How to Manage Client Relationships & Experience as a Creative Led Business
As a global network of locally operated design studios, we’ve learned a lot about how to manage clients’ experiences as a small business (sometimes the hard way)! Here are the five steps that support our Nettl studios and partners in delivering a consistently great Customer Experience across city, country and continent.
- Frequently critiquing and improving
Just as we outlined above, we review our clients’ journeys and identify what we should be improving next. Take photos of the actual journey of a client from what they see when they search online to what your premises looks like when they come and visit (and it is safe to do so in accordance with government guidelines). Collate all these together to form a visual journey and you’ll quickly see the things that are less than satisfactory, be it the dated website or the dust behind your desktop.
- Handling Expectations
How can you create music if you’re not singing from the same hymn sheet? We have a stepping stone process that guides us through common issues that may arise or any misconceptions a client may have. This means we can manage expectations even before starting work so that when we deliver, it’s exactly as expected. We share this with our employees and partners throughout the world with online and classroom sales training and mentorship. Our custom built CMS system is host to our training documentation that our teams constantly review to keep it fresh!
- Personalised, frequent, automated communications
We help our clients get More Customers by enabling them to share their message and improve their marketing with web & graphic design, print, signs and digital marketing. These conversations start both in-store and online. When we design websites or produce print, there’s often time between ordering and completion. To keep our clients in the loop and excited about their project, our custom built CRM system automatically sends order forms, confirmations, online and interactive proofs as well as despatch alerts to our clients. It reminds them when a payment is going to be processed using direct debit and shares receipts and invoices without any manual involvement. This means we can spend our time talking to them about the things that matter – helping them get More Customers!
- Smart systems that inform our actions
Our custom built CRM system, W3p Flyerlink, gathers really important information such as client spending patterns. Understanding, with the click of a button, who is ordering as usual or who’s ordering more or less frequently, with an increasing or decreasing spend, and which services they are asking for allows us to give an additional level of insight that even our clients don’t often know. We can help them plan their marketing better, give thanks to those who are supporting us and help those with changing patterns create campaigns and plans to build consistency in a way that suits their business circumstances, needs and budget. Our system reports also allow us to schedule calls to clients for days, weeks or months in advance, assign them to other studio members and include knowledge notes so every team member knows as much as they can about each client to tailor a service to them. We can even run a report to see who we’ve followed up with after an order and who we need to call to check in on.
- Get clients involved
In the main, as a creative business, be it printer, designer or a signs company, many of our clients are business owners or are invested to some degree in the success of their business. They know their brand and business and want to understand the process of using marketing to get more customers. Our client portal allows customers to get involved in the sales process, be that through saving imagery they want to use in design, to making payments, approving proofs or sharing files with us. We even have template systems which many of our multi-site clients use to edit their own personalised designs according to location (e.g. on a poster), person (e.g. on a business card) or event (e.g. on a flyer) and order straight through the system any time of day, from anywhere in the world. Pretty relevant with most networks currently working remotely.