Why a Clearly Defined Client Workflow is Paramount to Your Service - Megan Martin Creative | Education and Showit Website Templates for Digital Business Owners
How to Create a Client Workflow, Creative Entrepreneur, Business Tips, How to Grow your Business, How to book more clients, ideal client, design look book

Why a Clearly Defined Client Workflow is Paramount to Your Service

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Let’s talk service workflows. Do you have one laid out for your serviced based business or are you flying by the seat of your pants as you go? Today I want to chat about why a clearly defined client workflow is paramount to your service and how to write one by breaking down the working parts of your job into small action steps.

Whether your service is very copy paste for each client or much more custom in nature, having a framework for your plan of action is critical in creating a valuable experience for your clients. An unorganized service can be felt big time on the client end. Whether or not they can define where the weak spots are doesn’t matter. If they feel like they are kept in the dark or left in the dusk at any point of your service, trust will be lost. You can prevent that from happening by establishing workflows in your business!

Why a clearly defined client workflow is paramount in your creative service based business and how to write one on Megan Martin Creative, client experience checklist, how to book more clients, how to get more business, creative entrepreneur, Welcome Packet, business tips

6 benefits of a clearly defined client workflow in your service

    1. A client workflow ensures consistency across all client projects: Word of mouth can be your best friend or your worst enemy as a service-based business. To ensure you deliver on your promises and keep standards high in each client project, take the time to write out your workflow. When word of mouth starts to spread of your awesome craft, you definitely want it to be of positive high-quality praise.
    1. A client workflow helps ward off overwhelm: If you have a keen understanding of the time commitment and intensity each project will take, you will be much more likely to not overbook your calendar to avoid overwhelm. You are much more likely to produce quality work in a calm environment and equally likely to produce sub-par work in a stressful deadline driven sleep-deprived state. Working from a place of clarity and rest sounds like a dream in my book!
    1. A client workflow, implemented into a CRM, can add serious selling value: If you invest in a CRM, you can and should explain how offering your clients a private portal to organize all important documents, communication and their unique timeline for completion makes your service all the more valuable. It goes back to the idea of not making your clients dig through your business bins to get important information they need. Calling it a “private client portal” quickly explains what a CRM is and also gives it that white glove elevated feel that you want to provide.
    1. A client workflow establishes and manages client expectations: Your client is absolutely going to want to understand each step of the process when working with you and they will ask you 3048374387 questions. Those questions are understandable, but think about how much time you could save instead of replying to each client’s questions if you did a little groundwork to answer them before they get to you?

      A workflow acts as both a list of service tasks that will be completed and a timeline in one. Allowing your client to see this as a map of what’s to come is an easy way to establish and manage expectations from the get-go. With a CRM software system, you can create a comprehensive workflow for each client project and also include hidden tasks that only you can see on the backend. This solves any duplicate lists on your end. You can see the full scope of your service flow including any tasks that you don’t want your client to see (i.e. when to send gifts, invoices, resources, and etc.).
    1. A client workflow can act as an automated vessel for communication: As you work on your end to complete each task of your workflow, your client can “check in” on the status of things without feeling like they need to ask you what you are doing. You can take this a step further and automate a series of emails that correlates to your workflow timeline. For each month (or in whatever increment that makes the most sense for your service), you can pre-write an email in the spirit of helping your clients know what to expect next. You can literally copy and paste segments of your workflow that coordinate with what you will be doing that month for them and outline what you need from the client in order to complete your job. Keeping communication open will continue to build the know, like, trust factor of your relationship for lasting referrals!
  1. A client workflow can set you up for scalability: One of the biggest mistakes business owners make when they get to the point of growing a team is hiring help to solve an unorganized system. Putting a new hire in a mess of a backend is a waste of money. Putting a new hire into a streamlined system that they can easily pick up on and help you get work done is a wise investment. When it comes time to hire help, a clearly defined workflow can help you pinpoint exactly what tasks within your business need to be delegated and help both of you stay on track of progress within the day to day execution of your service.

Related: Read How to Get a Client From Inquiry to Card Swiped 

How to Write a Clearly Defined Client Workflow for your Creative Small Business, Client Experience, How to book more clients

So now you know why a client workflow is so important, let’s talk about how to actually write a workflow for your client experience.

To do this, I want you to actually break down your business into two parts: 1) The Inquiry to Onboarding Process and 2) Your Service.

Even though your client won’t ever see your Inquiry to Onboarding workflow, it is extremely important for this process to be a well-oiled machine. If not, you might not ever get to the actual Service Workflow part that we are talking about, right?!

How to write an Inquiry to Onboarding client workflow in your service

The easiest way to get started with writing any kind of workflow is to do a little brain dump session. Give yourself some quiet and space and just start brain dumping every task in chronological order that you do for a given service in your business. I find it easiest to type it in a Word or Google Drive Document and put each new task on a separate line. That way if you realize you missed a step, you can easily plug it in where it fits chronologically.

Once you have a general outline of how your service flows, I want you to drill down. The more specific you can get for each line item, the better for your backend organization and for future hires to easily be able to figure out what you are talking about.

For example, let’s say you have the following 4 line items to start your Inquiry to Onborading workflow:

  1. Client Inquiry lands in email inbox.
  2. Send follow up email with questionnaire to determine if client is a good fit and include pricing brochure
  3. Upon receipt, review questionnaire
    1. If a yes, draft and send proposal
    2. If a no, send email
  4. Upon proposal agreement, draft and send contract

I would tell you that is a good start, but let’s drill down on the details to really streamline this process. For each of your line items, I want you to work on defining specific action items. Who is in charge of the task? Where do they pull the information from? Let’s look at how to revise the general outline to make it a clearly defined workflow: (pretend Megan is the biz owner and Emily is Megan’s assistant!)

  1. Client Inquiry lands in email inbox.
  2. Send follow up email
    1. If available, send Canned Response: Client Inquiry Questionnaire, to determine if the client is a good fit and include pricing brochure attachment (You would insert Brochure Source File or Link Here!). – Emily
    2. If not available, send Canned Response: Client Inquiry Not Available. – Emily
  3. Upon receipt, review questionnaire
    1. If a yes:
      1. Draft Proposal (You would insert Proposal Source File or Link Here!) – Megan
      2. Send Canned Response: Client Proposal, and include drafted proposal link. – Megan
    2. If a no, send Canned Response: Client Questionnaire Not Available. – Megan
  4. Upon proposal agreement
    1. Create new client file in Honeybook. – Emily
    2. Draft (Insert Service Name) Contract in Honeybook. – Emily
    3. Send Contract to client from Honeybook – Emily

Better! It isn’t mind-blowing stuff, but here’s the point: Even if you are a one-woman show right now, my guess is that you want to grow your business and inevitably that is going to require help. Look at the two workflows above. Both give you an overview of the steps you will take at each touch point, but the second answers any and all questions of what to say or who will take care of it.

You can drill down even further by attaching due dates to each task. How quickly should that first response to happen? By what time or date does the proposal need to go out?

Drilling down again, what will happen if those deadlines aren’t met? Would you send a follow-up email? Add these rules into your workflow.

Once you have built out into every touch point, you will have a clearly defined workflow!

To complete your Inquiry to Onboarding Workflow, follow the directions above to take a potential client that first hello through the booking process and to the first critical back-end steps you need to do once a client officially swipes their card (i.e. Send them a Welcome Packet, Order any Client Gifts you will send out throughout the experience, create any custom binders, folders, reports, or documents, and etc.).

How to Create a Client Workflow, Creative Entrepreneur, Business Tips, How to Grow your Business, How to book more clients, ideal client, design look book

Captured by Sarahdipity Photos

How to write a Service Workflow

Good news: to write a service workflow, follow the same outlining and detail drill down steps from the Inquiry to Onboarding client workflow!

But this time you will want to note a couple important facts. The first is which tasks should be hidden from your client. (Invoice reminders, when to send client gifts, and etc.) You can highlight these tasks in a color of your choice so you can clearly see what your back-end business tasks are vs what will be happening on the front-end with your client.

The second is to assign tasks directly to the client! Many times you will need something from your clients in order to complete a task, so make it very clear where you need them to actively participate.

Once you have a detailed client workflow for your actual service, you can do a couple things. First, if you are using a CRM, you can easily build out a workflow template with all of your specific details and rules that can be applied to each new project.  Second, you can create an on-brand and ready to print document for your clients to send to them right after their booking becomes official. You’ll look like the pro you are and they will have confidence in the work to come! Score!

Photography by Sarahdipity Photos 

Megan Martin

I'm a Mama of 4 who went from college drop out with zero biz savvy to building a 6-figure digital business on my own terms. I share the REAL bts of creating products, building a brand, and scaling for passive profit with courses, memberships, templates, downloads, and more.

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