Episode #318: Why Workflows in Business Are Important
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You’re listening to episode number 318 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today I’m talking about why workflows and business matter. On to the episode.
Hey, welcome to Episode 318. I’m your host, Taylor Bradford. Thank you so much for pressing play. I so appreciate you being here today. It is all about why workflows in your business matter, what that customer journey process looks like, and why that matters, etc., etc.
Before I dive into the episode, remember the doors to the Inner Circle membership reopen on August 1st. If you want to be alerted to the moment that they open so you can get yourself in, you need to join the waitlist by going to bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle. I will email you first to let you know that the doors are open, and you can get yourself in for as little as $27 a month. And that gives you access to the community, a monthly live Q&A, a business book club where we dive into a business book and spend several months going through the business book that we are reading. We happen to be reading Girl on Fire right now, and we’re working our way through it so that we can implement as we read, as we learn. You also get weekly office hours with me through my Voxer channel, which is one-on-one, and we have two co-working sessions each month. This is something you don’t want to miss out on, especially if you need accountability, especially if you need like-minded individuals that you can communicate with and learn from etc., etc. It’s a really great community to be a part of. Again, get yourself on the waitlist bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle. Doors reopen August 1st, which is right around the corner.
All right. So recently, I helped host a panel for wedding professionals on the tools that I use in my business. And there were several of us who were talking about tools in general and what each of us uses. And we kind of went around the room, introduced ourselves, and talked about the tools we have used and the tools we currently use. And y’all, I’ve been doing this a while; since 2008, I’ve kind of tested a lot of tools, especially as my business has evolved and changed. So when I evolved into a product-based business and the service-based business, and you know, all the different things that I’ve done, I’ve tested and tried out a lot of different tools, as I’ve ebbed and flowed. And I think it’s important to know, and this is what I stated when I started talking about the tools that I have used and tried and etc., that the best tools in the world won’t do you a hill of beans if you don’t have your workflows, your sales processes, your customer journey, actually figured out, actually written out. So I can tell you what I use and what I have tried and what works for me in this moment, but that’s not going to be effective if you haven’t figured out what those processes are. And this is why workflows in business matter. Because if you don’t have those things defined, you’re not going to be effective at selling the thing that you have created to sell, whether that’s a service or whether or that product.
So you have to start with that customer journey and get that figured out first. And recently, I had a friend in town – hello, Alicia, thanks for visiting – and we got to talking about this. And I don’t even know how we even got on this topic, but we got to tell you about this. And Alicia is a photographer, and I was kind of talking to her about like, how – how does her client journey start? And how – how does she create a customer process, and what does that look like for her? And we were just kind of chatting, and I was kind of just off the cuff by thinking out loud and kind of brainstorming about what I thought her process could look like because at the end of the day if she has a goal of selling more digital prints or selling physical prints of her photography work, how can she do that? She can’t just rely on platforms like Etsy. Etsy is a powerful platform. They have a powerful search engine. However, she can’t put all of her eggs there. She has to be in control of what she wants her customer process to look like. So that starts out on her social media and getting people onto her email list because she can directly sell through her email list. Yes, she can sell through the social media platforms, but at the end of the day, if you are trying to grow a customer base, you have to have a place for those customers to go. You can also use a CRM – a client relationship management tool, CRM – so I use Dubsado, hands down love Dubsado. You can use a CRM to help manage your customers and how you communicate to them and what they’re buying from you, etc., but you ultimately need to know how to get customers into your email list. Like, you have to figure out what that process looks like.
So if you’re trying to cut through the noise of everybody else, and you’re trying to grow a customer base, regardless of product or service, because it works the same way for both, you’ve got to get people funneled into an email list in order to continue to sell. Because once people are on your email list, they’ve already signaled to you that they are interested in what it is you have to sell, and then you can sell to them.
So it starts with the ultimate client journey. What does that look like for you? So for Sugar Creek, it is important for me to have a very specific client journey. So I do my marketing – like I do it out on social media – but ultimately, when you start to enquire with me, I have two ways that you can do that: through my contact form or through my wishlist feature on my website. I only want to be communicated to through those two things. So I don’t particularly like to be on the phone unless I have an inquiry that pops through. And if I need some clarification, then I might get on the phone. But something that I recently started doing because, for some reason, so my email my.com emails are connected through G Suite. And I did that because I was having difficulty with my.com emails landing in spam folders, specifically with Gmail, and sometimes with Yahoo. And it was driving me nuts because I was not hearing back from clients that were already inquiring with me. And somebody that’s inquiring with you means that they’re a hot lead, they have already decided they potentially want to work with you, they are inquiring about more information. So I was getting super frustrated. So I started paying $10 a month for G Suite for two specific emails that are my .com emails. And recently, Google made another algorithm change. And I’m finding that I’m having that same problem again. I know it will eventually work itself out because it is Google. However, it was starting to frustrate me. Again, here I am paying Google ten dollars a month so that I land in people’s inboxes and not their spam folders. So I decided to add another level to make sure my client realized that I’ve already emailed back because, for the most part, I spent a lot of time on my computer. And so I am legitimately sitting there when an inquiry pops in. And so I do respond fairly quickly within a 24 hour period, if not within just a few hours of receiving an email. And what I was finding is I was emailing and then not hearing back, and I’m like, gah, it’s so frustrating because I don’t understand. I just emailed back; they just emailed me; I just emailed back and then ghost.
So I started sending an automated text message. And I know that there are probably platforms that you can pay for a service like that. It is actually me doing the automated texts. And I preface the text as if it were automated. So I legitimately say this is an automated text, just so that they don’t start communicating through text message with me because I don’t want to have a conversation about an inquiry through text messaging. It needs to all stay through email. And because the next process, the email I’m actually replying with is, let’s have a phone console, or let’s have a warehouse console. And that’s the next step. That is the next step I want to put my client through if they want to continue working with Sugar Creek. So I already have a predefined process of how I want my client to experience Sugar Creek. So step one, come through my inquiry form because you saw my amazing marketing out on social media. And step two is for me to email back your choice of phone or website contact. I actually gave you that option in my contact form whether or not you come through my wish list or whether or not you’re in my inquiry form just through my contact page. So that’s the next step, and then they book into my calendar. So I have a connected calendar. That has generic times available. And it’s connected to my Google Calendar. So the moment I book an appointment, it no longer shows that availability to the next person trying to book in. And I don’t allow my clients to book in less than a week out. So I want to be able to have a full week before ever actually communicate with that new client. Because I’m already focused on that next, upcoming week’s events or the current week’s events, and I don’t want to lose focus. So I want to make sure that when somebody books into my calendar, it’s at least seven days out so that it gives me time to either do some research behind the scenes on who the new client might be, etc. so that that’s my initial workflow, is to get them either onto the phone or enter the warehouse for a consult, it is very important because that’s the start of my sales process. This is the start of my workflow of my customer journey. You have to have all of these figured out.
Your workflows need to be customer-focused. At the end of the day, we are client-facing businesses, regardless of product or service. It allows you to define each layer of communication between you and the client. It’s replicatable, which is important. We got to get automated. This is how you get automated workflows are how you get automated. And it’s adaptable. When you start realizing something’s not working, for example, the G Suite having an algorithm change within Google parent, I had to start sending, quote, unquote, automated text to make sure they saw my email back because I can’t communicate and sell to somebody that’s not getting my emails. And then it’s measurable. You can actually quantifiably track your leads, and whether or not they become actual clients and what your close ratio is, etc. So these are so incredibly important. Having a workflow, having a client journey, having a sales process, all of that ultimately is the same thing. And it’s important. It’s how we grow our businesses. Your workflows are the foundation of how your business moves forward. Plus, it allows you to get more effective at selling more effective at communicating with your clients, which ultimately means selling. It provides you insight into your business. You can figure out when things are working and when things aren’t working, which allows you to streamline it helps you reduce redundancies in your processes. It minimizes your room for error because you are following a workflow. It’s basically you’re creating standard operating procedures for every aspect of that client journey. And all of it improves the client experience. That should be the ultimate goal.
Okay, so how do we even do this? It’s very simple. We start by identifying the start and the endpoint to the customer journey. So for me and Sugar Creek, I needed them to come into my inquiry form through my website in one of two ways. And then I needed to respond back with whether or not we’re having a phone consult or a warehouse consult. If I had a perfect world, they would all be warehouse consults because I love meeting my clients in person. The queues are way better. And to see myself in person is a better client experience anyway and allows me to upsell because they’re being able to see it all.
So once you’ve identified the start and endpoints to your client’s journey, then I need you to break down the processes from start to finish, start to finish of the client journey. So if the goal is to get them on your email list, how do you do that? What does that look like? If, then, the goal is to sell to them, what does that look like? How do you do that? Once they buy from you? What is next? How do you continue to sell to them, etc.? So I want you to break down every single process of what you want your client journey to look like the client experience to look like and write it all down. And then, I want you to analyze the gaps in your process, the missing pieces in your process, and the redundant parts of your process and fix them before you ever do any implementation. And then I want you to create automations. If you are writing the same email to a customer over and over and over, you need to automate that email, create a canned response. And then, once you have it all written out, then you find the tool that will best help you do this thing. That thing for me for Sugar Creek is Dubsado. And I am still a work in progress. I am still analyzing and identifying those gaps and those missing pieces in my own process. Because it’s a fine-tuned thing. You constantly are fine-tuning to make sure there are no gaps, there are no missing pieces, or if something pops up, like my emails not going into regular inboxes, then you have to figure out another step. So that you are so clearly communicating to your client. And they don’t think that you’ve ghosted them because I don’t ever want somebody to not get a response from me. And I want to make sure that they are aware that I have already emailed them. So the sending the quote-unquote, automated text alerting them to my email, and to make sure to check your spam folder in case that’s where I landed, I want them to know, hey, here’s a friendly reminder, Sugar Creek, I just emailed you, I want them to know that so that they know, I’ve already heard from them. I’ve already looked at their email and said, hey, I’ve got a new inquiry. And I want them to know I think they’re special. And I’ve already emailed back. I want them to know my communication back to them has already happened. And that’s the goal for using those automated texts – well, the fake automated texts – it’s really me.
This is why your workflows and your business matter. And I hope this has helped you in identifying what you need to now do next in your business. Because, yes, the pillars are important. My 8+1 Pillars are so incredibly important for you to figure out to create that business foundation for you in order to move forward. But you have to sell, and part of the sales process is creating those workflows creating those client experience journeys. And you figure it out what those look like. That is why this is a very, very important step to get your workflows figured out to understand what you want your client to experience from start to finish.
If you found this super helpful, and I hope you did, I hope you’ll share it with your business bestie if you have any questions about this or you simply want to say hey, slide into my DMs on Instagram @BossGirlCreative or @TaylorLBradford. Either one of them; I check them both. And ask your question or say hey. I’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget to sign up for the waitlist for the doors reopening of the Inner Circle membership. Get yourself on that list. bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle. And until next time, I hope you have a great rest of this week.