by Yaritsa Arenas | Creative Business
“A brand is much more than just a logo; it’s the entire experience people have when they interact with your business.”
Lauren Hooker, Elle & Company
To me, the key in that quote is “an entire experience”. On-boarding your client doesn’t begin when a potential client first contacts you to talk about working together. It begins much sooner than that. How did they find out about you in the first place? How easily did they get around your website? Do they know what you offer? Are your packages and services clear? And yes, a great deal of the client experience happens once they say YES to working with you and handover their first payment.
Often times, however, once a client writes that check (or sends online payment), they can feel lost or confused. What now? Is there something they need to be doing? Do they know what that thing is??? Communication is key and an important part of a successful client experience is ensuring they know what’s going to happen each step of the way or how and when they can reach out to you if they have questions. That’s why I’ve created a Welcome Package for my clients, that keeps them in the know along the way.
Your welcome package is a document that outlines what a client should expect from your time together. It serves as a quick reference of your process, what they can expect from you, and how & when they can contact you if they need to. This document can be a simple document you email them, a hidden page on your site that you give them direct access to or a physical package that you mail to them (if you like the more hands-on process).
A Welcome Package ensures you and your client are both on the same page every step of the way. The last thing you want is for someone to hire you and not know what is going to happen next. You want them to feel confident in your process and not have questions on what’s going on.
A Welcome Package will…
Each Welcome Package should be created with your own client in mind. What are the things that they would need to know in order to feel supported throughout your process? What are the things you typically get asked once a client books you? What are some resources you provide to every client? While you give that a little thought, here are some common sections to include:
This can be a quick note saying hello and thanking your client for hiring you. Always remember that clients have a choice in who they work with, so this is your opportunity to appreciate them working with you. It can be a few sentences or 1-2 short paragraphs. Keep it short, this does not need to include your entire bio and credentials and they’ve already read through this on your site.
Outline Your Process
Hopefully, you’re already very clear about your process on your site and during your intake consultation, but here’s where you include some detail as to what they can expect the process to look like. Maybe you have a timeline that each client goes through, include it here. Maybe there’s not a specific schedule to follow, but there are steps that you’ll go through along the way. List them and explain them briefly. Will they need to provide you with anything before you can begin? Do they need to fill out a questionnaire or provide you with assets or additional information? Create a checklist of exactly what they need to provide you with and when you’ll need to receive it. Do they need to book a kick-off meeting? Provide a link to your online scheduler. Make sure they are clear on what they need to know or do next. Include due dates as necessary.
Key Notes on Payment Schedule & Policies
I’m sure you already have a contract that your client fills out prior to your work together (and if you don’t you should really consider including this as part of your intake process). Even so, it’s often nice to include a few lines on key policies. You can include a few sentences on your cancellation policy or payment schedule (if they don’t pay in full up-front). You don’t need to copy & paste the exact wording from your contract, particularly if your contract is lengthy, but you can include a short sentence that reminds them of your policies and reminds them to circle back to your contract for full details.
References & Resources
Do you have a list of resources that you typically provide new clients? Are there some key blog posts you’ve written that you recommend them reading for additional support? Do you have any pre-recorded tutorials that might be useful? Include those here.
Contact Information & Office Hours
I’ll say it again: communication is key! You always want your client to feel that they can reach out to you if they need something or have questions along the way. That said, it’s important to set boundaries. You don’t want your client emailing you at 7am on a Sunday and expecting an immediate response. You can list the best way(s) to reach you, when and where they can do so and what a typical response time would be.
For some, a Goodbye Package is also a very useful tool. It makes it very clear that your time together has come to an end and provides options for next steps (if you offer them). This can be a simple email with a thank you message for your time together or a document with final handover assets. As an example, for my design clients, I provide them with the final working files for their branding, a font & color guide they can reference moving forward and additional resources they can reference as they continue developing their brand.
For someone who provides maintenance retainer work, they could include a description of additional support packages a client can offer. You get the idea.
The main goal of the Goodbye Package is to close out the project in a clear and organized manner that leaves your client feeling looked after. I also recommend sending a Client Experience survey, which is a great way to see what your client liked (or disliked) about working together, collecting a recommendation if they’re willing to provide one, and learn about additional needs that your clients might have.
Being consistent in how you deliver your services eliminates additional work for you, but more importantly, because you have your process nailed, your client feels like they’re in good hands.
The Welcome and Goodbye Packages are just part of your client’s overall experience. I’m working on creating an offer to help you provide your clients with a professional, inviting and streamlined experience. Not only will it make things easier to understand for them, it will cut back on a lot of the admin work on your end by creating a streamlined and systemized process for you!
If you’d love to learn more, make sure you’re on my list and I’ll be sure to circle back with details.