How to Map Out your Client Workflow
Investing in a client management system (like my all-time faves Dubsado or Honeybook) to help improve your backend business function is super exciting (not to mention the fact that it makes you look and feel oh-so-legit…).
But it’s incredibly common for people to jump right in and start setting up their workflows without giving thought to how their process actually works. They know they need the system, but they’re not entirely sure what they need it to do.
After a few hours, they end up completely confused and overwhelmed because they hit the ground running without a game plan. Not only are they working to learn this new system, but they’re hastily making decisions regarding parts of their process that they may not have considered before just for the sake of having the system.
Before you dive in and start setting things up, stop to map out your process - from new inquiry all the way through delivering the final product - and make sure the system you’ve chosen is actually the right system for your business needs.
Start with the very first inquiry from a potential customer. How many different scenarios can result from an inquiry? Do you need the ability to easily send a link or document, to schedule an appointment, to reply automatically? Outline your process for each scenario to understand your needs and desired outcome within a system.
Then once you have decided how you will handle the inquiry process, examine your booking process. When a client decides to sign on the dotted line, you know that there is a series of signatures to be collected, plans to be established for the work being done, and (of course!) collection of payment. Determine the process that best fits your workflow and how you want a client to flow through this process, decide on the level of automation you’d like to use, and make a note of your requirements from a systems-perspective.
Through your partnership with your client – regardless of whether you offer a date-dependent service or if you contract for short-term projects or long-term partnerships – there are process that you use within your business to keep communication open, work flowing, and your client satisfied. If you’re like me, those processes are ever-changing and always working toward improved client experience and maximum productivity. Decide what can be automated and what needs your personal touch. Understand the ways your customer interacts with your process on the front end of your business and how each step in the service you provide flows into the next. Take into account your communication systems, information you need from your client and how you obtain it, third-party inputs, project and task management, timelines, and outcomes. After you’ve mapped it out in the way that is ideal for you, you can begin to assess the viability of a system for your specific business needs.
This concept goes all the way through your client relationship to offboarding. You don’t want an off-the-shelf system determining the final experience a client has with you, so it’s imperative that you take the time to outline your process before you let the system take over.
Approaching the setup of a new system is exponentially easier when you start with your process and make the system work for you. When you know what you want each step and outcome to look like, you’ll be able to tailor the system to serve you and your clients the way that you’ve designed.
If you’re looking to revamp your workflow or implement a back end management system, download my free process mapping workbook. This little goodie guides you through each question you need to ask yourself as you map out your processes, setting you up for systems success.