Good coaching is synonymous with a good customer experience. And when we use the word “good,” we don’t mean everything goes perfectly. We mean an experience full of rich learning moments on behalf of the coach and client, honest conversations, and realistic yet satisfying progress towards the client’s goal.
Providing this personalized experience to our clients doesn’t always come naturally, even if we’re natural-born coaches. Our offerings could always improve, especially as research and technology on customer experiences advance.
And, since we enjoy the “expert” role as coaches, it only makes sense that we take our interactions to the next level by staying up on innovative ideas to improve customer experience. Are you ready to learn how?
What is customer experience?
Customer experience (CX) refers to the interaction between a service provider (that’s you, coach) and a client, including in-person or digital customer experiences. Any time you or your company communicates, shares information, or otherwise interacts with clients, these individuals form a relationship with your “brand.” Ensuring this relationship creates positive feelings is at the core of providing a great customer experience.
Think of some classic excellent customer service experience examples.
At your favorite store or restaurant, a positive customer experience may look like a waiter who remembers your favorite dish or a salesperson who knows what size shirt you wear. Maybe your experience could be enhanced by a special discount or a small gift at checkout.
But in a business like coaching that revolves around intangible exchanges and offerings, how can we go that extra mile for our clients?
The answer: making your clients feel comfortable, respected, and heard. It’s all about being prepared and coming to the table with an empathetic heart and open mind. And while that sounds easy, this has its challenges when put into practice.
7 ways to improve the customer experience strategy of your coaching business
Don’t worry — we’ll show you how you can come closer to creating exceptional interactions.
1. Know your clients well
Our work as coaches relies on — and thrives on — acknowledging and celebrating our clients’ differences. No one-size-fits-all coaching experience exists, so we must learn clients’ pain points, challenges, and roadblocks alongside what makes them proud, happy, and productive. Only then can we adequately address their needs with a tailored coaching journey that will bring them closer to their goals.
2. Ask for client feedback constantly
We can only improve upon our baseline by gathering feedback and putting it to work. Even critical feedback helps — and maybe even more than positive variety. Ask your clients to candidly tell you what they like about your services and what they would change. It’s important to glean metrics during and after working with any particular coachee to adapt in real time to shift your ways of working.
Every client is different, so you might have to get creative. But if you’re repeatedly told a method isn’t effective, it might be time to ditch it. Data from a client relationship management (CRM) software might help you know if you’re on the right track. CRM tools can lower your response time, optimize workflows, and help act as your marketing team.
3. Stay engaged during meetings
If it bugs you when someone takes out their phone in the middle of dinner, then imagine how a client would feel if you checked an email or text during a session (for which they’re paying). Stay present, and show your client you’re with them at the moment by mirroring their facial expressions, making eye contact, and using attentive body language, like sitting up straight.
4. End sessions on a high note
Sometimes, we tackle difficult initiatives in a session. Perhaps we have to give hard feedback that the client didn’t want to hear. This doesn’t mean that we can’t shift the tone to end the interaction on a positive note. No matter how “real” a session gets, try to recognize the effort a client is making, highlight their accomplishments, and remind them of the strides they’ve taken toward their goals.
5. Listen more, talk less
Yes, there’s a time to give instruction and advice in a session, but it doesn’t have to be constant. In fact, if we talk too much as coaches, we run the risk of missing out on important findings and information our clients have to give us about their progress. We can accidentally start putting clients into that fictional one-size-fits-all box. Listen with curiosity and ask follow-up questions. Dig deep to try to get your clients to find solutions on their own. Never take for granted what you might learn from a client, either.
6. Be prepared
When we come to a session prepared as coaches, we inspire confidence on both ends of the relationship. We’re sure of the material we want to cover and know we have a solid handle on it, and client feels like they’re in good hands. It helps when they can sense the time and effort that went into planning the session, as they know they’re working with a true professional. Plan your session, prepare any materials you may need, keep your notes updated, track progress, and look over any homework you assigned.
7. Focus on solutions
Clients come to us with problems, and the trick to solving them is focusing on solutions. Yes, we first need to understand the client (as point 1 highlighted) and unpack the issue they wish to address. But remember: the coachee isn’t just there to gain insight on whatever they’re struggling with. They want to reach a goal and want a solutions-oriented approach. In conversations, you can guide clients toward these solutions, and outside of sessions, you can get creative about how to motivate coachees with tailored activities and thought exercises.
Go above and beyond
You’re not the only coach offering high-quality services, which is why you’re here, reading about how to create a better customer experience. Great work.
What ultimately separates a coach with great customer retention rates from one whose clients don’t come back for more services is a CX strategy that surpasses the competition. Having great CX is a win-win. Your business benefits, and so do your clients — and we know you’re in it for them in the first place. The best and most natural outcome of an amazing client experience is lots of word-of-mouth marketing. And that’s one of the best ways to grow any business.
If you need help creating a beautiful client experience that often delights, sign up for Practice. We’ll handle things behind-the-scenes, so you shine center stage and look good with our simple, elegant client-facing designs.