Building the Ideal Customer Experience by Creating a Process Map & Using Automation

A few months ago everything fell apart for us at Abigail Gingerale Photography. We didn’t book a single job for almost 3 weeks. Prior to this, we were booking several gigs a week, then all of a sudden, nothing. We had been making changes to our workflow, trying to make our customer experience the best it could be. We freaked out. What happened? What changed? We needed to find out, and quick.  So, we created a process map for our entire booking process.

What is a Process Map?

A process map breaks down everything in your workflow and defines who or what is responsible for each part of the process, and what happens at each step. The main purpose of a process map is to make our process more effective. 

Process mapping has 4 levels. Level 1 is really broad and is a basic overview of the entire process, from start to finish. A level 4 is one part of the process in extreme detail. 

So what happens when a customer first touches our site? What happens when they inquire? What are they seeing on their end? Is it what we want them to see? Do you know? We didn’t and that was a huge problem. We needed to break it all down.

How our process map started out:

I took out my huge white board and started at the beginning. Here’s a photo of what my board looked like when I finished. This is my pre-booking process for wedding photography.  In the midst of writing all this down, I found the hole, the drop-off point where these prospective clients were! AHH, I couldn’t believe it was something so little. It explained why these prospects weren’t getting back to us. 

Initial White Board Process Map for Abigail Gingerale Photography

So I started over. I wanted to create a new pre-booking workflow, my ideal process. I wanted deliver my prospective clients content before they booked us, so they knew we were the experts in our industry.

Here’s where the excitement began for me. I designed my ideal client experience workflow to see how all these things fit together now. It was so excited to put everything in to place.

How Honeybook Automations fits into our Process Map: 

Our Business Management software of choice is HoneyBook.  Not only has HoneyBook simplified our online invoices, but it also has this awesome feature called “Workflows”. It’s basically a way to automate emails and documents within Honeybook. You can manually start a workflow OR (the really cool part) use client workflow automation software to set the workflow to start automatically based off of a certain trigger, such as a contact form submission or a specific amount of time before or after the project date.

Here is the inquiry stage of my level 3 Pre-Booking Process Map. 

Inquiry Stage Process Map

So let’s walk through this real quick. The inquiry comes in and the info goes out into HoneyBook automatically. Then, I send them email template “1-1” and my brochure for wedding photography.

If they respond, I’ll talk to them and set up an in-person consultation with them in my studio. But what happens if they don’t respond? 

Each stage in my process map corresponds with my Honeybook Pipeline. 

Each phase of the process map corresponds with a bucket in the HoneyBook pipeline.

Here’s where the fun begins. The follow-up stage:

The Follow ups phase of the process map 

As soon as I send that initial email (email 1-1 and my brochure), I activate my Inquiry Follow-up Workflow within Honeybook. Each one of those email templates link to full wedding galleries, and blog posts (such as “Developing Your Wedding Day Timeline for Amazing Wedding Photos”) educating my clients why they should book with us. 

Here’s what the first part of that Inquiry Follow-Up Workflow in Honeybook looks like: 

Inquiry workflow in HoneyBook

One day after sending my initial email 1-1, they will get a follow up. Two days after that, they’ll get another follow up. Another three days, they’ll get another follow up. See how awesome that is?! This saved me SO MUCH time when it came to following up with clients. This is the cornerstone to my process because it’s all automated. This workflow is stopped as soon as the client responds. 

Once a client responds and wants to proceed, we enter the consultation stage. I have a workflow to send my Thank You Email Template and my two follow ups. This workflow is manually triggered immediately after the consult. 

Then the consult workflow of the Process Map is triggered.

And the last stage, the Pre-Booking Stage: 

Final Stages of the Process Map

Just to sum everything up for you, in this Pre-Booking Process Map, I have 15 email templates, 1 brochure, 2 agreement templates in place.

Once we activated this process, we saw our conversion rates jump up to almost triple what they were before. My email response rates more than tripled! The whole point is to make sure our clients feel like we have thought about everything and we have it all covered.

Here is my full level 3 process map, start to finish for my Pre-Booking Process for Wedding Photography:

Complete Abigail Gingerale Process Map

Want to build your own process map? I used LucidCharts to create this.

Andy Lydick

Andy is a photographer, blogger and educator passionate about marketing and creatives reaching their business goals. Co-Owner and Studio Manager of Abigail Gingerale Photography.