As an interior designer, your goal is to create luxury spaces for your clients. Your clients have hired you because they have confidence in the fact that you are the best at what you do. They trust your expertise and value your guidance through the design process.
It is important that your client feels valued, cared for, and kept in the loop from Discovery Call to project completion.
The weight of creating a luxury client experience falls on your shoulders and creating this process can feel overwhelming. It’s important to outline your processes and identify any gaps where your client experience may be lacking.
What defines a luxury experience?
When a new client signs a contract for design services they’re entrusting that their project is in the very best hands. To alleviate any concerns they may have it’s helpful to send out a Welcome Guide so they’re aware of what the next steps are, what additional information may be required from them and how they can expect communication to proceed throughout the project. Setting these expectations from the beginning heads off any miscommunication that may happen and sets a high standard for the experience.
It can become obvious when you are not in control of your project and details begin to fall through the cracks. Being confident in your processes and knowing all bases are covered saves you the headache, most importantly your time, and keeps the client feeling excited about their project progression.
What tools can you use to create a high-level design experience for clients?
Consider a few of these options when outlining your onboarding process for a new client.
Including a short video about your firm and your design team adds an elevated and personal touch to your client welcome guide. Use a service such as Loom to record the video and embed in the guide.
Create your welcome guide using Canva to present a clean and professional document to either include in a welcome email or give to clients in person.
Sending a gift at the beginning or end of the project to show your gratitude to have them as a client or as a token of your appreciation for their trust in you is a simple gesture. Take advantage of services such as BoxFox or The Good Box for a luxury gift that is packaged beautifully and can be personalized for each client if desired.
Are you writing an email from scratch each time you have a new lead come in, onboard/offboard clients, send project updates or even schedule design meetings? Email templates are the ultimate time saver on a daily basis. Whether you’ve totally automated your lead capture sequence by sending automated emails to new inquiries or you’ve created templates within your email platform, having these emails written and personalized for your business can save hours each week and ensure prompt responses. Having email templates designed for each phase of your design process also allows your team members to respond to the client, taking one more thing off of your plate.
Using an interior design-specific project management platform, and yes I’m talking about indema here, that allows you to create project templates is a game changer. Once you’ve streamlined your design process and outlined the steps of each project, create a template of tasks you and your team will be responsible for executing. Using this template for each new project guarantees crucial steps of your process aren’t overlooked or forgotten.
While we’re talking about your project management software, let’s chat about scheduling client meetings. There is nothing more frustrating than going back and forth in email trying to find the best time to coordinate schedules for a design concept meeting. Building a scheduler within your platform allows your client to pick the time that works best for them without the back and forth with your team. A scheduler allows you to build a schedule that works best for your business and lets the client choose convenient times for themselves. Add reminder emails to help streamline this process.
How does creating a luxury experience for your clients benefit your business?
While the focus of a luxury client experience is to ensure the client feels supported throughout the design process, your business will in turn benefit from delivering a stunning product to an over the top satisfied client.
Knowing that the systems you’ve put in place to allow the client to feel well taken care of are streamlined, you’ll be able to return to the creative work you love. You started your business because you’re passionate about design, the backend details of the business shouldn’t be dominating your workdays (or keeping you up at night).
One of the benefits of a satisfied client is that they often refer friends and family for design services or even become repeat clients themselves.
Let’s be honest, this is a business where customer service is key and those glowing reviews can help keep business booming. Clients that feel valued and well taken care of are willing to let others know just how amazing their experience working with your firm was.
Finally, knowing that the processes of your business are streamlined and efficient allow you the confidence to charge your worth. The more confident you feel, the easier it will be to send your rates out to clients without question.
Taking the time to outline the processes within your design business and identify areas that need streamlining may seem like a daunting task but will be worthwhile in the end and will allow your business to become more profitable and scalable.
As with any design project, there will be hiccups in the road. Things will go wrong. Deadlines will be missed and projects will face challenges. Knowing that you have strong processes in place will give you confidence in the foundation of your business despite these challenges.
Clients will receive luxury treatment throughout their design process, you will be able to return your focus to what you love and your team will feel empowered to take on tasks knowing you have thoughtfully mapped out processes in place.
Guest post by: Jess Gaither | indema Certified Partner