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A Behind The Scenes Look at How We Overhauled Our Own Client Experience (Phase 4: Our Systems & Processes)

April 22, 2022

Sarah Williams

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When it comes to overhauling your business systems and standard operating procedures, it’s a process in itself. Welcome to the fourth article of our 5-part “Walking The Talk” series, giving you a behind the scenes look at how we overhauled our own client experience! When we work with our clients to design their client experiences, we work through five specific phases (research, offers, brand, systems and client acquisition).

If you want to catch past articles in this series, you can check them out here: Market Research, Offers, and Branding. 

The fourth phase in our client experience overhaul process that we work with our clients through and, as you know, we went through ourselves, was definitely the largest project to date. While previous phases like overhauling our offers and redesigning our visual identity took a ton of strategy and mental space, the Systems Phase took time, attention and resources. 

Step One: Workflow Strategy

The very first step when overhauling your systems and processes is figuring out what the process actually is. Revolutionary, I know. But this step is often one of the easiest to skip because we get so focused on having the tool setup to capture information and get invoices paid, then we often convince ourselves we’ll circle BACK to do the strategy component. Well, that doesn’t happen because if you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when are you ever going to find time to go back and fix it? 

So when it came to our new offers, and of course because we literally support our clients with creating experiences, making our own offers be an experience in themselves was a priority. 

First? We hop on over to our favourite mind mapping tool Miro to create beautiful and intense flow charts of every step in our process. From discovery calls to activating the client portal, to forms for capturing contact information for the market research phase, gifts at sign-on and post-project, an intensive questionnaire for the Offer and Branding phases… Because our packages are much bigger and take a much more holistic approach for more immediate and sustainable impact, what we needed to happen at every phase grew too. 

From there, we did the same mapping process for our Client Experience Audits and Work Parties, which — while those services already existed and we’ve run through the processes to deliver those multiple times — was great to review and strategically elevate those experiences as well. 

Step Two: Preparing & Elevating Assets

Once you have your workflows and the step-by-step mapped out, it’s significantly easier to see what assets you actually need. Does this step require a canned email? Does it need a scheduling link? Maybe a form? 

The benefit of Step One is that it creates a giant checklist of assets that need to be developed before getting them setup in an actual workflow in your system. Which is exactly what we did. 

We drafted questionnaire questions, email templates, designed branded collateral for the gifts we send our clients, wrote the copy for our proposals… all of it. This is also where we started to see our new visual identity in practice. Moreover, this is where we really let our brand personality shine. When writing copy, whether it be for a document, questions or email, making sure our language stayed true to our brand and how we want to show up for our clients was priority. 

Remember: every detail adds to the experience, from how you ask a question to how you sign off your emails. 

Once that was all as prepped as could be, we headed on over to our Client Relationship Management tool: Dubsado. 

Now, before getting to Step 3, there are some assets that now have to take those drafts and create them in your system, like creating a branded proposal, questionnaire, client portal, etc. So while we prepared as much as we could before hopping into our tool, it was now time to BUILD everything else before tying it together into automated workflows. 

Rebel Office Dubsado Design - Systems

Step Three: Streamline & Automate

Once everything was in, built and on-brand in Dubsado, it was time to automate everything. We built our workflows, step by step, being extremely intentional about what form was sent with what other links, what forms were added to the portal instead of sending a million emails to new clients all at once, what appointment schedulers had to be sent when, etc.

It can be easy to think entirely about how you have to AUTOMATE, AUTOMATE, AUTOMATE. But it’s important to remember to add the human element back into it. Do you want to bombard your new client with everything all at once, or did you want to spread out information and actions so they absorb and do everything you need them to?

And that’s not to say you can’t automate it. Just think about if there needs to be time gaps, what information can wait for your kick-off call, those types of things.

By the end of it, we broke our workflows for our custom Client Experience Design packages into multiple steps: (1) PROPOSAL which occurs after a discovery call is booked where we follow up with a proposal and carry on from there; and (2) ONBOARDING which kicks off once the proposal is accepted and the project is secured.

Rebel Office Dubsado Workflows

Why We Switched From HoneyBook to Dubsado 

Switching tools for us is never an easy or light decision. To prevent shiny object syndrome, any time we commit and anytime we choose to move away from a tool, it takes us time and lots of discussion.

For anyone that’s worked with me 1:1, they know how obsessed I am with user experience. For a very long time, I always had an issue with the LOOK and EXPERIENCE of Dubsado’s forms. To me, it always felt like “it was Dubsado”. Whereas HoneyBook, while still identifiable, felt like a cleaner, simpler, and overall more modern approach to client management.

Now, disclaimer: We’ve supported our clients extensively in both tools. It TOTALLY depends on your business, what features you need, and what makes the most sense for where you’re taking your business. We don’t recommend one over the other; it truly does depend.

Okay, so as I was saying… We were die hard for HoneyBook as a tool for Rebel Office. That said, things were changing with both tools and with us. With all of these changes we were making, I needed a took that could automate more and run things on autopilot. Coincidently, I also discovered how to use custom code to COMPLETELY rebrand Dubsado forms to look very much not like the standard Dubsado forms.

All of a sudden, we had an opportunity to not only automate more of our own processes, but also have full creative and brand control, white label opportunity and beyond for our client experience. It became a no brainer for us to switch.

Step Four: Bringing our Standard Operating Procedures Internally

The final step in our custom client experience design packages, and therefore in our own overhaul, is building out Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and making sure workflows and collaboration on projects is setup for success in your project management tool, like ClickUp or Asana.

We use ClickUp, and we took a bit of a different approach to our Custom Client Experience Design Workflows by instead created a workspace for myself and the Rebel Office team to come together, consolidate information and ensure all of the moving pieces get done.

Here’s an inside look:

 

How We Support Our Clients With Their Client Management Systems

While we’re sharing our experience overhauling our own, this isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve been not only doing our own but also elevating over a hundred clients own experiences and systems to create a streamlined, intentional process to onboard, deliver and upsell in their business. Moreover, and probably one of my favourite benefits of getting clear, streamlined systems in place, you get more SPACE in your day to show up and do what you love: serve your clients, live your life and work on new projects.

In our Custom Client Experience Design packages, by the time we get to Phase 4 (Systems), you’ve got optimized offers, a clear strategy and fresh new brand. So we take all of that, do an intensive mapping session to design your experience workflows, and then we get to work in your Dubsado or HoneyBook to create a truly transformational experience for your clients.

Things we do and setup for you during Phase 4:

  • Map out workflows for all of your offers (from courses and products to your high ticket packages)
  • Design beautifully on brand assets for you like welcome guides, forms, proposals, etc.
  • Draft all of your copy for your canned emails and documentation
  • Setup and optimize your CRM tool
  • Setup your workflows to automate every phase of your client process, from inquiry to upsell to offboard
  • Research, design and setup any client gifting incorporated in your workflows
  • Create a tutorial library for you and your team to manage clients with confidence
  • Document and publish your Client Management Manual

Plus so much more 😂

If you’re interested in exploring our custom Client Experience packages, complete the application form on this page and we’ll send you a link to schedule a quick chat!

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