Photography may be different from other industries in a lot of ways, but there is one thing that almost every industry has in common: customer service. Creating a great experience for customers is especially important as a photographer because your clients will probably base their decision to book you again or recommend you to others on the experience they had with you.
Knowing how to take and edit great photos is a big part of professional photography, but it’s not the only important thing. Customer service plays at least as big a role in the word of mouth and general reputation your business has. Every client should have a different experience with you, according to their needs, but there are some broad rules that you can apply to customer service in general.
Communication is Key for Good Customer Service
First impressions are a big deal, so respond to inquiries as soon as possible. You’ll get the best results if you never leave potential clients waiting longer than 24 hours to hear from you. Automating your inquiry responses or copying-and-pasting a template response as soon as you get the inquiry can ensure that you never leave anyone hanging, but it’s not very personal. When you can, write something that is more tailored to the client and their request.
Make Booking Easy
Using a client management program like Honeybook will help to create a great experience for everyone involved! Many photographers, including myself, rely on Honeybook to easily handle proposals, contracts, invoices, and more. It makes life so much simpler for you and allows you to keep track of all your current projects without getting overwhelmed.
Seamless booking and payment are also part of a great experience for the client. The automation saves them from waiting around for you, and you’re bound to give them a better experience on the whole when you can keep up with the details of their project.
Offer Guides and Tips
Who doesn’t love free advice? Creating free guides for your clients on topics like how to dress kids for a family photoshoot or how to prepare for a wedding photoshoot is a good way to draw them in and set up some passive marketing. Make sure your logo, website, or other business info are somewhere on the guide; clients will share the guide if they find it useful, so this can help get your name out to more people.
You can also add relevant tips and tricks to automated text or email reminders to help your clients get ready for their session. They’ll appreciate both the advice and the fact that you’re looking out for them!
Online questionnaires are a quick and easy way to get useful information from your clients. Asking them to fill out a questionnaire before your shoot will let you get to know them and be ready to give them the best experience possible. Using a different sort of questionnaire after the shoot can provide you with the necessary feedback to improve your process and give them an even better experience the next time around.
Give Them Gifts
This isn’t strictly necessary, but if you have the extra time and budget to get a small gift to give your client on the day of the shoot, it will help them feel a personal connection with you. Even a $10 gift will show them that you were thinking of them and that you got to know them well in the short time you’ve been working together. This is customer service at its absolute finest and trust me when I say that gestures like this go a very long way!
A gift card to their favorite restaurant, a treat they mentioned liking or a cute couple’s gift (for engagement and wedding projects) will go a long way. You can even write off gift expenses up to $25/client/tax year as deductions.
You don’t want your clients to think you forgot about them as soon as the shoot ended! Follow up with them the next day to thank them. Let them know that you enjoyed your time with them and are excited to work on the photos. It will also give them some peace of mind if you provide an estimated turnaround time. This doesn’t have to be exact, but it should be a realistic guess or range so they know what to expect.
Stay in Touch
By the same token, you don’t want your clients to forget about you! Stay in their inboxes and news feeds to stay in their thoughts. Send newsletters and seasonal deals (both of which can and probably should be automated) to clients to encourage them to book with you again. Even if they don’t need your services for a long time, your name will come to mind whenever someone in their life does need a photographer.
You can also encourage clients to follow or like your business on social media. Depending on how well you clicked with them, you may even want to exchange personal social media information to keep up with each other and continue to get to know each other.
Start Exceeding Customer Service Expectations
Hopefully, you now feel a bit better prepared to create amazing customer experiences. Follow these tips as much as you can, and when in doubt, listen to your client and personalize things to their needs.
If you do it right, they will walk away from their work with you not only satisfied with their photos but also pleasantly surprised by how much they enjoyed spending time with you as a person. In time, good customer service will have a huge impact on the success of your business.
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