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3 Ways to Improve the Client Experience & Get More Referrals

Want to attract more clients without spending an arm and a leg on marketing? Take care of the clients you already have! Improving the client experience is the best way to create happy customers and get them talking.

Here's how you can improve your client experience starting today.

Happy Customers = More Referrals

Chances are you won't get a referral from a client whose experience "just okay." If you want tons of client referrals, you have to provide a top-notch client experience. Here's an example:

Imagine you inquire with a graphic designer about creating a new logo for your business. A few days after submitting your form, you get an email with pricing information and the contract. You sign it, maybe have one call with the designer, and spend the next few weeks stressing about what your logo will look like. When you finally get to see it, it's fine, just not outstanding.

Would you send all your business friends to that designer? Maybe, but probably not.

Now imagine this: You inquire with a graphic designer, and as soon as you submit the form you get an email thanking you for your inquiry, outlining their packages, and inviting you to a Zoom meeting. You book a call through the link provided, and a few days later you get to sit down with the designer, talk about your preferences, and brainstorm ideas. You sign their contract, pay their invoice, and get updates for the next few weeks about the progress of your logo. You love the design, and a few weeks after delivery, the designer reaches out to see if you need any help implementing it in your brand.

Would you send your business friends to that designer? I would!

The happier your clients are, the more likely they'll be to sing your praises. That's how referrals start!

3 Ways to Improve Your Client Experience

There are tons of ways to improve your client experience, but here are just a few of the easiest ways you can start today.

1. Invest in a CRM.

"I want more clients, but I can barely keep up with the ones I have!"

I feel you. If you're struggling to stay on top of emails, appointments, and client onboarding, it's time to invest in a CRM (Client Relationship Manager) like Honeybook or Dubsado. These programs are designed to help you manage your client's experience from inquiry to off-boarding. You can automate emails, invoices, and meetings, all while you work on other parts of your business.

My favorite feature of these CRMs is their timeliness. Instead of waiting for you to get back to them, prospective clients can get an immediate response in their inboxes. Set it up to send them more information about your business, a link to schedule a consultation, or a form for more information. Your clients will feel taken care of, and they won't have time to forget about you between inquiry and follow-up.

2. Send client gifts.

For high-ticket, high-touch clients, I recommend sending a welcome gift. This can be something related to your work with them (like a fitness-themed gift box for a personal training client) or just something you think they'd enjoy (like a candle or bag of coffee).

To avoid having to curate, pack, and ship your own gifts, I recommend using a gift-giving service. Foxblossom and Ames & Oates are my favorites for thoughtful, curated gift boxes. Just provide your client's address (which you should collect through your contract), write a short message, and they'll do the rest.

For smaller client gifts or post-consultation "thank you's", try an app like Thnks. You can send your clients anything from a lunch via Grubhub to a coffee from Starbucks, all in the form of an email coupon. There's no shipping required, and it's instant!

Accounting Tip: You can write off up to $25 in gifts per client. This doesn't mean you have to limit your gift to a $25 value, but you'll only be able to write off a portion of it.

3. Add a personal touch.

There's nothing clients value more than being understood and appreciated. They want to feel like you see them as more than a number - as you should! The best way to acknowledge your appreciation and truly get to know your clients is to create a personal connection.

You can do this a hundred different ways, but here are a few that have worked in my and my clients' businesses:

  1. Customize their experience. Is there a way you could take your one-size-fits-all approach and tailor it to each customer? Maybe you customize their package based on their needs or provide one-of-a-kind deliverables. For higher-paying clients especially, that custom touch is crucial.

  2. Send a personal message. After you onboard a new client, reach out with a personal email or message to share your appreciation. While a CRM is great for handling the day-to-day stuff, a personal message goes a long way in winning your clients over and getting to know them better.

  3. Meet them face-to-face. Even if you can onboard a client without a video call, you might find that you want to meet them face-to-face anyway. Even if it's for just 15 minutes, a Zoom call or coffee date is a great opportunity to loosen up with your client and build trust.

  4. Get their feedback. Nothing says "I value you as a customer" like asking for honest feedback. After you off-board a client, send them an email asking about their experience. Not only will they get a chance to provide feedback, but you'll get new testimonials and advice for improving your services.

  5. Follow up. If you want repeat customers and lots of referrals, you should keep up with your clients after you're done working with them. If you provided a service, reach out and ask about their results a few weeks later. If you sold them a product, check-in and see if they enjoyed it. They'll feel appreciated, and you'll get to put your name in front of them one more time.

The client experience is an investment.

Whether time or money, improving the client experience comes with a cost. That being said, the rewards are far greater! I'll always recommend investing time and energy into your client experience and streamlining other parts of your business to compensate for it.

This process takes time, and you'll want to make sure you're seeing results. Check out my brand new course Be Your Own Bookkeeper to learn exactly how to manage your expenses, make educated business decisions, and grow your income.


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