Check out seven live client touchpoints I use to manage clients, keep website projects on track, and create a consistent, extraordinary client experience.
When outlining the web design and development process, almost all freelancers and agencies list the exact same steps for building a WordPress website: discovery, design, development, and deployment. It’s a great first start, but those four steps don’t encompass enough of the project if you want to ensure every client has an extraordinary experience.
- Client Welcome
- Client Onboarding
- Website Strategy
- Website Design
- Website Development
- Website Launch
- Website Training
- Outbound Client Care
This eight-step website creation process creates strategic milestone opportunities that naturally encourage you to take a break from email, get out of your project management system, and have real, live, personal conversations with clients.
To be clear, I’m talking about building meaningful client touchpoints into your website design projects so you can not only nurture client relationships but also ensure every client experience is aligned with your brand values and the reputation you want to be known for.
I’ll be honest, while these client touchpoints have always been a part of my website projects, I didn’t always make them a priority. Sometimes they slipped by under the radar, and sort of got ignored, especially if I was really busy and the client wasn’t really needy.
It wasn’t until I decided to take control of the client experience and plan exactly what I wanted each client to experience at each stage of the process that I leaned into purposeful touchpoints and making them a priority.
The systems and processes I use today for website projects turn my documented client touchpoints into quick phone calls and video chats where we talk through project details, make decisions, and gain approvals, and also enjoy casual banter about family, vacations, pets, movies, shows, food, exercise, and more. These conversations keep projects on track and keep clients engaged while strengthening our relationship.
Seven Client Touchpoints For Website Projects
Let’s review the seven live client touchpoints I include as part of my client management system to maximize client experience:
- Project Kick-Off
- Website Strategy
- Design Presentation + Revisions
- Development Next Steps
- Website Launch Preparation
- Website Training
- Client Follow Up
I avoid reliance on email, project management system messaging, or written communication through tools like Slack for these specific touchpoints. So each one is done with a phone call or a video chat — they’re live, authentic interactions with the client.
1. Project Kick-Off
As soon as a client signs and returns their contract and pays the non-refundable deposit, welcome them to your business and their project. In addition to sending a friendly welcome email, add a quick Project Kick-Off Call to the mix.
In my client management system, the Project Kick-Off Call is what triggers the new client onboarding process.
The last conversation had with a client may have been a sales call where you both felt a little pressure or a bit nervous. Now that the contract is signed, a Project Kick-Off Call is the perfect way to reconnect with the client in a more casual, relaxed way. It’s also the perfect opportunity to clearly communicate important details clients need to understand, establish expectations, set the tone for the rest of the project, and share what will happen next.
2. Website Strategy
When the client onboarding experience is complete and the client has received and completed the project questionnaire, the project reaches its second live client touchpoint: the Website Strategy Call.
In my client management system, the Website Strategy Call is what triggers the website design process.
The Website Strategy Call is used to clarify the client’s questionnaire answers, ask additional questions, and gather any outlying information you need about the client’s business, audience, desires, expectations, and vision. During this meeting, we also walk through each of the sample websites provided and discuss why the site was included.
The goal of a Website Strategy Call is to engage the client in the process as early as possible.
I use this touchpoint to:
- Get inside the client’s head to discover relevant details that may have not yet been shared.
- Talk through user flows and ideas I may have for their site design.
- Establish visual design constraints that speed up the web design process.
The Website Strategy Calls ensures that clients feel like they are an important part of the project. You want them to know they have a voice and feel listened to, heard, and valued.
3. Website Design Presentation
The design phase of a website project is where most of the client interaction happens. Successful website design requires clients to participate fully in the process and provide design feedback. The problem is that most designers focus so much on the revision process and minimizing web design revisions that they skip over the initial presentation of design concepts.
Providing clients initial web design drafts by email or uploading them into a project management system for clients to review on their own is a disservice to you and your clients. With this approach, you rely on the client to understand the strategy, nuances, and details of what they are reviewing. And that’s almost never going to happen, which is why revisions turn into a nightmare.
Instead, when the initial website design drafts are complete, I schedule a Website Design Presentation Call.
During the Design Presentation, I present the visual design mockups to the client, explain the design strategy and the design thinking behind the decisions made, and answer their questions. Giving clients a contextual understanding of your design decisions helps them make sense of your work and understand why the design was done the way it was. This leads to happier, more satisfied clients who make far fewer revisions and reach web design approval faster.
4. Website Development Next Steps
Receiving the official website design approval moves a website project into the development phase and paves the way for the next client touchpoint opportunity: the Next Steps Call.
In my client management system, the Next Steps Call is what triggers the start of the website development process.
Website development is the phase of website projects where there really isn’t much interaction with the client. This also tends to mean that development is a semi-mysterious thing that happens behind the scenes and clients don’t really know what’s happening. A Next Steps Call is the perfect opportunity to officially close out the design phase of a project and embark on development with a confident client that knows what to expect.
During a Next Steps Call, you connect with the client, celebrate design approval, and outline exactly what comes next. This includes walking them through what you’ll be doing “behind the scenes” and reviewing any upcoming deliverables that the client is responsible for like providing their final website content.
5. Website Launch Preparation
The next important client touchpoint: A Launch Preparation Call — appears when at the end of the development phase, as you near the official website launch. It’s a quick meeting that provides you the opportunity to celebrate the work completed to date, get the client excited about sharing their new site with the world, and walk them through what providing final website approval means and what actually goes into a website launch.
In my client management system, the Launch Preparation Call is when we schedule the launch and the post-launch website training session.
Most clients have no idea how many details are managed behind the scenes during a website launch or that it’s not as simple as “flipping a switch.” Taking time to explain the process on the Website Launch Preparation Call reinforces your expertise, reminds them of your value, and helps clients feel confident and comfortable providing final launch approval.
6. Website Training
After the website is launched, the next touchpoint is the hands-on, live website training session. This training session comes after prerequisite website video training and covers the specifics related to the client’s site.
I host website training sessions through Zoom. With this approach, the client logs in to their new website so they can actively follow along and take specific action as I share my screen and walk through the back-end of their site. This training session gives the client an opportunity to ask questions and give you the opportunity to follow up on any discussions about ongoing work, website support, and future projects.
7. Client Follow Up
The last touchpoint that is part of a website build project happens after the project is done, the site is launched, and the contract is fulfilled. While I automate my outbound client care with ongoing training, tips, tools, and resources designed to help clients use their new website and increase their return on investment, I also include manual follow-up: Quick Client Check-ins.
At the six-week, three-month, and six-month marks, I check in with clients to see how things are going with their new site, ask if they’ve encountered any challenges, and open the door to conversations about new work.
Live Interactions Elevate Client Relationships
When you’re a freelancer or a designer or developer working at an agency, you sit behind a computer every day and are used to relying on email, quick messages in a project management system, or communication through Slack.
Clients, on the other hand, need more hand-holding and care.
When you connect with clients live, whether on the phone or through a video chat, they get to hear your voice, see your facial expressions, or watch your body language. They get to connect with you on a deeper level and engage in casual banter that helps you both get to know each other better and feel more comfortable working together.
Planning for and prioritizing live client touchpoints in your client management system keeps you in control of your brand reputation, ensures projects stay on track, prevents clients from going MIA, and creates a consistent, extraordinary experience for every client you work with — and that means more longer-lasting client relationships, more quality referrals, better testimonials, and more revenue.