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Yes, I consider myself a systems maven. In my years as a Virtual Assistant / Online Business Manager, I literally took billable hours away from myself because I saw no point in doing the same thing manually every day when I knew it could be automated.
My clients loved always having a 24/7 support human on call, and their clients loved that too. But, moving some routine tasks from the “to-do” column to the “automatically handled without even trying” column scared some clients, and I totally understand why. When I get VIP Intensive inquiries about streamlining their operations, I usually am met with hesitation and fear that automating things will cause a loss of that high-touch, ultra-personalized way that they work with their clients.
Look, I get it. Moving people through an entire life cycle with you may look different from client to client – heck – it definitely does for me! But, the time saved doesn’t just come from the tasks that are being automated. There’s also tons of time saved nurturing and supporting my clients through these systems that, if I were to have to do these things manually on my busiest day, they would probably get overlooked and rob this prospect or client of something special.
In this post, I’m sharing the 3 best ways that my systems improve my client experience and help me surprise and delight those who interact with my business, no matter how busy I am!
Have you ever wanted to work with someone and the only place to get started is a contact form on their site that just says “Message” and you’re left having to brain dump what it is you think you need from them? Or worse, have you ever gotten an ultra-vague inquiry from someone and you have to spend 5 minutes decoding their message so you know how to follow up? Ew!
An intentionally crafted Intake Form is a great way to capture exactly what it is your prospects need, but also integrate your personal brand. My clients differ greatly in industry, stage of business, and personality but one thing is for sure – we are creating a connection immediately through this intake form (sometimes before we’ve even met) because at the same time I’m gathering their basic info, I’m getting to know them as a human being. What’s their favorite book? Favorite cocktail or coffee order? My questions show that I want to know them, and they humanize an otherwise one-sided exchange of information.
On the other end, following the work that we do together, I LOVE to send out a testimonial request in the form of, well, a form! It’s sometimes awkward to ask for a testimonial and say, ‘don’t forget to include that one really cool thing I did that you weren’t expecting!’ Right?! So by asking thought-provoking questions that you then compile into their testimonial will guide them to say exactly what you’d like, without directly asking. It’ll also allow them to reflect on all the value they got now that the process is behind you both.
If you’ve gotten a prospect past the discovery stage and into the sales stage, don’t blow it! One of my life mantras is “you don’t know what you don’t know” – so it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has literally no clue how you work (if they’re new around here), exactly what they need, or maybe haven’t considered before. This is why they came to you in the first place, right? Confusion is the leading cause of bounced prospects, so by making everything as clear as possible – expectations, deliverables, timelines, office hours, communication methods, and everything else. Presenting them with this info before they ask is going to save you a lot of time answering questions (or dealing with confrontations, eek!) and will help them feel as supported as possible.
Every CRM system and automation tool usually comes with some canned email templates ready to go out of the box. This is really where you can customize the experience down to the details. Each one of these emails is usually attached to some point in the process, so at each step, I like to think about what would make the most boring parts surprisingly fun.
Here’s my favorite example that I use in my business:
Many people in the online space use the term Discovery Call to name the initial 1-to-1 conversation, which usually ends up being a sales call or results in a follow-up pitch. Of course, I have this appointment type set up in my system, but my branding is a bit different. I want this to be a fun conversation, with absolutely no strings attached, so I threw out the commonly used “Discovery Call” completely, and instead call it a Virtual Coffee. Chatting over coffee with friends on a Sunday morning is a way I actually enjoy spending my time, so why not pull this into my business? Every city in America has a Starbucks, so, their automated reminder email includes a barcode for them to scan at their local ‘Bucks and enjoy their favorite drink.
When was the last time you got an “OMG I’m so excited” in response to an appointment reminder? For me, it’s about 90% of the time. They might not always use it, but they sure do appreciate it, and I don’t even have to remember to send it.
I do a similar thing for my VIP Intensives where we’re working together the whole day. They get an Uber Eats gift card two days in advance so that they have a yummy lunch to look forward to on that day, and eliminates the need for them to think about meal prepping or anything like that. All the focus is on them and the work we’re doing, as it should be! Still fun though to order fancy delivery to break up a work-heavy day, right?
These little touches only detract a minuscule amount to my bottom line, and they really do go a long way in making it a memorable experience for my clients, and for me to see their reaction each time is just grand.
So, those are my top 3 super-easy-to-implement ways that you can take your automations, brand them, and give your clients a consistently fabulous experience! People say to not sweat the details, but if you only have to set them up once, it’s worth it in the setup phase. Heck, it’s worth it to add them in any time! So go ahead, steal my stuff, and pop one or two of these ideas in and see how your clients react!
I'm an online business strategist and digital marketing expert who is passionate about helping entrepreneurs streamline their operational practices, gain visibility, and make their biggest impact in the online space.
After spending years running the back-end of 15+ businesses, both online and in-person, and in tons of different industries, I have really seen it all and now provide tailored solutions and resources for entrepreneurs who are ready to level-up their business and implement systems, strategies, and content that save time, energy, and money all while seriously impressing their ideal clients.
Kick creative constipation to the curb with this bank of ideas I've been racking up for years! These will give your audience exactly what they want - a bit of you, your business, your offers, and your tribe!
Alina Scarcella is a multi-passionate service provider who focuses on making life easier for female entrepreneurs through implementing systems and processes that deliver luxury client experiences, creating and managing high-converting marketing content, and designing bespoke websites.