation phase, and how I could be of service to them.
For e.g. I have noticed that my two weeks of email support is not being used as much as I would have hoped for. So I am considering altering my workflow, to give our clients a month first (to figure things out), and then have access to the two week email support from me.
Establish where our clients are getting stuck, and how we can best be of service to them
This is something that I can only learn with time, and it’s going to take a few seasons of experimentation to get things right. Last year we discovered that a lot of our clients felt really overwhelmed when it came to choosing their packaging. So I designed some packages that helped create a really thoughtful final delivery, I categorized them into certain styles or themes and this really helped a lot of our clients. I created beautifully curated packages where all our client had to do was choose from a selected list of materials. I kept this list short so that it wasn’t overwhelming, and included the design of all their packaging which alleviated a lot of stress for them.
I still feel like there is more to unearth here, because while I feel like these packages are helpful, I still feel like our audits are even more beneficial because we really dive deep into the unique magic each and every one of our clients have to offer. Moving away from just selling deliverables, to truly selling an experience that makes a difference in their client’s lives. And still there is deeper work to be done here – I would love to be able to spend more time diving deeper into our clients’ brand strategy (really getting clear on their purpose & intentions, and what unique value they have to offer their clients beyond just the work they do). All of this needs to be worked into my process, so that I can offer our clients a truly valuable experience.
So what is my action step here? I am creating a goodbye guide for my audit clients, with additional ways in which I can support them. This includes my VIP design days , where I can help them design all the guides, questionnaires, worksheets that we have spoken about in our audit call. I am also going to have the option of diving deeper into their brand strategy, how they can position themselves in the market, and create a brand archetype to help them connect with the clients they can best serve. This is what makes me special, what really lights me up, and I want to find ways I can bring this into our offerings and create experiences around the value I can offer.
What no longer serves me and my clients
Hmmm, this was a tricky one for me. So much has changed, and needs to be created from scratch. It feels overwhelming at times, but I am tackling things one by one rather than trying to get everything done in a day.
I feel like our current packaging for our online store & custom packaging projects, is no longer serving us or our clients. So I need to redesign our quote cards (we have been using the same ones for far too long). I need to find new ways to connect with us, at the moment we tell people to tag us on Instagram (but we aren’t there any more), so I need to find other ways people can share about the work we do.
For our custom project clients, I want to record a video showing them exactly how to put their packages together. It is part of my workflow, but I don’t always get around to doing it. This is something I need to make sure I am doing because we have had such positive feedback when I have taken the time to do this.
How can I make improvements with the knowledge gained over the past season
I like to keep a list of questions that come up over and over again. This helps me see where I can make improvements for the following year. Something that has come up over and over again is that my clients get stuck when it comes to the wording for their packaging. So this year I want to create a guide or video that could help them with that. I also like to think of what could be the best way to deliver this information to my clients. I think that a loom video showing & explaining different examples could be very helpful. Asking my clients to first think about the feeling they are trying to create with each layer. The purpose behind each of the elements, and what is the ultimate goal or purpose behind what they are sending.
If for example, it’s to show their clients the value of having their images printed, how can we do this through the packaging we create.
What new experiences, & moments of joy can we create for our clients.
This is the fun part, but it can only come after all the groundwork has been done. It’s hard because naturally we want to jump to the fun & exciting part (like the beautiful stationery & packaging). But sometimes we just aren’t ready, and our time & money would be better spent in other areas of our clients experience. This is where I find us during this season. Our services are still too new, and we need to make sure that our process is 100% solid before we add any of the exciting elements. But I am sure I will be ready to create some beautiful moments through stationery & gifting in 2023.
I hope this has helped you – and encourages you to have a look at the experience you are providing your clients and where you could add more value? The thing about your client experience is, it’s always evolving and changing as you do. It’s not a set it and forget it system where you create a workflow, send a gift and call it a day. It’s a process of learning, building, growing and nurturing.
Sometimes it’s hard to do these things on your own, especially if it’s the first time you are really digging deep into your client experience strategy. Which is why I would love to invite you to join me, and book a VIP DAY, so we can look deep inside your business to see how you can be nurturing your clients this year.
It’s an incredible thing to be of service to others, it can be nourishing for both you and your client. It just requires you to slow down and notice the small things.