My guess is that you have read somewhere on Pinterest or Instagram about how important it is to be sending your clients a gift, thanking them for booking with you! And while that is true, it’s always important to zoom out and look at your overall client journey and the service that you provide.
Your welcome gift, welcome guide are all part of your Client On-boarding process. It’s how you help your clients feel settled and let them know what to expect when working with you. It’s the perfect time to show your appreciation, explain your process, gather information and make your client feel settled, knowing that they made the right decision when deciding to work with you!
Instead of worrying about sending your clients a random candle or something with your brand haphazardly slapped on, really start to think about the experience you would like to create for your clients at this stage of their client journey. The on-boarding process should feel welcoming, nurturing & supportive. I try to advise our clients to think of it as a welcome ritual, something that can be beneficial for you and for your client.
WHAT IS THE MAIN FEELING OR EMOTION YOU WOULD LIKE TO EVOKE AT THIS STAGE OF THE CLIENT JOURNEY
As with everything, you need to be really clear on the type of feeling & emotion you are trying to create. Always keep in mind your brand purpose & values, as these will help you think of ideas that will actually add value to your service.
If for example, you are a wedding planner and your purpose is to make your clients feel that their wedding planning worries will be taken care of, that they can sit back and enjoy their engagement without feeling frazzled about all the decisions, emails and craziness that come from planning a wedding? Then a notebook might not be the best gift to send your client (as this might feel that they need to take lots of notes, in case they forget things and to keep them on track). This goes against the feeling you are trying to create. Instead you could send a journal, where they could document all the wonderful moments while they are engaged, and a note reminding them that you will take care of all the details – and that their main job is to feel relaxed and enjoy the moment. Perhaps you could go one step further and every so often send them some date night ideas, or journal prompts so that they can look back on their time being engaged as a happy stress free period.
As with all gifting, the intention and meaning behind the gift is much more important than the actual gift itself.
WHAT IS THE AIM OR INTENTION DURING YOUR CLIENT ON-BOARDING PROCESS
This goes hand in hand with the feeling or emotion you are trying to create, but this part of the process has more to do with you and your intentions. Do you want to help establish healthy boundaries, educate your clients on your process and what they can expect from you or gather information from them.
This will all impact your welcome ritual, and how you can create a welcome ritual that is beneficial to you and your clients.
Going back to my previous example, if the intention behind your welcome ritual is to establish healthy boundaries & educate your client then you need to think of ways you can do this, while keeping in alignment with the feeling you are trying to create. If you are a wedding planner, chances are your bride & groom get overwhelmed with the details & organisation might not be their strength, so you could create a client portal to help keep them up to date with the progress of their wedding planning, without bombarding them with too many details. You could record a personalised welcome video, showing them how the portal works, and that this is your preferred method of communication. You can set their minds at ease by saying that they don’t have to do anything for now (other than enjoying the first few weeks of starting their wedding planning journey), and that you will keep them up to date on how your process is structured and if and when you need their input.
HOW DOES THIS FIT IN WITH THE REST OF YOUR CLIENT JOURNEY & CLIENT EXPERIENCE STRATEGY
Be mindful not to break your client journey into a few sections, think of the journey as part of a whole. How does this support them in the rest of their client journey, is this the right time to be connecting with them or is there perhaps a better time that you could surprise or* delight them.
For example, perhaps showering them with a lavish welcome gift is not the best use of your CLIENT EXPERIENCE BUDGET. Perhaps a small handwritten note would suffice and you decide that you would rather surprise them with a luxurious candle that they could burn in the few nights leading up to their wedding. You could include a card reminding them to take a moment and soak up all the love and joy of the few days leading up to their special day. This also helps you have a relaxed couple, who aren’t going to be checking in with you every five minutes because they trust you have thought of everything!
WHAT STAGE OF BUSINESS ARE YOU AT
This is so important because you need to remember that we all start somewhere in our business journey. Just because you might not have the budget for tangible elements in your client experience strategy doesn’t mean you can still have an impact. With a lot of creative thinking you can still create an amazing experience for your clients. Your main aim is to go above and beyond what your client expects. This is how you grow and increase the value you are able to offer your clients.
Something as simple as an email the night before their wedding day, giving them tips on how to get a good night’s rest can make all the difference.
BUT equally as important, if you are charging for a premium service, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are delivering a premium experience. If your clients feel that they have been overcharged or that the service did not live up to their expectations then you might be causing more damage to your reputation than you realise. An average or expected service won’t lead to amazing testimonials and referrals.
AND LASTLY WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET, AND IS THIS THE MOST EFFECTIVE USE OF MY CLIENT EXPERIENCE BUDGET
It’s the part that none of us like to talk about, but it’s really important to the health of your business. Make sure that everything you are including in your CLIENT EXPERIENCE STRATEGY is worked into your pricing structure. I have written a post where I go into this in more detail.
As you can see, there is a lot more to it than deciding whether or not you should have a blush vs grey ribbon, or what you should send your clients, it’s all part of a bigger whole and an opportunity to add value along the way.