7 Ways to Upgrade Your Client or Customer Experience

According to American Express, people will pay 86% more if you give them an impeccable customer experience. That’s why providing a great experience after the purchase is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself, your brand, and your business from your competitors.

So how can you improve the customer experience of your company? It’s all in the delivery of whatever you offer, whether you’re selling a product (physical or digital) or a service. Today on the Promote Yourself to CEO podcast, you’ll learn about seven ways to upgrade the delivery process of your offer that’ll have your clients or customers loving you and your business.

On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:

4:41 – Clear containers for your offers helps you as well as your clients or customers. How?

8:28 – With so much small business competition, how can you develop relationships with your clients so that they remain loyal to yours?

11:45 – Have a clear vision for your customer experience and create a success path to help buyers get there.

13:20 – Do you follow up after the purchase? I discuss how to create checkpoints and proactively reach out.

17:44 – You’ll need to proactively coach your clients or customers on this as well.

21:05 – What can you use to improve your customer experience on an ongoing basis?

24:57 – The last way to upgrade your customer experience is easier said than done, but it must be done for a sustainable business.

29:22 – To wrap the show, I quickly recap the seven ways to upgrade your customer or client experience.

Mentioned in 7 Ways to Upgrade Your Client or Customer Experience

Y'all, I am so, so spoiled. If you've ever been to my office here in downtown Richmond, Virginia, then you know that I have the perfect location because I am directly across from Stella's market. Stella's market is the sister business to this incredible restaurant here in Richmond, Virginia. It's one of my favorite restaurants. Stella's a Greek restaurant, and they open all these markets around the city, and I'm right across from it.

I have become such a loyal fierce Stella fan that I will always, always, always hype up Stella's wherever I go. I have to say their experience with those who are their regular customers is hands down one of the best ever. Recently, they started sharing on the chalkboard that sits outside of their door that after one o'clock in afternoons, they have fresh spanakopita, the freshest just made straight out of the oven available.

I showed up the first day and it wasn't quite ready. They didn't have the oven on. I was a little too early. But they know me and they know I'm directly across the street and I'm always in there. I'm always bringing clients in there. They actually said, “Well, give us a few minutes and we'll just run it across the street to you. No problem.” What? Now that is an incredible customer experience.

It's not just thinking about how can we just take care of problems but how can we elevate someone's experience with us. How can we make their experience better and turn them into lifelong clients? Well, today I want to talk about seven ways you can elevate your customer experience and have clients love you and your business as much as I love Stella's. 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, we have been going deep into all things customer experience in this month's series, because customer experience is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself, your brand, your business from all the other businesses out there who are doing similar work.

If you remember from the very first episode, American Express shared that when you have an impeccable customer experience, clients are willing to pay 86% more because of that, 86%, that's almost double. That's what people are willing to pay for a great experience.

We want to think about how can we continuously be improving our experience. The biggest difference between experience and customer service is that experience is proactive. Experience is about elevating what our clients are going through with us however they're working with us. It's about really leaving a memorable experience, really helping them feel connected, cared for, and seen, whereas customer service is generally troubleshooting problems, putting out fires, very reactive.

In the last few episodes, we talked about why customer experience matters so much. We talked in the last episode about the three key stages of creating a customer experience strategy. If you didn't listen to that one, go back in, it is a masterclass on how to map out your customer experience. Today I want to talk about seven ways to upgrade your experience, seven ways to upgrade your delivery process and to just be a class of your own, to have your business stand out in the minds of your customers so much as the creme de la creme in what you do.

I have seven different things to think about here. First, number one: have clear containers. I love clear containers because you can see exactly what you're getting. This is how we need to think about our offers. Whether you're selling a product, you're selling a program, you're selling a service, you need a clear container around that product, program, and service.

If it is vague, if it is unclear, if it is fuzzy, then what tends to happen is people don't know what they are signing up for, they don't really know what they're getting, they don't know how it's going to work or how it's going to be delivered. This often not only leads to confusion, frustration, overwhelm but often, especially for service-based businesses, can lead to scope creep, it can lead to clients who don't know what your boundaries are, because there are no clear containers here, there are no expectations about what is in this offer.

So we have to really drill down here and think about how can we make it as clear as possible what you're getting in this product, program, or service. The more crystal clear you can make it, the better. I promise, if you are not clear, you will find that people are not trying to take advantage of you, they just don't know. They don't know what they don't know because you haven't told them.

You're the expert that they have hired. They don't know the process. They don't know what the industry standard is. They don't know what is typically considered part of this offer. You have to tell them. What are you including in your offer? You have to consider what content is included if you have content you're creating for them or that they're going through, if you have a course, a group program, or something along those lines.

You have to consider what services are included for them. Under services, what are they getting? What is the access to you? How many sessions? How many calls? How many appointments? How are they communicating with you? Where's that happening? How is that happening? What are the deliverables they're getting? What are the the actual end things that they're getting from this experience? You want to map that out.

If you can't clearly articulate it, and they can't clearly see what they're buying, then I guarantee there's going to be confusion, frustration, overwhelm, and a feeling of “I don't exactly know how this is working.” Clarifying things instantly makes things easier for you and so much easier for your clients because they're not guessing, you're not putting the burden of understanding how things work on them. Because remember, they're not the expert. You are.

Leadership is showing up and saying, “Here's how I work with people and here's the process we go through together. Here's exactly how that's going to work. I'm going to take you through it step by step by step.” The first way to upgrade your overall experience is to have that clear container. Make sure that it is clear on your sales pages. Make sure it's clear on your proposals.

Make sure it's clear in your agreement and your terms of service. Make sure that it's clear in your onboarding. You want to reiterate it over and over and over again. Even though you will feel redundant for saying the same thing multiple times, people need to see it multiple times. They need to hear it multiple times. They need to easily know where to go back and understand what the process is and what they're getting.

The second way to upgrade your delivery process is to get to know your clients on a human-to-human level. Build real relationships with your clients. We are seeing so much right now. I mean small businesses are exploding, businesses are exploding everywhere. There are more people starting, right now, new businesses than ever before, which means there's more competition than ever before.

There are a lot of people out there running these businesses who are just seeing clients as dollar signs in their bank accounts and they are not really getting to know their clients. They're not establishing a true connection. I'm seeing this, especially in businesses that are scaling very quickly. People don't know who they are.

When I walk into Stella's across the street, they know exactly who I am. They know my office is across the street. They see me multiple times a week. They even know who my children are. Because when my kids walk in, they know they're going straight to that cookie counter to get the massive rainbow sprinkle cookie. They know who I am, and that makes me loyal as hell.

Get to know your clients. This doesn't mean you have to blur boundaries and be everybody's BFF but when you take a little bit of time to get to know them, it creates a connection that makes them know that you care. How can you get to know your clients? One, take the time to learn a little bit about them. Spend time with them.

This could be, for me, when I have new clients coming into my world, we spend so much time getting to know them and their business. I'm going to read their website, I'm going to check out all their offers. I'm going to check out their social. I'm going to join their email list. I'm going to get to know their business as much as I can.

I'm also going to try to get to know them as a person. My intake form is asking questions like: What are your goals in your life? What are your goals in your business? How will this impact every other area of your business? I get to know them. That is huge.

I also look for opportunities to create connection outside of just doing the work. This is something I really love when we have people in person. Sometimes it's easier to do this in person, honestly. I feel like relationships accelerate when they're face-to-face. When you get to actually sit down with somebody, you have so much more connection than when there's a screen separating you.

When I have the opportunity to host people here, we make sure we have a happy hour. We go out to dinner together. I will host co-working days in my office where I can get to know people a little bit outside of what we're mainly working on. I invite people to attend conferences with me or to go to events with me.

Creating that connection is so powerful and it doesn't have to be hard, it just has to be thoughtful, intentional, and authentic. You don't just get to know them without actually caring. You want to get to know them because you care.

My third way to upgrade your delivery is to create a clear customer experience vision and success path. Have a vision of what you want your clients to experience. What do you want their results to be? How do you want them to feel about you and your business? How do you want them to talk about you and your business?

If you could be a fly on the wall while they were talking about your business, what types of things would you want to hear them say? What do you want them to know you for? This is so powerful, because when you have clarity around what you want their results to be, how you want them to feel, and how you want them to talk about their experience working with you, you can create something that leads them to that.

That's what the entire last episode was, by the way, it was mapping out every single part of your success path so that you can not only get them the results that your offer promised, but you're also intentionally creating an experience that has people just so excited about their work with you and what their experience was with you.

But if you don't have that clarity, nothing else is going to overcome that. If you don't have a clear path, if you don't have a clear vision, you're always going to be in reactive problem-solving mode as opposed to being able to stay being proactive and being able to surprise and delight, being able to go above and beyond, being able to have those personal touches.

Personal touches leads me to number four: create checkpoints and proactively reach out to people. Even if you have a digital product, even if all people bought from you was a book, proactively reach out. Now this is a big pet peeve for me, because I can tell when people just aren't paying attention to who's buying from them. Even businesses that are mostly retail products, I mean, I've seen some great retail businesses who have such great follow-up after you purchase something.

When I purchased a pair of glasses online, I can't remember what company it was off the top of my head, it might have been Warby Parker. I think it was when I bought some Warby Parker glasses. Their experience was so helpful because they actually followed up to let me know, “Hey, your glasses are being shipped. Your glasses are here. Here's how long you have to try them on and then return them.”

They actually shipped me the wrong pair. It was in the right frame but the wrong color of the frame. It was so easy to follow up and make sure that I could return them and get the right color frame because they had a whole follow-up process to make sure that everything was going exactly as it should. For me, that was an excellent experience and that made me want to buy glasses from them again. I have five pairs from Warby Parker.

You want to create checkpoints and you want to proactively reach out. That could be writing out a sequence that's going to follow up with them after they buy a product or it could be knowing, “Hey, people tend to struggle when they get to week two or three in this program. Let me go ahead and make sure we're sending out a quick email, make sure we're sending out a quick voice memo, or just checking in with them in some way.”

If you are doing more high touch, high-end offers, and if you're doing a high-end offer, meaning anything that has a comma in the price point, and you're not reaching out to people, then you are running a transactional business, you're not running a relationship-focused business. I'm just going to call it out as I see it.

If there's a comma in your price point, and you're not reaching out, no one on your team is reaching out, there's no personal connection at all in any way, shape, or form with clients, that's a problem for me, because you're trying to charge premium prices without premium experience. There must be premium experience if you're going to charge premium prices.

You want to make sure that you've created checkpoints in your experience in your offer so that you can proactively reach out to people. If you see people are getting quiet, they're not participating in your group, they're not showing up in your calls, reach out. If you're seeing that people aren't able to show up to everything, you want to make sure they're still getting value out of what they're doing.

I happen to know that a lot of people that purchase programs, especially online programs, aren't able to show up to everything. This can freak out a lot of people and then they feel like, “Oh, my god, my program is failure, so and so signed up and she's not showing up to anything.” I can't tell you how many clients I have who have signed up, gone through The CEO Collective, gotten tremendous value, but they didn't participate in the group and they were not able to show up for the majority of the calls.

But I checked in with them, whether it was DMing them, emailing them, or whatever, and I knew they were getting value. I have clients who that's their MO, that's how they operate, they don't really show up and actively engage as much but they're still getting value because they're listening to the calls. They're going through the material and they're applying it.

Because I proactively reach out, when they see a win, I know because they're checking in with me. I love that. But I would never know the impact if I wasn't still trying to say, “Hey, I want to connect. I want to hear. I want to know how it's going. I'm glad my content can stand on its own and you're just getting amazing results from it, and just keep me in the loop because I want to support you.”

Number five, the fifth way to upgrade your delivery, upgrade your experience: proactively coach people through the most common challenges, the most common roadblocks, the most common obstacles they're going to have on this journey. This is so, so important for so many people because often, our clients get stuck, and when people get stuck, they start to disappear. They shut down. They completely fall off track.

There's a lot of all-or-nothing mindset, especially in Western society, where people are like, “Either I do it 100% or 0%. There's no in-between.” You have to be ready to see when that happens. Now in my business, I tend to see common challenges show up again and again. I see perfectionism take hold and instead of getting something out in the world and starting to promote it, it stays in that top-secret entrepreneur lab way too long.

I have to coach people through that, let go of the perfectionism. In fact, I am purposefully imperfect, because by me showing up and saying, “Hey, we make mistakes. Hey, this link is broken,” I mean not all the time clearly, we have a standard, but it shows that I'm normal and these are just things that happen. Nothing is perfect all the time, and it's okay.

I don't need everything to be perfect to be impactful. I don't need everything to be perfect in order to get the results I want for my clients and they don't need to be perfect. They don't need to do it all perfectly. If you are talking to people, especially women who tend to be very hard on themselves, perfectionism might be something you have to help them overcome.

Procrastination might be something you need to help them overcome. How can you help them overcome their procrastination? How can you help them overcome the all-or-nothing thinking that is beating themselves up if they can't do it 100% instead of starting where they are just doing a little bit now? Think through the common challenges.

There might be challenges that you're coming up with. I see this especially with my creatives out in the world where they're like, “Okay, I really want to help people, but I'm sending them this workbook so I can start to understand their brand and what they're about, and they're not finishing it.”

Well, maybe they're not writers, how else can you help them get that out? Do you need to interview them and get the information out? Do you need to set up a call where you can literally help them figure out how do I get you into everything that you need? Think about how you can proactively move people through common challenges.

Anytime you're working with clients, when you hear the same challenges again and again, you need to start documenting that and start coming up with how we move people past this. Because if you're only doing it on a one-to-one basis and you're not kind of systematizing that, you're not making it easy for you and your team to know how to move people through the challenges, then you're always going to be kind of starting over when you run into them with clients.

When you hear things multiple times, then you can improve your experience. This leads us to point number six: create feedback loops and use that to improve your experience. Create feedback loops, you can only create feedback loops if you're in communication, if you're in relationship with your clients.

If they are not giving you feedback, if they are disappearing, if they don't feel comfortable giving you feedback, then you're guessing at what is helpful and impactful for them. You need to create open lines of communication. How can you do that? Well, you can do that in your onboarding with your intake process, that's a feedback loop. You can do that in your experience with them. You can ask people for feedback.

I think the biggest thing though is just let people know you're receptive to feedback, ask them “Is this working for you or not?” Ask for feedback regularly. It doesn't need to be such an “I need a specific form for feedback.” If people know that you're open and receptive to feedback, if you're telling them, “Hey, we are constantly working to improve. If you see something or have an idea, let us know,” that gives you so much clarity, insight, and really a line of sight into what people need.

Don't try to assume you know what your clients need or where they're getting stuck. Open up the lines of communication, make it known that you liked the feedback. You're not going to necessarily act on every piece of feedback. But if you're starting to see patterns, then you have an idea of what really needs to improve.

This is something that I also want to caution against: every piece of feedback does not mean that you need to change something. This is something I think a lot of people don't understand and they get hung up on feedback that one specific person in one specific scenario may have had, an idea they might have had, or a request they might have had.

You don't want to tailor your entire customer experience to all the outliers. There might be feedback you get, there might be suggestions you get that they're great for that specific person, but they're not the majority of the people who go through your program. You really want to take in the feedback, but then be intentional and be thoughtful about what you're going to improve, what you're going to upgrade. You can't change everything for every single person.

In fact, that's how we end up with offers that get confusing. Things get very overloaded and bloated with too much content, too many things for people. In fact, I find the more simple and streamlined you can keep your offer, the better. But when you do start to hear again and again, “I'm stuck here. I'm struggling here,” then you can come up with a way that you can move people forward.

For example, inside of The CEO Collective, we saw very early that some people were really jumping into the whole program and they were trying to do everything all at the same time. Literally, they were drowning themselves in information. What we decided to do was to map out a checklist that says, “Hey, your first week in The Collective, here's the action steps. Your first month, here are the things we recommend. Your second month, here are the things we recommend. Your third month, here are the things we recommend.”

We've actually built out a full 90 days of what we recommend to guide them through everything because we could tell that they didn't know where to start when there was so much available to them. That helps them take the pressure off. They know exactly what they should do, how they can learn the most common frameworks that we talk about so that they can get on boarded fully into the entire experience.

The seventh way to upgrade your experience, and this is going to lead right into next week's conversation: train and empower your team. This is easier said than done because, for so many entrepreneurs and CEOs, especially, I get it, me too, everything is up here in my head, everything's in my brain and it can be really hard to download everything that you know, all of your experience and expertise in a way that other people can now support you and your business.

It's so hard to get that out of your head and train other people. But if they are not well trained in your business, if they are not well trained in your offer, they're not familiar with your offer, they're not familiar with your content, they're not familiar with your clients, if they're not fully trained in all those different parts, then they're not going to be able to be the proactive team members that we all want.

I mean, what is the first thing we all put on a job description? We want you to be proactive, a self-starter, and a problem solver. They can't do that if you haven't trained them. They can't do that if you haven't shared with them the vision for this experience and how you want people to feel.

When you train and empower your team, they can find new solutions for you. They can do it without needing you to micromanage them at all. This is how they become self-directed. For example, in our CEO retreats, we started hosting them in person again, and we always include lunch. That's one of my personal mottos is feed the people.

I believe, if you're bringing people together, food, breaking bread is just such a human way to connect when you have a meal together. But one of the challenges we kept running into was whenever we were hosting these events, we have a lot of different dietary needs and preferences.

Well, once we got this location here in my office, and Mackenzie, my amazing assistant who happens to live here in Richmond, she figured out our first retreat back in the office, we had catered from somebody who we'd use years before and it just wasn't everybody's favorite. We could tell people were like, “Oh, thanks for lunch but not that great.”

Well, because Mackenzie knows our clients, because she's the one getting the email about specific food needs like, “I'm vegetarian, I'm gluten-free. I'm allergic to this or that or the other,” she was able to say, “You know what, I bet I can come up with a better solution.” And she did. She found a local restaurant here called Roots Natural Kitchen. They handle basically every dietary need because we can make a salad or grain bowls, and it's delicious.

Now our clients literally tell us that they love coming to the retreat. It's one of their favorite meals of the year, because they know they can make it exactly the way they want it and it is amazing. That's how we want people to feel. Mackenzie did an incredible job taking on finding a solution for catering for this event.

We continue to have experiences like that. She's empowered to go out there and send gifts to our clients or she's empowered to go ahead and answer questions because she knows how to take care of them. Same with our mentors. Our mentors are empowered if they see a client who needs extra support, “Jump on a quick call with me. How can I support you? How can I make a connection? How can I open a door for you?”

Our team is empowered to do things on our behalf because they were well trained. They understand the offer. They know our clients, they know what experience we're trying to deliver, how we want people to feel, and they understand what we're trying to stand for here as a business. That's how you can create a team that is able to now really take impeccable care of your clients instead of waiting and reacting to when things go wrong.

I hope this episode was helpful; seven ways to upgrade your customer experience or client experience. Number one: clear containers. If we cannot see what they're getting, they're going to be confused. Two: get to know your clients, create a true connection, relationships. Business will grow at the speed of relationships, and you can't fake relationships.

Relationships aren't transactional. They’re interpersonal, so you want to make sure you're getting to know your clients, creating real connection there. Three: have a clear vision for your customer experience and create a success path to help them get there. Four: create checkpoints and proactively reach out to people. Don't assume everybody's doing fine. Make sure you're being proactive and touching base with people.

Make sure that you're proactively checking in when there are certain things in this experience they need to know about just like my glasses, glasses are being made, glasses are shipped, you have a week to try them on, and let us know if you need anything. You want to walk people through those checkpoints.

Five: proactively coach people through common challenges. As you see things happening for your clients, pay attention. Proactively create solutions for them and let them know before the problem escalates how they can handle it, how they can resolve it.

You'll find out about those challenges by six, creating feedback loops. Again, don't change every single part of your offer on the outliers. You want to be looking for the common threads to improve the experience. If you hear about it multiple times, that's an indicator you might need to improve on something. But you don't want to be creating a hodgepodge of different things for all these outliers.

Finally, seven: train and empower your team. You want your team to be on board with every part of this experience. You want them to see where you're trying to take your business, where you're trying to take your clients, what you want people to feel. The more you can take the time to train them, the more you can make sure that they understand your vision and your values, coming back to that 90-Day CEO operating system, the more empowered they will be to make decisions on your behalf, to find solutions on your behalf, to proactively take care of people and really build that loyalty with clients.

Another great episode. So much fun. You can tell, I get so excited about these things and I collect examples of great customer experience in my head all the time. Anytime I experience something amazing, I always let people know I think they did a great job and I always take note of it because you can have amazing experiences in so many different industries and then translate them to whatever it is that you do. You can get inspiration for that anywhere.

I encourage you to pick at least one or two of these that you're going to really examine. Please don't listen to this episode and then not think through, “Have I done this? Have I done this? Have I done this?” I'm giving you incredibly actionable things that will elevate your business above the competition. Because I'll be honest, experience is most business owners’ last thought.

They're all focused on marketing and sales, but they're not thinking about delivery, they're not thinking about experience, they're not thinking about delighting their clients. That's just transactional. We want to build real relationships. Alright, I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you liked it, take a quick screenshot. Share with me on Instagram, tag me @racheal.cook. Let me know what you're going to be implementing.

If you are liking this series, stay tuned. Make sure you're subscribed to Promote Yourself to CEO wherever you listen to podcasts. We have a few more episodes in this experience series. I know they are going to be incredibly helpful because my director of operations and one of my best friends in the world, Amber Kinney, is joining me to talk about bringing on your team to support you in delivering your experience and how to surprise and delight. I cannot wait to talk to you next time.