By Ann K. Monteith, CPP, M.Photog.Cr., ABI, API Laying the…
Intro by Skip Cohen
This is one of my favorite posts from the Walden Coaching archives, and the concept is timeless. We’re a word-of-mouth business. You don’t just want your clients to have a great experience, but to recommend you to their friends and insist they work with you as well.
Every client’s experience is rooted firmly in relationship building. As Beverly points out, it’s not just about their first impression, but all the ones that follow. It’s also about maintaining top of mind awareness, so when they’re thinking about photography, your name is always on their mind.
In the 190+ year history of photography you not only have more creative tools than ever before, but you’ve also got more ways to keep in touch and communicate. From your blog posts to Facebook and doing something simple as tracking birthdays and anniversaries to all the other social media platforms where you can connect with your clients – each one gives you an opportunity to stay in touch. And, don’t forget my old-fashion favorite – a phone call.
Building a great customer experience is about EVERY aspect of relationship building. With each client contact, you want to exceed expectations and make yourself habit-forming.
By Beverly Walden
Customer Experience is the connection that companies make with their clients…
Customer experience is the relationship-building part of a business; it is personal and requires a higher level of commitment from you and your staff. It is emotionally connected, transcends the ordinary, is memorable and it is unique.
How does the experience you provide make your clients feel?
Your facility, paint colors, décor, scent and lighting all make a difference in how your clients feel when they step through your doors and they make the decision if you are the right studio as fast as one blink of the eye. In addition, and as quickly, they decide how much money they are willing to spend with you. What impression are you making?
First impressions are so important, but what about the second, third and fourth impressions? We say it like this, “With the first impression, you give your client a yardstick to measure every encounter
Once the initial magic is gone, what can you do to maintain the magic?
We touch all senses…
We have a water feature in our facility for the sole purpose of the experience of hearing the water splash; it is very relaxing. It is part of our goal to touch all 5 senses. Touch (fabrics that are touchable like our soft, comfy couch), Smell (scent is put out twice per day), Sight (portrait lighting in our galleries, beautiful paint colors and décor), Taste (we have a self-service, elaborate table set up with coffee/tea/hot chocolate maker), Hearing (we have soft, melodic music playing throughout the studio).
We work very hard to build relationships with our clients that show we care about them. We pay attention and doing little extras like carrying their orders to the car (especially wall images) or helping them in with their bags. We meet them outside with an umbrella if it’s raining, offer snacks during afternoon sales, and set up a delivery area with proper lighting so when the client picks up their order, their portraits look magnificent. We write thank you notes after the sale and after the pickup. We often add a Gift Card for a Session Fee for another type of portrait to the one sent after the pickup. For example, if they just had a senior portrait done, we will add a gift card for a family session.
It all adds up to the customer experience we strive for.
Remembering client’s names and their children’s names are very important to your clients’ experiences, helping create relationships. After all, the sweetest thing people can hear is their name (or the names of their kids).
Can you list some things you do in your business that relate to Customer Experience? What can you do to improve your clients’ experiences?