by John R. Hartman, M.Photog.Cr, CPP, A-ASP "Just because you…
Intro by Skip Cohen
So many of you have worked hard to build a strong skill set and capture/create stunning images. While the quality of your work is without question a key to success, relationship building and designing an experience for each client is what keeps them coming back! Even better it’s what puts more strength into the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
Your greatest tool to build stronger brand awareness is about your relationship with each client and your ability to make professional photography an experience, not just a series of photographs. It’s about trust, fun and making yourself habit-forming. It’s about exceeding expectations and making sure your clients know how much you care.
Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Bryan Caporicci is back with a two-part post and some outstanding ideas to help you think through the kind of experience you’re creating and then actually implement an ongoing plan. Bryan has built his business on relationships with each client. In fact, his style and helpful attitude isn’t just about client relationships but extends to his associates, friends and the vendors he works with.
Want to build a stronger brand and reputation in your community? Start thinking about the opportunity you have with each client. Create an experience that has them talking about what it’s like to work with you!
by Bryan Caporicci
Customer service ensures expectations are met. Customer experience ensures a customer for life.
There has been much written on the idea of customer service for small businesses, but I feel that the idea of customer service is really not enough. This is where many businesses get it wrong – they focus on customer service (tactics) but forget about the rest of the bigger picture, or more specifically, the customer experience. You may be the best at tactically solving customer problems but if the customer experience leaves something to be desired, then you have ultimately failed.
Think of it this way – customer service ensures that your customer’s expectations are met whereas customer experience ensures that you’ll have a customer for life. What would you prefer?
Let’s back up for a moment. In case you aren’t fully convinced that the customer experience is important, here are 6 reasons why you need to offer a killer customer experience, and why it’s crucial to the success of your photography business:
- To gain customer loyalty.
- To be remarkable; something worth remarking on. This could also be called being refer-able.
- To be able to charge the prices that you want and should.
- To deliver on your promises every time.
- To have consistency in your business and with your clients.
- To live a happy life with happy clients.
Simply put, delivering a killer customer experience means that you have happier clients, make more money, get more repeat business and get more referrals. Sounds like a good place to spend some time to me!
The topic of customer experience can be a daunting one and it can be overwhelming to break down, but as you know, at Sprouting Photographer we love the “nuts and bolts”, so let’s dive in with two feet!
Designing your customer experience
It is crucial to design your customer experience instead of letting it happen by accident. If you aren’t intentional with your customer experience, then your service, timelines and deliverables may slip and you’re ultimately letting your credibility and reputation find its own path. You need to step in the way and purposefully inject a designed customer experience, which will ensure that you not only can get the most out of every client but so that you can deliver your best to every client.
Clients allow you to do what you love. Repay them by giving them a killer customer experience.
Let me pause for a moment to reiterate that last point. The idea of designing a killer customer experience is founded in the purest of intentions. It isn’t a “squeeze the most money from every client” kind of idea, and if you treat it that way, you will be starting in the wrong direction. You must approach the customer experience with a genuine desire to deliver the best you can to each and every client. Remember that your clients are the ones who pay you, support your career as a photographer and allow you to do what you love. If you can offer them the best experience in return, then everyone wins.
You know that I believe in actionable steps, concrete ideas and no-fluff concepts, and so I want to clarify the idea of “designing” your customer experience. Very specifically, I am suggesting that you need to write out each and every step that you want each client to go through and then develop a system to implement that flow and ensure it is repeatable, sustainable and measurable.
Think about the key elements of each customer experience and we’ll share some ideas for the actual steps in Part II.