EP 247: Managing Exceptional Client Experiences In Less Time With Coach Ashley Gartland

The Nitty-Gritty:

  • How Ashley Gartland works with her business coaching clients to help them streamline their own work and reduce their sense of overwhelm
  • What goes in her welcome email to keep new clients from feeling overwhelmed as they’re getting started with coaching
  • How a customized Trello board helps her (and her clients) manage the engagement efficiently
  • Why she reduced her business model to just 2 packages and how that’s helping her create better client experiences

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All told, I spent about 12 years of my life in retail and customer service.

I was a pharmacy technician dealing with sick, scared, and overwhelmed pharmacy customers at the ripe old age of 16.

I was cashier at Kohl’s, often stepping in for the cashier supervisor and hawking credit card applications without understanding the damage those credit cards were going to do to the people applying.

I worked in a tiny jewelry shop in the upscale Hotel Hershey.

And I worked my way up for barista to manager at a Borders Books & Music in Reading, PA.


Customer service is in my blood.

I’ve probably dealt with every conceivable customer service experience you can think of—some fun, others quite uncomfortable, and still others that left me questioning my own ability to form rational thoughts.

And while customer service wasn’t always the most enjoyable part of my job, it was something I took pride in.

Then, I become a business owner.

I thought I was leaving customer service behind.

Now, of course, I know how silly that seems.

Despite being “founder & CEO,” customer service is woven into everything I do. Every decision I make directly impacts the experience we’re creating for the people who pay good money to do business with us.

What’s more, any misstep I make with customer service or experience feels like a judgement on me and my greatest work. It threatens to derail my schedule and ruins my day.

What I have learned as a business owner, though, is that customer service is as much—if not more—what happens far in advance of actually talking to a customer or putting a product in their hands. It’s the planning, the communication, the policies, the expectation-setting, and the procedures.

This month, we’ll be exploring how small businesses create exceptional customer and client experiences…

…through the way they plan, communicate, create procedures, and set expectations & policies.

You’ll hear from Viktor Nagornyy who has grown his website support & hosting company by prioritizing exceptional customer service—something unheard of in his industry. You’ll also hear from Jacynda Smith, who has developed a system for providing one-on-one help to everyone who buys the hair tool she invented.

You’ll hear why Linda Lopeke developed her rigorous client on-boarding process and how Allie LeFevere incorporates humor into her client experiences. And in our next episode, you’ll hear what’s working to create firm client boundaries while you prioritize exceptional experiences with Nicole Lewis-Keeber.

But first, I want to share my conversation with Ashley Gartland with you.

Ashley is a business coach who specializes in helping overwhelmed, frazzled entrepreneurs streamline their businesses and work less—while they continue to grow.

Ashley took me through her whole client process—from on-boarding, to communication, to workflows, to off-boarding. You’ll learn about how she manages the whole client experience through a customized Trello board both she & the client accesses. And you’ll learn how she’s streamlined her own packages to allow her to provide the best experiences.

This interview—and this whole month—is going to be full of aha moments you can immediately apply to your own business to find what works.

If you haven’t yet, now is the perfect time to subscribe to What Works in your favorite podcast player. And if you know someone who needs to up their customer experience game, share this episode with them. I know they’ll thank you!

Now, let’s find out What Works for Ashley Gartland!

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EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

EP 299: How To Design Your Own Sales System

This week, I’ve got 4 more stories to share with you from small business owners who have intentionally done things their own way when it comes to sales and selling. They’ve found what truly works for them–even if it bucks the prevailing wisdom or would make a bro marketing expert role his or her eyes.

These stories come from business coach Ashley Gartland, marketing expert Amy Lippmann, designer Mel Richards, and work reinvention coach Lydia Lee.

Listen for how they incorporated these same considerations into finding their own unique sales systems. They designed their systems with personal values, strong relationships, reduced anxiety, and agency in mind.

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

EP 298: Creating A Less Harmful Sales System with Wanderwell Founder Kate Strathmann

This show is called What Works for a reason.

Sometimes it’s a declaration: this is what worked for this small business. And often, it’s a question, “What works?”

Today’s episode is very much a question, many questions, really:

What works when it comes to selling when you want to avoid manipulative or exploitative practices?

What works when your values conflict with many of the best practices of selling online but you still want people to buy your stuff?

What works when it comes to sales in a business that is actively anti-racist and anti-capitalist?

And even more bluntly: Can you even sell things without causing harm or perpetuating harmful systems?

My friend Kate Strathmann is the founder of Wanderwell, a bookkeeping and consulting firm that grows thriving businesses while investigating new models for being in business.

Recently, Kate took a bit of a detour from how she’s used to building her business, which is 90% referral based and fueled by deep relationship- and community-building. She decided to offer a small group program called the Equitable Business Incubator as a way of exploring anti-capitalist business practices and how they apply to the small businesses we’re building.

To fill the program, Kate need to sell differently.

Which led her to asking the question: Can you even sell things as a anti-capitalist?

While that might not be your specific question, I have a feeling that you too have wondering how you can effectively sell your offers without causing harm, perpetuating harmful systems, or damaging relationships. And that’s why I knew Kate and I needed to explore this topic on the show.

This is a conversation about what a kinder, less harmful sales process could look like—and it probably contains more questions than answers. But I’m confident those questions can help you find the answers that are right for you and the sales system that you want to build to make your business stronger.

We start out by defining what we’re really talking about when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism. Then, Kate shares how the Equitable Business Incubator came to be and how she ended up selling it. And then we dig into what makes many of the sales formulas and best practices being taught today problematic—and how to think differently to create your own alternative practices.

Now, let’s take a look at what works for creating less harmful sales systems!

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

EP 297: Selling A New Program With Proof To Product Founder Katie Hunt

Today’s guest is Katie Hunt—who is a member of the former group and serves the latter group.

Katie is the founder of Proof To Product, which helps creative entrepreneurs run and grow thriving product-based businesses. She works with designers, illustrators, and artists to help them develop in-demand product lines and get them sold in stores all over the world.

Not long after the pandemic threw her business and the industry she serves for a major loop, Katie and her team launched Proof To Product Labs to provide a completely digital, ongoing support opportunity for business owners when they needed it most.

And that launch was a smash.

Katie and I get into all of the nuts and bolts of how she adjusted the offer to meet the moment and how she warmed up her audience before the campaign, as well as the exact mix of emails, podcast ads, and social media content she used to sell the offer when it went live. We also talk about how she sees the sales system evolving in the future and how the offer has been received now that people are using it!

What Works offers in-depth, well-researched content that strips away the hype of the 21st-century economy. Whether you love the podcast, the articles, or the Instagram content, we’d love your support