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Discovering the 5 Stages of Client Experience

Ever wondered what makes the client experience tick? We're about to unveil the magical journey that keeps your clients coming back for more.

But first, what exactly is the client experience?

The client experience is like a well-choreographed dance. It begins the moment a potential client reaches out to you for information about your services. Anything that happens before this, the attraction stage, is part of your marketing wizardry (not my expertise!). So, let's focus on what comes next.

So, why is it crucial to understand these 5 stages? Most folks I work with have the "delivery" part down pat but tend to overlook the rest, and that's a BIG mistake!

Every stage of the client experience deserves equal attention. None is more important than the other. Crafting a well-rounded experience throughout all five stages sets you apart from your competitors.

And here's the kicker: Even if you deliver an outstanding final product, you can't afford to neglect the other four stages.

Let me tell you a story. Ever been to a restaurant with mediocre food, but the ambience was just right, the lighting perfect, and the staff incredibly attentive? You keep going back because the whole experience lights up your day, even if the food is just okay. 💡

Now, you shouldn't aim for a subpar product, but adding those extra touches can turn something average into something extraordinary. Imagine having an amazing product AND those enchanting little extras. Your clients will love you to the moon 🌙 and back, right?

The first step to creating a referral-worthy client experience (happy clients lead to referrals!) is understanding these five stages: what they are, when they happen, and their purpose.
Let's dive into the heart of the matter and uncover the 5 stages of the client experience:

Stage 01: The Enquiry Stage 🕵️

Starts: The moment someone contacts you to enquire about your services.
Ends: After you've had a discovery call.
Purpose: To ensure you've attracted the right lead and to make sure you're not on a call with someone who won't become a client.

- Set clear boundaries from the get-go.
- Ask the right questions, but keep it concise.
- Clarify your process during the call and use visuals (slideshow presentation) to help them understand.

Stage 02: The Booking Stage 📆

Starts: After the discovery call or after the initial enquiry.
Ends: When they book your services or officially become a cold lead.
Purpose: To convert your lead into a client.

- Provide a detailed proposal with deliverables.
- Showcase yourself and your business in the proposal.
- Ensure your contract is airtight.
- Don't hesitate to follow up if the lead goes quiet.

Stage 03: The Onboarding Stage 🚀

You might have heard folks talk about the onboarding stage as if it includes the enquiry, booking, and onboarding, but I strongly beg to differ. These three stages serve distinct purposes, so I prefer to keep them separate.

Starts: After they've accepted the proposal/quote, signed the contract, and made the deposit.
Ends: It continues until you actually kick off the project, which might be a day, several months, or even longer depending on your workload.
Purpose: To prepare them for the start of the project and keep them excited about working with you.

- Boost their excitement with a surprise gift while they're still in that super excited phase - it doesn't need to be flashy, usually about 1% of the total cost of the package.
- Even if there's a wait time before you can start, find ways to keep them feeling cherished.
- Don't let silence make them think you've disappeared.
- Keep them informed about what's coming next, and if there's a gap in communication, let them know. Expectations are key – a confused client is an anxious client, but an informed client is a happy one.

Stage 04: The Delivery Stage 📦

Starts: On day one of the project.
Ends: When the project is complete, and you deliver the agreed scope of work, which could be as short as a day or extend to weeks, months, or even a year.
Purpose: To deliver what you promised in the scope of work.

- Get creative in presenting the final deliverable – make it fun and interesting.
- If you work on a retainer basis, consider adding regular check-ins, like weekly, monthly, or quarterly calls to discuss business and life.

Stage 05: The Offboarding Stage 🚪

Starts: After the project is complete.
Ends: Whenever you choose. It could involve offering post-project support or sending a catch-up email after a few months. You can even send a project anniversary gift.
Purpose: To wrap up the project and nurture the client for potential future collaboration.

- Leave them on a high note. Don't let your last interaction with them be silence. A well-handled offboarding experience is a lasting memory.
- Always seek feedback, which is different from asking for a testimonial. Feedback is about improving your service.
- Instead of requesting a testimonial, ask if they'd like to be featured on your website or social media – it's a more enticing proposition.

Ready to take your client experience to the next level? If you want assistance, book a 20-minute call to explore how we can create a referral-worthy client experience. 🚀


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