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How to Design a Unique Client Experience

Differentiation through client experience design offers you a significant advantage.  Especially for highly-commoditized products and services!  In this blog, I’ll outline what I know.

For twenty years we’ve been closely aligned with the foremost entrepreneur coaching company in the US, CAN and the UK.  Those clients were sent to us to so we could help them define their “secret sauce” and to package it in such a way that it would scale.  We’ve mapped an awful lot of process – close to 500 businesses over the years.  Here’s what we learned:

  1. WHO matters more than WHAT. When you map process for a unique client experience, it’s imperative to make it client-centric not business-centric.  Indeed, by obsessing over the ideal client profile, you will unlock creative breakthroughs that will surprise you – even allow you to innovate on your products.  Let the client’s unspoken needs guide you.
  2. Map the CRITICAL PATH process from Lead Conversion (Sales) through Fulfillment but keep it under 10 steps. If you get too granular it’ll become confusing for you and the team to administer.  Cluster and clump activities chronologically but don’t allow any one step to have more than one theme.  If it does, it’s two steps.
  3. Think of each step as an ACT in a PLAY. Unique experience design isn’t just about efficiency or the “wow factor” – it’s about emotions.  Theatre offers us a good analogy for the “rise and fall” of action and emotions – look at your process as “putting on a play” with discrete Acts and you’ll see all the opportunities for differentiation,
  4. Once you’ve mapped the process, ask these critical questions:
    • What has to happen BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER this portion of the process to make it special?
    • If you charged (pick a number that freaks you out a little) for just this one step of the process, what would have to happen for clients to feel they got their money’s worth?
    • What are the deliverables that they receive at each step?
    • What client Dangers or Obstacles does this step of the process address? How can we enhance it?
    • If your prospect were to call their spouse, or partner after participating in each portion of the process, what would you want them to say?
  5. DESIGN your process like you would a product. It should have a name, a design, you can even trademark it.  Treat it like you wrote a book or launched product.
  6. Put it in a PLAYBOOK so others on your team can enhance it. Yes, you want conformity from the team but there is an alluring value in crowd-sourcing good ideas from them as well.  Take advantage of their creativity and drive buy-in.
  7. STEAL from others. Unique Experiences are sometimes mastered by people in your industry but often we can get inspired by the hotels, restaurants, and professionals who we encounter in our day-to-day.  Look everywhere.  Become a curator of good ideas.

Final thoughts:  Experience design is time consuming, challenging, and sometimes feels like a distraction from the fire du jour.  However, operationalizing a unique client experience is incredibly rewarding, often mitigates client issues, retains staff, increases referrals, and offers a powerful advantage when it comes to differentiation.

Want to learn more?  Download this free tool, The Ultimate Client Experience.

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