Designing an Excellent Customer Experience In 3 Stages

Most people aren’t talking about customer experience when they think they are. They’re talking about putting out fires, troubleshooting things, solving problems as they arise–all customer service-oriented stuff.

While having good customer service is important, it’s not a thing that’s necessarily going to help your business grow or generate excitement about it from your clients. That’s where having an impeccable customer experience comes in!

But how do you design one for your business? There are three elements (or stages) to this: the first sets the tone for your relationship with each client, the next creates your path to success, and the last one wraps everything up and sets you (and your client) up for continued success.

In this next episode of Promote Yourself to CEO, you’ll learn all about those three elements. I take you through every stage one-by-one and include all of the systems, pieces, considerations, and questions you should implement or think about for each to create an excellent experience for your clients.

On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:

4:11 – I talk about the five systems you need for the first element: client onboarding.

10:50 – How can your clients get the best results? This is all about setting expectations.

12:54 – What’s the third area to shore up in your client onboarding process? (And what is the key to making it work)?

16:32 – The final piece of onboarding is incredibly powerful to make sure that everything starts off on the right foot.

19:37 – Your path to success lies in this next element of your customer experience plan. Here are a couple of areas to think about as you map it out.

28:19 – Too often, entrepreneurs wait to do this. So you’ll need to be proactive in this next step on your success path.

30:39 – How can you keep your clients committed to the process of going through your entire program? I reveal the final piece to your success path.

33:56 – I discuss four steps to think about as you complete the implementation of your customer experience plan for each client.

Mentioned in Designing an Excellent Customer Experience In 3 Stages

When it comes to designing an impeccable customer experience, a customer experience that has people raving about what it was like to work with you, that has people sending you referrals, that has people coming back and doing business with you again, it can feel really confusing, because most people aren't talking about customer experience when they think they are. What they're really talking about is customer service, answering problems as they arise, troubleshooting things, putting out fires.

But today I'm going to walk you through the three stages of your customer experience strategy. Grab your notebooks for this one, CEOs. You're going to want to make sure you have addressed and mapped out your customer experience in each of these three stages. Let's get into it.

Are you ready to grow from stressed-out solopreneur to competent CEO? You're in the right place. I'm your host, Racheal Cook, and I've spent more than 15 years helping women entrepreneurs sustainably scale their businesses. If you're serious about building a sustainable business, it's time to put the strategy, systems, and support in place to make it happen. Join me each week for candid conversations about stepping into your role as CEO, the hard lessons learned along the way, and practical profitable strategies to grow a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout.

Okay, CEOs, today it's time for the practical episode here. Actually, most of these episodes in this series, all about designing an impeccable customer experience, are going to be extremely practical, because this is an area where people are struggling. People don't know how to make their experience better.

As a result, they're not getting clients who are sticking around. They're losing clients all the time. They're dealing with refunds and cancellations or dealing with unhappy clients who aren't sending them referrals, who aren't sending them testimonials. Those things don't come by accident. They come by design.

If you want testimonials, you want referrals, you want people out there evangelizing your business, then grab your pen and paper, we're going to map out the three stages of your customer experience plan. Now these three stages are essential for any offer. I don't care what the offer is, if it's a product, a program, or a service. If it's a digital product, an online course, a group coaching program, an actual service you're doing in person, a service you're delivering virtually, whatever it is, you need to have a game plan here for each of these three stages of your customer experience.

When you have this clear customer experience, this clear journey you're taking people through, not only is it going to make it so much easier to take care of your clients, but you're also going to make it easier to eventually bring people on to support you in working with your clients or to work directly with your clients, and make sure that every single client is getting the same top-notch experience in their journey working with you. Okay, let's get into it.

The first stage of the customer experience journey of mapping out your customer experience plan is onboarding. Onboarding is so important. It sets the tone for the entire relationship with your new client. If onboarding is confusing, if it's disconnected, if people don't know what to expect, or they don't know what to do next, then the tone you're setting is frustration, overwhelm, confusion, and buyer's remorse.

Let's reverse that. Let's make sure we have a solid onboarding process. The first thing everyone needs is to make sure your onboarding systems are in place. The last thing you want is someone who is ready to work with you and you don't have these things in place so that you can easily get started.

Here are systems you may want to put in place: You may need to have an agreement for people to sign, especially if you're doing high-end services. You likely have some sort of client agreement that they need to sign and this maps out, lays out exactly what they are signing up for, what the offer is. It also should be a legal agreement that is protecting you and protecting them.

The goal is clarity and expectation setting. You're probably going to need to have an agreement saying, “Yes, we are engaging in a business relationship. Here's what we are engaging in,” setting the terms, setting the scope of service, and clearly articulating different policies that your clients need to be aware of. Is there a late payment fee? Is there a specific schedule on how they'll be billed? What if they have a disagreement or need to open a dispute or whatever? All of that needs to be laid out in your agreement.

Now some offers I'm very aware like people coming online and buying a digital on-demand product, they're not going to need to sign a contract, but your terms and services are your agreement. You want to make sure those are all buttoned up and that people have to acknowledge them in order to take the next step with you.

This protects you and it sets and lays the expectations for your clients. Make it easy on yourself. Make sure that all they have to do is sign it digitally. If you have to jump through hoops, people are going to get frustrated and confused. If I need to print something out and fax it back to you or scan it and send it back to you, oh my gosh, now you've just added so much friction for us to get started.

Same thing with invoicing, billing, and payment. Make it easy to get paid. Make it easy. Make sure you have either an invoicing program that is super intuitive and super easy for people to use. If you're setting up recurring payments, I highly encourage this by the way, if you have people working with you on an ongoing basis, put it on auto-pay, make it easy for them to put it on auto-pay.

Otherwise, you're constantly going to be chasing down invoices and you're constantly going to be trying to get the check for the services that you're doing. I really encourage everyone to make sure you have an easy-to-manage invoicing, billing, and payment system in place.

You probably need to have some sort of scheduling system in place. If you're delivering any sort of service, you want to have a tool that makes it easy for people to get on your calendar. If they're having to go back and forth with you a million times in email to find a time, that is wasting a ton of time, it's incredibly frustrating for your potential client.

If they are having to call in to get on the calendar, they're not going to call in. In fact, I would say that we are at a point now where any business that is by appointment, if you don't have an online scheduling tool, I guarantee people are not scheduling with you. They are going to someone else who it's easier to get on their calendar. Let's make sure we have our online scheduling tool set up.

The fourth thing in your systems you might need is what access do people need in order to work with you. This could be if they're buying an online program, a course, or something of that nature, maybe there's a member site or a password-protected site that they need to log into in order to get access to that program. We need to make sure they have access. We need to make sure we're clear on our end what are we giving access to.

Maybe you have a system that you need to have access to. I have a lot of CPAs in The Collective right now, and oh my gosh, they need access to so many things. They need you to set up bookkeeping access, accountant access to all your payment systems, all your credit cards, all your bank statements. They need access to a lot in order to even get started. That creates friction. The more you can make it easy for people to get access to what they need, the easier the onboarding will be.

Same thing with if you're a website designer or anybody who's doing creative work, if you need access to stuff or you need things in order for you to even begin work, the easier you can make this, the easier it’s going to be and the less frustrated your clients are going to be.

The final thing that you want to make sure you're thinking through in your systems is your communication channels. Once they're a client, how are they communicating with you? If you're not sure, then they will try to communicate with you in every channel that you have.

In my business, I do not like to communicate via email with my clients because my team manages my inbox and things can get very busy in there. I tell people, “If you're in The CEO Collective, we have a direct message feature in our platform so they can direct message me or they can post in the group.” That is the best way to connect with me if they're a member of The CEO Collective.

If they email me, it's going to take probably a day or two for me to get back because I'm not going to see it. You want to think about your communication channels. Is it email? Is it a different platform? Is it Slack? Is it a project management system? How are you communicating? This also is how are you getting information back and forth.

Important things to think about. You need those systems in place as you're onboarding and you need clarity on what those systems are. You need to know what your getting-started checklist looks like. Again, this is going to be especially applicable to people who are offering a service. If you have people getting started with you, one, what information do you need from them? How can you make it as easy as possible to get that information?

One of the biggest sticking points for a lot of service providers is “I just can't get information from people. I need them to give me this information. They're not doing it. They don't fill out the worksheet,” or whatever you're sending them, “How are you making it as easy as possible?” I recommend simplifying, simplifying, simplifying. Is there a form they can fill out to get all the information to you?

A new client intake form. If they have to send you information, where are they sending it? Is there a shared Google Drive folder that you could have them drop it in? Make it easy to get the information that you need so that you can do your job.

Next, how can they get the best results? This is all about expectation setting and I think this is especially important for those service providers out there, how can they get the best results working with you and your company? What do they need to know?

This information might be in your sales page or sales information already. It might be in your agreement, but you cannot restate your expectations over and over again enough. The more you lay out those expectations, the more they'll understand and remember those expectations.

If you want to tell people how to get the best results from working with you, one thing I love is I literally will put together a little, for my one on one clients, they have a little PDF that's like how to get the most working with Racheal and it is super detailed. It tells them how to communicate with me, how to get my feedback on things. It even tells them how to use Voxer to make sure that we're communicating well.

Because I lay that all out, and I'm reiterating it multiple times in this onboarding process, they know how to get the most out of their experience with us. You also might have some homework for people to do. This could be different from your intake process. Intake information is going to vary depending on business to business. But I highly recommend doing some sort of intake process so you can get that customer information.

The homework might be different, the homework or the pre-work to getting started is specific to what you are doing with them, whatever your offer is. The intake can be more about just getting to know your clients or getting your own data and research as you're onboarding people. They might be slightly different and that's okay.

Again, getting started, those three things: intake process, expectation setting, best results, and homework are going to be more specific to service-based businesses, but helpful if you want to get information basically in any offer that you have. You can't get enough information about your clients, especially in their own words, it's the best market research there is.

The third area of your onboarding is your client delight, your new client delight. How are you making sure that from the moment they start working with you, they are excited, they're fired up, they're already feeling well taken care of? If you've got the systems in place and made it really easy for people to get started, like you're already ahead of the curve on this, they are going to be excited about working with you, that's delightful. Having a seamless experience is delightful.

But what else can you do? Well, I love sending out recommended reading. I love sending out books to people. I send out so many books or lists of things like my best podcast for them to dig into. I might even have a training that I want them to dig into first, so I'll make sure it's really easy for them to get going, really easy for them to get into the material.

I might have print workbooks that I'll send out to them. Also tools for success, like what do they need to successfully do whatever it is you're doing together? I've had so many different examples of this. I'm not just going to share from my own business because if you work with us, you're getting a lot of planners. Clearly, that's one of the biggest reasons we made the planners was to send print planners to our clients.

But I mean I'm thinking of I work with a health coach who included in her new client delight, she included a huge bundle of all the things I would need to really get into her programs like seasonings that were aligned with the plan, coffee replacements to try out and see if I would like, all sorts of different things that just made it really easy to succeed in the plan.

You can build this into your offer. The key is if it's delight, it's like a surprise. You're not necessarily promoting that, “Hey, when you join me for this program, I'm also sending you an aura ring.” Instead it's like, “Oh, no surprise, you're getting this amazing thing on top of it.”

I'm a huge fan of making things more personal. Even at scale, this is something you can do. You can always send out a handwritten card, goes a long way. But can you send out lumpy mail? Can you send out something that is aligned with your brand? It doesn't have to be like a branded thing so it doesn't need to be like a branded coffee mug as I'm sipping my coffee mug from Rebel where I got it. But it can be something that's just a thoughtful touch.

I know in working with a lot of different service providers, I've gotten everything from flowers to chocolate. A lot of people send me plants because they know I'm a plant person. I've gotten one of my favorite things. My friend Maggie Patterson sent me, oh god, years ago when she and I were working together on some projects, she sent me a canvas tote bag that said, “I like big books and I cannot lie.”

I use that tote bag 10 years later all the time, it's one of my favorites. I think about her every single time. I use it. It was just so thoughtful and personal. She knew that I'm a big reader so it just felt so incredibly thoughtful as a way to kind of kick off our working relationship.

New client delight I think is something you don't have to go overboard with it but take a little bit of time and think about “Is there something I can surprise and delight that is going to elevate this experience, make it easier to get into the work together, that it's going to show that I'm interested in them as a person and I want to build on that relationship?”

The final piece of your onboarding process is some sort of kick off call. I'm going to say this skews heavily towards people who are service providers or are running some sort of group coaching, training type of programs, you might not have a kickoff call for an on-demand product but a kickoff call or a kickoff session can be incredibly powerful to make sure everything is starting off on the right foot.

When onboarding is 100% automated, especially if you're getting people into a lot of content or into a journey that can be really overwhelming, when it's 100% automated, people can still get lost. Even if you think it's crystal clear, they will find a way to get confused. Having an opportunity for them to talk directly with you can make a huge difference.

The kickoff is a great way to reiterate expectations like, “Hey, here's what we're doing. Here's what you signed up for, what you're getting, here are the deliverables, here's the timeline, here's when things are due, here are the expectations.” A kickoff is also a great time to get more information from your client.

If you're somebody who needs a lot of data collection in your business, you need to get a lot of information from your client, you need them to do a lot of pre-work before you can do your thing for your client, sometimes they're not going to sit down and write out what you need them to write out.

You might just have to have a session and say, “Hey, let's just book a call and go through this together.” That way, you can get the information you need and they're more likely to just sit down and talk through it instead of typing it out. That might be an option.

Even in our group program in The CEO Collective, one of my favorite things to do on our new member welcome call is ask questions to get to know people better, get to know them a little bit better. These are different from the questions they filled out and the intake process.

One of my favorite questions is how will I know if you are stuck or in resistance? That's me asking them, “Hey, what are your bad habits here? Are you going to disappear? I need to check on you if you stopped showing up. It gives them an opportunity to reflect too that, “Hey, we're a proactive experience here. If we don't hear from you, we’re going to reach out.”

It can be a great way in that call, whether it's a one-on-one call or a group call. Again, level-set expectations begin to really deepen that relationship, get what you need, and lay out what's going to happen next. That's onboarding. In the onboarding, you need to have your systems, how do they get started, what is your new client delight, and what is your kick-off for your experience look like.

If you can cover those things,you will be so amazed at how much better your client’s beginning of their experience with you will be. You'll be amazed how much quicker you can turn around things for them because you've made it even easier for them to get started.

The next element of your customer experience plan is the delivery of your offer. This is your success path. Even if every client is a little bit different, and I hear this a lot from service providers, they're like, “Well, I don't really have a step one, step two, step three. Everybody's a little different. I kind of mix it up and I do things very intuitively,” awesome, I get that. I do things intuitively all the time. It's a huge part of why I think I'm so good at what I do. But when you talk to people enough, you see patterns.

When you see patterns, I mean if you've had 50 clients, 100 clients, I mean I've had thousands of clients, I know what their journey is going to look like. I know that they're 80% alike and only 20% different. That means I can design my success path for people based on the biggest commonalities, based on the biggest things that I know they need in order to move through this process with us.

Here are a couple of areas I want you to think about as you're mapping out your success path: First, communication, how are you communicating with people? How are you communicating with your clients? Are you communicating with a client newsletter? Are you communicating via email on a regular basis? Are you sending them status updates so they know where you are in this specific process that you're going through? Are you communicating on a regular basis?

This is especially important, I think, for those who are again, hosting a group experience. I often see under-communication in a group experience. It's like great, you joined and then there's nothing like dead silence after the onboarding process. Think about how can you be communicating frequently.

One thing we do is we have our client newsletter. Every month, there's a newsletter that goes out for the month, and every week, there's a newsletter, letting them know what's going on this week. That kind of keeps everybody up to date on what's happening in The Collective.

Another thing that we do is make sure that we have reminders going out for any calls, any meetings, any retreats, any deadlines. Again, I would rather over-communicate than under-communicate here. I make sure that there are reminders going out to people with all the information they need about what that call is about, how to access that call, how to log into it, what they need to prepare for. I'm giving them plenty of notice.

I also make sure that if we have any new content, they're getting those announcements about it, because I'm a content creator, I'm always creating new things for my clients. If I'm just uploading it into our member site and not saying, “Hey, y'all, I just created this new thing. It's going to help you with this, this, and this, you should go check it out,” they might not even realize the content that's available to them.

This is true for existing content as well. If you're like me and you have a lot of resources for your clients, it doesn't hurt to say, “Hey, this month I want to make sure you know about the get more clients challenge we have available. It's a two-week sprint to fill your client docket. Here's how you can jump into it.” You want to make sure that you're telling people what they have at their fingertips and how they can get more out of it.

Again, I'm going to be sharing a lot from my perspective of running The CEO Collective but for you it could even be sharing new things that are available in your business. If you have a new product that you're offering for your clients, and they might not know about it, or you've established a referral relationship, and you want to make sure they know about it, just communicate, make sure you're clear about how you're communicating and make a plan for how you're going to communicate.

The next area of your delivery is coaching. Everyone is a coach. Everyone is a coach whether you realize it or not because if you're helping people go through some sort of transformation, if you're helping them change something in their life, their relationship, their health, their mental well-being, and their creativity, if you're helping them to do anything, to accomplish anything, to change anything, then you're going to be coaching them even if you don't think of yourself as a coach.

Go get this book called The Coaching Habit. Fantastic book. It gives you a high-level overview of what coaching is about, but your job as a coach isn't just to cheerlead and be like, “Yeah, you can do it.” That feels empty and hollow, to be honest. If you're coaching, you're helping people, not just set the goals, commit to the plan, and follow through with the plan, but you have the experience to say, “Here are the top challenges people have when they're doing a step. Here are the biggest questions I see when people are going through what you're going through right now.”

Your job here is going to be reminding people about their goal, holding them accountable to their goal, coaching them through the biggest challenges, coaching them through the biggest roadblocks, coaching them through how to get back on track and you are going to think through, “Okay, when I'm working with people in this process, where do I see people starting to struggle? Where do I see them starting to get frustrated?”

The more people you work with, the more you'll be able to pinpoint, “The first three weeks always seem pretty good but somewhere between week three and four is when I hear “I'm overwhelmed. I'm feeling behind because I've put too much on my 90-day plan.” Now we know that.

When we're meeting with our clients for their 90-day plan, they're meeting with their mentor, their mentor is actively looking for “Hey, it looks like you might have overloaded your plan on the front end. Let's try to spread this out more so that you don't find yourself feeling like you're behind in just a few weeks.”

You want to keep an eye on those things. What are you going to have to coach people through? What are you going to have to help them overcome? What bad habits are you going to have to break, shift, or replace? You want to think through those things. Again, the more people you work with, the more you're going to see the patterns, and the patterns are where you can say, “If people are struggling in week three and four, I'm going to start proactively talking about that a week or two weeks before that happens, so they know we know and we're helping them avoid this common mistake.”

Coaching is also about mindset shifts. It's about keeping people inspired and believing in themselves. This is different than cheerleading. Cheerleading feels empty really quickly where it's like, “Go girl, you've got this.” Mindset shifts are so much deeper. Often, people don't believe that they can create change, they can create transformation, a lot of the services that so many people offer, they've been trying to do this for a long time, and they've struggled with it.

You have to understand, “What do they need to know? What do they need to believe about themselves in order to do this thing?” One of the challenges that we hear all the time from people is, “I'm too scared of being visible,” then we dig into that, “Well, why are you scared of being visible?” I mean, so many different layers of why people are nervous about being visible, especially women.

A lot of us have experienced that it can be scary to be too visible. It can be not just scary, but it can feel threatening, make us feel like we're not enough, or make us start to get hypercritical of ourselves. We need to help shift that belief, help them believe it's safe to be visible. What else do you need to help them believe? You can be visible as you are right now. You don't have to be perfect to be visible. You don't have to change yourself to be visible. What are the things I need to shift?

You want to be aware of what are the biggest hang-ups and what are the mindset shifts you need to make? How can you proactively coach them through that? Sometimes it's through sharing your own stories. Sometimes it's through sharing case studies and hearing from other people to help them believe that things can be different.

The coaching piece is huge and whether or not you believe your coach, adding coaching into the way you're thinking about helping your clients is going to make a difference.

Next on your delivery success path is checking in with your clients. This to me is one of the most important things because too often, I think people are waiting for their clients to reach out. But if clients are overwhelmed, frustrated, or confused, they're not always going to reach out. In fact, they might be shutting down. They might be silent. They might have already decided, “This was a waste and I'm not going to get what I need out of it.”

People have a really hard time raising their hand and saying, “I need help. I'm stuck. I'm confused.” Be proactive. What is your plan to check in on people? How are you checking in on people? What are you looking for? In our tracking for all of our clients, we're looking for did they complete the steps in their onboarding? Did they show up to these calls? Have they booked their mentor session? Have they booked their one on one with Rach? Have they introduced themselves to the community?

Then as they're getting through the process, if someone stopped showing up for calls or we haven't heard from people, every month we're like, “Oh, these people have been a little quiet. Let's reach out.” We're constantly checking in. In fact, our program coordinator, Shawn, proactively spends a lot of time reaching out to people who are quiet and who have kind of pulled back from the community because that's a major indicator we've learned is that a lot more of our people will be quiet when they're struggling than to come in the community and say, “Hey, I need help.”

The other thing about checking in is providing that accountability to the process that your clients have committed to. I always tell people, “I can't care about your business more than you do. But you did sign up for learning about the 90-day CEO operating system and working with us in The CEO Collective. We're here to provide accountability but we're not going to write your 90-day plan for you.

“We're going to share with you how our process works to create your 90-day plan. We're going to be available to mentor you through fine-tuning that plan but you've got to make the decisions yourself. You're the CEO, you got to make the decisions.” It is a little bit of tough love sometimes to hold people accountable to the process. But that's why these other pieces, the coaching, and everything is so important.

The final piece of the success path that I want you to think about is how are you celebrating your clients. Celebrating your clients is so incredibly powerful. One, it keeps them committed to the process. It keeps them committed to going through the whole program, finishing, and completing. But it also serves as proof, encouragement, and motivation for the other people in the program.

When they see people winning, they start to change their beliefs about what's possible. You want to celebrate, what are the big wins you can celebrate? What are the big wins in the scope of the work that you do? What are the small wins you can celebrate and how are you celebrating them? Is it just like a quick email? “Hey, I saw you did this. Congratulations.” Is it sending them a little surprise gift? How are you celebrating them? You might want to think through that.

I also want you to consider how are you celebrating things that are mindset breakthroughs. You've seen somebody have a major shift and how they're thinking and that's what's going to lead to their success. Maybe they have something to celebrate that's not the ultimate result of what they signed up for but it's still important. This is the equivalent to what I think of as your non-scale victory whenever you follow weight loss. It’s a love-hate relationship with this industry.

I'm very healthy at every size is my motto and belief system. But there is so much power in a non-scale victory. If people sign up for a weight loss program and all they're looking at is a scale, but they're not looking at “My clothes fit better. I slept better. My skin cleared up,” what are the other victories that they're having? You can apply that mindset to any offer that you have.

For us, yes, I want people to grow their business, but when they can take a vacation and leave their laptop at home and not stress because their team is finally on the same page and running things, that is a victory. We're going to celebrate that. We know what the other victories are outside of the obvious one, which is making more money, but we want to celebrate the other things too.

We also want to celebrate improving habits, improving consistency, because this is the biggest thing that in my business moves the needle for people is when they're consistently taking action, they're consistently following through. We're celebrating that.

In fact right now, we have a special thing happening in The Collective where for the entire 90 days, every week if they submit their weekly check-in form to their mentor, if they do it for 13 consecutive weeks, all 90 days, then they are not just going to win something, they're literally going to earn a one on one bonus session with me. We built it in because it's part of our process and we're celebrating consistent action, we're incentivizing consistent action because that's how we get the results.

So far we have talked about the first two out of three elements of your customer experience strategy. We talked about onboarding, what needs to be included there, what needs to be in your delivery, your success path. Now let's talk about wrapping up because all good things come to an end, and your offer is going to have a point where they're finished, or at least they've completed what they signed up for, and now we need to let them know what comes next.

How do you wrap up? This is something that you do want to be intentional with. There are a few different layers here. I think I have four steps here that I think through. If you think through this well, then you're setting yourself up for that client to return, that client to renew, that client to level up to a new product, program, or service.

You're also opening the doors for testimonials and referrals. This is an important session. You don't just want people to fall off and then not really, really think through and be intentional about this.

The first thing I think through is what does a wrap-up need to look like, what does your wrap-up session look like? You may not need to have a wrap-up session but for a lot of service providers, having a session where you come together and you're officially wrapping up the project, wrapping up the program is really important. It brings a sense of closure to the experience.

As a coach, this is where I'll sit down and say, “Okay, here's where you started. Here's your progress so far. Here are the wins I've seen from you,” I'm going to give them a lot of positive reinforcement. “Here's where you've done amazing work. Here's where you've really leveled up your leadership. Here's where you've really shone as a CEO in your business.”

I'm going to review their goals, their progress, their wins. If you can't tell, I track these things. I keep an eye on these things, because it helps me to reinforce to them that yes, they had some great wins. I also want to open up the opportunity for them to share how they feel about their progress.

Now, I will tell you that if you are in a world of helping people transform anything, change anything, go after some sort of goal, and get results, there isn't an ingrained negativity bias, we are always so hard on ourselves and we often don't stop to celebrate. We often don't stop to say, “Wow, I've come so far,” or “Wow, this has really changed. I can see the difference between my mindset then and my mindset now. I can see the difference between my systems then and my systems now.”

We can be really, really hard on ourselves because we often feel like unless we blew everything out of the water, we didn't do a great job or we didn't get results, and that's just not true. This is why you want to review where they started, how far they've come, all their progress, all their wins, all their success, you should be tracking that so that you can reinforce this with them that this was an experience that moved them forward on their journey.

As a coach, consultant, this is where we'll also look at, “Okay, what's next? What are the next goals? What would be the next steps for you?” Sometimes those next steps are going to be to repeat a program, to renew their package. It could be, “Okay, you finished this thing with me, this project with me. Now here’s how I help my clients. Now, once your website's launched, here's the ongoing retainer service to continue supporting you with your digital marketing.”

It could be that you have a next-level program. Maybe somebody graduated your course, now they can dive deeper with a VIP day or with a one-on-one coaching program. You might have a few different next steps based on your recommendations. That's going to change from client to client, you are not obligated to ask somebody to renew if you really didn't like working with that client. You're also not obligated to go out there and create more and more and more offers.

This is where the next steps are going to depend. But you want to just give them a clear guide. It might be the next step is, “Hey, here's what I would recommend you do next,” you refer to somebody or you give them some guidelines of how they can continue making progress on their own.

All of this happens in the wrap-up session. You can do the wrap-up session individually, you can do it as a group. I often love doing it as a group because then I can say, “Share a win that you saw somebody else have, that really inspired you,” and then they'll hype each other up even more.

If you are not a coach, a consultant, or somebody doing some sort of change, transformation work, how do you wrap up a project, especially those of you who are creative entrepreneurs? Instead of being kind of a wrap-up session, it would be like this is the delivery of all the things that you've created for them.

If you're a photographer, this is a session where you say, “Hey, here's all the photos and the next step is the photos are done, the edits are done, the gallery is done. Now we can sit down and talk about what the next thing is,” which could be ordering the photos. It could be whatever else, planning the next photo shoot.

If it's a website, it’s, “Hey, here's the website. Let's walk through everything that we've done so you understand it. Here's how to take over. Here's how to log in. Here's how to use it. Here's how to make changes or how to reach out to us for all the things.” It's just a transfer of the project. The project is done, you're going to pass it off to your client.

But if all you do is say, “Here it is,” and then you're not actually taking the time to walk them through the end result, taking the time to present it to them, it can just really leave people feeling like anticlimactic. That's why this session is so important. It's a time for you to present what you have created for them and really wrap it up with a bow.

Once you have that session, then you want to follow up with an email outlining everything you've talked about. Again, “Thank you, so great to work with you. We've absolutely loved this experience. Here are your next steps.” Whether it's repeat the program, renew a package, continue working with us in this way or that way, move on to a retainer service, here's the next level program, you can give your recommendations for the next steps whether it's continuing to work with you. If it's continuing to do the work on their own, you can map out what the next steps are there if you had to set some goals with them.

If you're passing off or saying, “Here's who I would recommend for the next phase of your journey,” you can do that there. But telling them what's next helps people feel like again, white-glove service, you're helping them take that next step. You'll also have your final deliverables. If there's anything you have created for them, “Here's how you access it, download it here, your access ends on this date,” all of those things. You want to make it really easy for them to get.

Finally, request testimonials. I usually like to request testimonials in the wrap-up email. I'll start to follow up with them usually at maybe three weeks a month after they wrapped up and then maybe another few months later, just to make sure that I'm getting the testimonials, especially if they were a great client, I'm going to be super proactive in going after those testimonials.

Then the final thing is a wrap-up gift. You can tell I talk a lot about gifts because it is not about how much money you spend, it is about bringing some more of the human connection back into business instead of everything just feeling so transactional. This could be a thank you card. This could be a signature wrap-up gift. This could be a surprise bonus that you're offering as they graduate or as they move on. This could be a gift certificate for future services, a credit towards future services. That can also be an amazing, amazing gift to wrap up a specific product.

These are the things I think about all the time. When you're wrapping up, how are you elegantly offboarding them, making sure they feel like it was a great experience, making sure it feels complete to people, they know what's coming next, you've said thank you. Then for me, it's never when you're done, you're done. In my mind, once you're a client, you're always a client and my door is always open to you.

Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. If you feel like you need some support, you need a check-in, you need whatever, reach out to us, we are here. That is how we wrap up. Again, I shared next steps, I kind of tied that into the others. So wrap up session, wrap up email, wrap up gift, next steps, key-key-key.

The final pieces are once people wrap up, make sure you continue following up with them. This is again how you build clients for life. You continue following up with them. It doesn't mean you need to follow up with them nonstop every day all day. But I like to have some little check-ins like usually around the three-month mark after somebody finishes, I'll touch base.

Usually about every quarter, I'm going through my database and looking at who can I reach out to, especially if they're not super active on social which is how I stay connected to a lot of my clients. If they're a little quieter and they're not super active on social, I'll just make a note to email so and so, follow up with so and so, check-in with so and so.

Usually, they're just quick emails, I'll send a Voxer, I’ll send a little note for something that made me think of them. Those types of things are really powerful and just staying connected to your clients. When you stay connected, again, bring back the humanity, when you stay connected to people, people remember you and they will continue to hype you up as much as you hyped them up. They will continue to come back and work with you and cheer you on, send people your way.

I hope you enjoyed this episode. Oh my gosh. I feel like I just gave a masterclass on the things that you need, and really this is the outline of our training on how to design an amazing client experience. There is so much more that goes into this. If you want more, come to The CEO Collective because we have a lot of frameworks, tools, and templates to help you map this out even more. Come learn more about that in the new training that I am launching this month.

All the details will be in the show notes, all about the three essential systems to sustainably scale your business. Customer experience is one of them. One of the three. We want to go deep into that, not just in this series this month, but we're going deep into it in this live training.

If you love this episode, make sure you're continuing the conversation with me. Chat with me on Instagram @racheal.cook. I would love to hear from you, take a screenshot of the show. Tag me and let's continue the conversation. I want to hear what are you taking away, what are you implementing, what are you working on in your customer experience? If you have any great ideas that I didn't include here, I'd love to hear about it.

If you haven't subscribed to the podcast, make sure you do so because this is just the first two episodes in this series and there's more coming all about customer experience. So go ahead and subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you will be in the loop for the next episode. Thanks so much for listening to Promote Yourself to CEO. I'll talk to you soon.