How to Start Off Your Service in Control - Megan Martin Creative | Education and Showit Website Templates for Digital Business Owners
How to set appropriate expectations and start your service off in control, client experience, client communication, welcome packet template

How to Start Off Your Service in Control


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Congratulations, girl! You just booked a new client! Let’s pop the bubbly and celebrate that for a moment. Okay, on to the work part. 😉 Before you go jumping straight into step one of your service, let’s cover your bases and make sure you start off your service in control!

You may be thinking, but Megan I am in control, I’ve got this. I know how to do my job.

I’m not about to tell you how to do your job well, but I do want to encourage you to think like your customer for a moment. Chances are they have never invested in a service like the one you are about to provide. Or even if they have dived into a previous project similar to what you have to offer in the past, they have never done it with you. You have a unique opportunity to kick things off in an intentional way that will help answer lots of pre-work questions, establish appropriate expectations, and set careful boundaries to protect everyone involved.

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3 steps you can take to start off your service in control:

Start off your Service in Control: Write an Office Policies Document

You don’t actually have to own a brick and mortar office to establish office policies! This informational document is the foundation of clearly understood expectations and boundaries within the scope of your service. The last thing you want to do is not give any form of communication expectation to your client. If so, you’ll end up fielding Facebook messages, texts, and emails at 10:00pm and lose all chances of ever having a personal life!

What to include in your Office Policies:

1. Your accessible contact information: List all forms of contact your client can use to get in touch with you, but be clear on how you prefer for them to communicate. If all important information should be sent via email, explain that. If you will not communicate via text message, let that be known.

2. Your (available) business hours: Let your client know exactly when they can communicate with you. This doesn’t mean you have to list every waking hour that you are actually working. Sometimes you have to work on your business and not in your business and may not want to accept client calls during that time.

3. How you schedule meetings: If your service includes meetings or scheduled calls, define here how you prefer your meetings to be scheduled. If you use a scheduling service like Calendly or have a VA who oversees your appointments, let your clients know how they can get on your calendar. Be sure to also include where you will meet your clients if in person, and how far in advance you need notice to make a meeting happen. For example, if you are a mostly stay-at-home mom, you will need ample time to secure care for your child. Setting up a clear expectation that you won’t be available upon immediate request is a good step to take. If you feel the need, you can also give a time frame for cancellations (i.e. 24 hours notice is required if you need to cancel a meeting.).

4. How you manage your service: If you use a CRM to organize onboarding, communication, and your service workflow, explain this in your office policies. Chances are they have probably already been inside the system, but it doesn’t hurt to spell out the value of that investment here!

5. How you handle fees & payments: Your Office Policies document doesn’t need to become another contract, but I like to reiterate the process of how clients can expect us to manage their service payments. If you offer payment by check, I would highly suggest mailing this document as a part of a Welcome Packet and include pre-addressed (to your address) and stamped envelopes for your clients to easily pop those checks in the mail on time. If you read this post, you know your goal is to do all of the heavy lifting for your client when it comes to handing over money. If you want to continue to get paid throughout your service, keep that up!

Either way you choose to accept payments, I would take the time here to explain how you will remind your clients of payments due. (Example: We will send a formal reminder, via email, 10 days before each payment is due.) Your contract should have your fee schedule clearly outlined, so you don’t need to copy that here for the sake of efficiency, but unless your client is really organized and eager to pay you, they probably won’t memorize that schedule. Again, do the heavy money lifting! No exercise required 😉

Related: How to Get a Client from Inquiry to Card Swiped

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Start off your Service in Control: Create a service workflow your client can follow along with

In a service-based business, communication is king. And the smart business owners take care to answer their client’s burning “what comes next” questions before they even know to ask. This saves the provider time and gives the client a clear understanding of what to look forward to. Even if you know the steps of your job in your head, it is still a good practice to write out a service workflow. Breaking down the steps of your process into tiny actionable items in chronological order not only helps you better manage your schedule but also creates another form of communication in your process that can be automated.

For example: A wedding planner (Susie) may create a workflow that is about 12 months long if the majority of their clients book a year in advance. She could design and print the timeline of tasks on nice paper and give her new client (Cindy) a paper copy to put in her wedding binder. Susie Planner could also incorporate her workflow into a CRM so the order of service flow can be viewed in Cindy Client’s personal online portal. As Susie Planner completes her various tasks, she could use the CRM to “check off” tasks, therefore creating a system of communication for Cindy Client to see when work is completed! Susie Planner could also take it one step further and place Cindy Client in a series of automated emails to go out on a monthly basis. In each email, she could give positive praise for the work that was completed in the previous month and then spell out the specific tasks that Cindy Client should be focusing on in the month to come. That way Susie Planner remains in control of the flow and can point Cindy Client to any valuable resources that will help Cindy Client execute any tasks on her end.

Now that’s what I call adding value to your service! Don’t wait for your client to ask questions! Get them answered before they are even muttered and you will instantly be viewed as a true expert in your service!

Related: How to Plan Months Worth of Content for your Blog, Newsletter, and Social Media

How to set appropriate expectations and start your service off in control, client experience, client communication, welcome packet template

Start off your Service in Control: Send A Fun, Informational, and Valuable Welcome Packet

There’s just something special about opening snail mail. Especially the pretty kind! The reasons I love the idea of a Welcome Packet are because they can literally be created for every kind of service out there and they accomplish two touch points of the client experience in one fell swoop. Not only do they establish expectations for your service, but they also act as a tangible gift your clients can open.

In the discussion of client experiences, gifts are the talk of the town. You can’t utter the one without hearing of the other. But gifts are not equal to a powerful client experience. They can add an element of surprise and delight to the experience, sure, but they aren’t what makes up a client experience. Every point your client comes in contact with your brand and service is what makes up the entirety of your client experience.

With that in mind, I’ve got good news: You can stop shopping the dollar spot at Target every time a client books with you because you are “suppose” to send them a gift. It’s like favors at a wedding that aren’t edible. They are cute and all, but at the end of the night no one really knows what to do with them. (And a certain black box becomes their temporary home till a big green truck comes…)

Kitschy gifts that play on your brand are cute and all, but does your client really want them?

What does your client want? With hundreds or thousands of dollars on the line, I am going to assume your client wants assurance that you are indeed capable of carrying out your promise of quality work, peace of mind that you will take great care of them throughout the process, and your valuable insight into how to make their investment most rewarding.

This is why a Welcome Packet can be a fabulous way to kick off your service. If you create it as a physical package for your clients to open, it feels like a delightful surprise gift on their doorstep, but really acts as a pretty yet informational resource. You can include your Office Policies, a card listing out all your forms of contact (number, email, blog, and social handles) so they have it all in one place, a printed copy of the contract for reference, and other documents of information relevant to your service.

Just because your Welcome Packet is informational at its core, doesn’t mean you can’t add value here! And this is where it really becomes a gift. Like in the Susie Wedding Planner example above, you can use your workflow as a gifting idea to ease your client’s mind in your packet, or you could create a pretty magazine of ideas that correlate with your service, or include a sweet treat for a fun pick me up!

Once your boundaries are drawn, expectations defined, and the client’s excitement has built, you can confidently put the steps of your service into motion with the balance of control in your hands as it should be.

You’re the expert after all!

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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