How to Create Efficiency in Your Workflows While Remaining Personal

Photo by: Kelly Sikkema

When it comes to automating your workflow, you will increase your efficiency, but one of the most common concerns is that by doing so, you will inevitably lose the personal connection that you have with your clients. When important steps happen in the background, without you manually triggering each one, how can you still provide a personal touch?

Well let me tell you, I’m a BIG fan of automation. Not only does it save time in the day-to-day of running my business and boost productivity, but it also helps me ensure that every one of my clients receives the same high level of service at just the right time in the process.

But even I, the self-proclaimed queen of automating #allthethings, hold a few steps near and dear. And it’s by doing this, by holding on to a couple of touchpoints in my client workflow, that I’m able to offer an experience that is consistent and easy to manage yet truly tailored to each client I serve.

So what does this look like in practice? Let’s break down a basic workflow:

A basic workflow: making work more efficient, but also personalizing the conversation

1. Start with automation.

When someone reaches out for the first time, they expect you to not only respond, but to respond quickly! So, use your client management system (like HoneyBook) to automate an email that’s sent almost immediately after someone submits your website contact form. Depending on your business model, this email could prompt them to schedule a discovery call with you, automatically send them your pricing guide, or simply confirm that you received their message. But the key is that it’s automated, and it’s happening FAST. Remember, with systems & automations, work efficiency is key!  

2. Follow up with a personal touch.

Regardless of whom you serve or how you serve them, it’s unlikely that you’d book a client without connecting with them on a personal level. So, use the next touchpoint to start to build that relationship. Again, this could happen via phone, video chat, email, or an in-person meeting, but regardless of the channel, be sure that you’re connecting BEFORE you send your booking documents.

3. Automate your booking process.

The goal when booking a client is to make the process as easy as possible for them. Send them to just one spot where they can choose a package/view your pricing, sign a contract or services agreement, and pay their deposit/invoice. Bundle all of the booking steps into one nice, neat, automated package.

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4. Personally onboard each client.

Depending on your business model, this could vary. But my personal preference, and how I onboard each of my clients, is to start with a templated onboarding process and customize it for each new client. I have templates I use for my onboarding email, my “getting started” questionnaire, and my onboarding checklist, but I customize them for each client so that they’re super relevant and personal to each unique situation. Because of these templates, this part of the workflow only takes me a few minutes to complete but gets the relationship off to a great start from day one.

5. Automate regular check-ins.

While you’re busy doing the work, your client may be wondering what’s happening behind the scenes. And depending on the type of business you have, there may be periods of time when your client doesn’t hear from you. To make checking in easy, automate it. As part of your internal onboarding process, schedule an email (or series of emails) to be sent to your client to fill space while you’re busy working behind the scenes. Or, schedule a monthly phone or video chat check-in with your client so that you have dedicated time set aside to connect.

6. Personally offboard each client.

When the working relationship is over, the last memory your client will have of you will be the offboarding process, so make it count. Start with a standard offboarding checklist (to make sure you’re dotting all your i’s) and a solid email template, but be sure to personalize it so that your client knows how much you’ve valued the relationship. If you plan to keep in touch, mention it! If you’d appreciate a referral or introduction to a business friend who might need your help, ask for it! And be sure to summarize the deliverables you provided or results you achieved together. This is potentially your last interaction with this client, so take the extra time to make sure it’s personal and indicative of the working relationship you had.

And there you have it! Six simple steps that balance automated messages and personal touches in your client communications, making your work more efficient, but still sounding human in the process. If you need more help mapping out your client workflow—from new inquiries through offboarding—sign up for my free Workflow Mapping Worksheet.

Want to learn more about work efficiency, systems, & workflow? Get our Ultimate Guide to Work Efficiency, Business Systems, and Automation here.

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Annie McCarty

Annie McCarty is an Online Business Manager and Workflow Specialist helping creative entrepreneurs do more of what they love by building sustainable, balanced businesses. Annie’s clients are BUSY, they have inquiries flying into their email, they’re approaching their fully booked threshold, they’re successful! But as they grow, they’re becoming more buried in behind-the-scenes work, they’re missing out on time spent with family and friends, and they’re slowly losing sight of why they started a business in the first place. Annie works one-on-one with clients to help them conquer #allthethings through streamlined business systems. When she’s not working, you’ll find her binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy with her pup Greta, bopping at bluegrass festivals, or frequenting breweries with her hubby Scott.

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