When you walk into any store, even the supermarket, if the cashier gives you lip, looks at you in a disapproving way or is rude you generally feel a little annoyed with them at the least right? I don't know about you, but if I walk down an aisle and theres boxes all over the show and a trolley and a worker and they don't even acknowledge my existence, move it so people can get past and say something like, "I'll just be a moment" or "One second, let me get that out of the way for you" I'm kind of a little bit peeved. Like I know they aren't necessarily trained in customer service but it's a little bit of kindness goes a long way. When you go into a store where you know they've trained on how to speak to people and they are rude or unhelpful or short with you, oh how that really grinds my gear. I totally get wanting to shop un interrupted too sometimes but bad customer service? Nope, cannot stand it. In our line of work, we are often booked purely on our personalities, they way we conduct ourselves on social media, sometimes even our really cool email replies. We get referrals because we give great service, go the extra mile or have spare bobby pins in our camera bags. But it isn't just the on the shoot day service that people either love us for or hate us for but that whole process. The whole start to finish experience with us.
Are we easy to book?
Is our website easy to navigate?
Do they understand the words we use? The language or even the package names?
Do they feel safe, reassured, confident in giving us their hard earned money in exchange for our service?
Do we build trust with them?
Do we show that we are a professional, that we know what we are talking about in our actions not just our words?
Do we follow through on what we promise them? Is our booking system as professional as it could be? Easy to use? Simple and all in one place?
Do we build on the relationship with them? Nurture the relationship and show them we value them?
Do we solve their problems? Even the ones they didn't know they had yet? Do we offer them a solution that actually fits their needs?
Do we uncover what their problems are? Especially the ones they didn't know they had.
This list of questions goes on and on. At different stages of our journey I'm sure each of us has thought we are doing everything right, like sure we can get better at editing and shooting but our workflows are pretty ok for now. And they probably are, ok. But could you be doing better? What could you do better? How can you do it better? You don't have to tell us, the group or anyone at all if you don't want to, just look at your business. Look at all thing in your business, not just shooting and editing. What can you do better? And the reason I say not just shooting and editing is because people pay money for amazing photos and for technically not that correctly lit or posed photos all the time. As much as we like to think that our quality of work dictates our ability to book and get paid it isn't the be all end all. The greatest, most talented shooting and editing in the world will not save you if you offend the client or give them subpar customer service or experience. They might have booked you but they will often not come back to you. And they might even be telling their friends how much they thought your invoicing system or your emails were pretty crappy considering how much they paid you, or that what you delivered wasn't actually what they thought you were going to, or that the gallery was super hard and confusing to navigate because everything was just lumped in there together. Shooting and editing is just a part of the client experience and really, a pretty small cog in a very big wheel. As business owners, we want to look at that whole wheel. Bit by bit, bolt by bolt.
So could you be doing better?
What could you do better?
How can you do it better?
Write it down. Brainstorm it out. You don't have to implement any changes if you don't want and if you are going to, remember to be kind, no one but yourself expects you to change everything in a day. But write it down. Brainstorm it out. Even put it into categories and break it into two columns: Current reality, dream reality.
Image Delivery & Presentation
Booking System (invoicing, questionnaires, contract delivery)
Nurturing the relationship
Asking for referrals and reviews
Shooting in general
Uncovering the clients needs
Asking for the sale, calling the client to action
Environmental awareness or sustainability
Anything you can think of. If you do this exercise, feel free to share it with us in the group! You'll probably find if you are brave and share, others will too and you'll learn things from one another!