Putting together a client service agreement is an important part of any business. Below I’ve put together 6 essential topics that you should include in your agreements so that there is no doubt about expectation.
We’ve all been there, we know what it’s like to feel the frustration of being let down, by inconsideration and lack of accountability. These 6 inclusions are not earth shattering. Perhaps that is why they are often assumed rather than formalised.
1. No Show
Ask any appointment taking business, having a no-show isn’t just an inconvenience it’s a cost to your business.
It’s important to spell out to your clients what happens if they don’t reschedule or simply forget to tell you they can’t make it. Now I know some of you will think on the positive and go, wonderful, an hour to myself and I’ll work on something else. But in reality, all you will do is order a cafe latte and flick through your social media. Tell me I’m wrong!
You need to ensure that your clients are accountable to not only themselves but to their commitment to you.
Something as simple as costs can be missed or underrepresented in your service agreement! While your costs may be listed elsewhere or discussed in person, it’s critically important that they make their way into your service agreement with a client and fully explained.
Cost, it’s an important part of your business. Get this wrong, and your client won’t suffer, you will. Explain your costs, keeping a consistent tone. It’s not about selling, if you are giving a client a service agreement, costs must have been discussed previously, right?
Ask yourself the questions, your client would ask about the costs, this will help you determine what to include.
- How much are your fees?
- How do I know what to accept?
- What is included in the package?
- What happens if I don’t pay or pay late?
Payments, this is a really important piece to get right. This will help your client budget for your services. Considering that we’ve got so many ways to pay now, you need to consider what types of payment methods you will accept. Think about the costs associated with taking payment via credit card, PayPal, Stripe, or direct deposit to name a few. Any fees you may incur should also be built into the costs of your service. The following points should, where relevant be included in your contract
- Due by
- Frequency required
- Late payment fees
- Automatic repayments
- Payment terms
- Revision of fees
4. What’s Included
This is not an area of your contract to be fluffy. You need to be on point with what is included and what isn’t. Not being thorough in this area, can leave things open to interpretation, and you may find yourself doing far more work and not being paid for the services.
Your client needs to know what they are going to get for their dollar, so spell it out for them. You can see from the following examples why it’s important to get it right. You’ll get the picture.
- This – Mentoring sessions once a month (great, I can manage 30 minutes)
- Or this – 1 x 90-minute session each month for 6 months
- This – Meeting times vary (Okay, I’m up for breakfast meetings, 7.30am)
- Or this – Available mentor days are Wednesday’s and Thursday’s between 9 am and 4 pm
- This – Email support (Fantastic, I can just drop you a line whenever I have a question)
- Or this – 2 emails per week for 6 months commencing after 1st mentoring session
- This – Support Documents (Great, freebies, I love freebies)
- Or this – Each session you will receive a workbook that needs to be completed and submitted before your next session.
5. How You Will Communicate
While you’re providing a coaching / mentoring / online business manager service to your clients. It’s important to provide guidelines around communication and how you communicate. What you don’t want is your clients to have the expectation that you’re available 24/7. It’s not practical, it’s not healthy and it’s not viable for a long term working solution.
Clearly, defined office hours are important and how they can contact you. There are many forms that you can use, but not everyone prefers the same method. It’s unreasonable to expect someone to be constantly monitoring their devices. Let your client know what you prefer.
- Other messaging apps
6. Regular Feedback
Feedback is an essential part of your business and improving on it. If you don’t have a method of gathering feedback during and after your dealing with a client you could be missing out on some great ways to improve your business.
It’s true, good or bad feedback is the feedback you need to drive your business forward. Let your client know that you will be checking in regularly asking them what it is you can do to improve helping them.
It’s also important for your client to know that they need to do something for you and that ultimately, taking the time to provide feedback benefits them also.
Your Next Step
Share your experience, have you had a service agreement that didn’t work? Tell us what you did to turn it around. Leave your comment in the comment section below.
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