Today’s prompt on The Daily Post is the word elegant. So I got to thinking about what that word means to me.
Top of mind was Elegant Themes. (Probably because I’ve been maintaining GoDaddy’s WordPress Hot 100 for the past year, and Elegant Themes is a popular theme provider.)
Thinking about Elegant Themes got me thinking about elegance in the context of web development. And that got me thinking about the developer-client relationship (something we’ve been exploring on Agency Chat).
Cue subheading. 🙂
What’s an elegant experience like for clients?
I’m breaking it down into four touch points:
The first touch point is discovery.
That might be your social media updates, or your Upwork profile, or your website, or your business card. It’s that split-second impression you make before anything else is said.
The second touch point is investigative.
If the prospective client likes what they see — your style, your tone, your values — they may choose to go a step further. They’ll hit your site. They’ll see what you’re about.
And I think this is where a lot of people stop when they think about an elegant experience. “Ah, my site must be usable! It must look nice! I gotta have a great theme!”
Well, yes. That’s part of it. But that’s not all of it. Look at the content on your site. The text. The images. The video. Is it getting the job done?
Take a portfolio page, for example. Are you telling a story about each project you’ve worked on? Or is it just a name? Can visitors look at your work in detail? Or is it just a bunch of unclickable thumbnail images? Do you have testimonials from the clients you worked with? Or are you just talking about yourself?
Your site’s design might be beautiful. But that’s not all that prospective clients are looking for.
The third touch point is interactive.
Now the prospective client is ready to talk with you. So they hit your “Request a Quote” or “Contact Us” or “Get in Touch” or whatever-else-you-call-it page.
What’s on that page? Is it a generic contact form for them to fill out? Their name, their email address, their message?
Or are you using this page as an opportunity to start the discovery process?
I had a great conversation with an agency owner who created an automated flow in Gravity Forms. Using conditional logic and a lot of questions, she was getting prospective clients to flesh out their requirements in detail.
This approach provides value in a few different ways:
- It provides value to the prospective client because they’re now thinking more deeply about their project.
- It provides value to the agency/developer/designer because they’re not handling the initial Q&A (a potential time suck and eaten cost if the project goes nowhere).
- And, lastly, it provides value to both parties by setting expectations. It’s like a safety buffer for qualifying each other. No money is on the line, no commitments have been made.
The fourth touch point is ongoing quality of life.
How do you present your proposals? How do you involve clients and communicate with them throughout the project? How do you stay in touch with clients after the project is over? What do your emails look like? Are they personal or sales-y?
All of the little things — holiday gifts, thank you notes, casual emails, lunch meetings, you name it — contribute to the overall quality of life.
Collectively, these four touch points help create an elegant client experience.
From the first impression to the ongoing relationship, an elegant experience requires more than aesthetics. It’s consistent attention to detail at all levels, creating value for everyone involved the entire way.
Note: This post is a response to WordPress.com’s The Daily Post prompt. You can find more of these posts via my “The Daily Post” tag. It’s a great way to get into a daily writing habit! Try it out yourself.
Photo credit: Thomas Martinsen via Unsplash