by John R. Hartman, M.Photog.Cr, CPP, A-ASP "Just because you…
Intro by Skip Cohen
Once again Nicole Begley knocks it out of the park!
No matter how hard you work on your skill set, if you don’t pay attention to Customer Service, it will all be a waste. Customer Service (and I always capitalize it) is what separates you from your competitors. You’ve got to be accessible, respond quickly to questions and build relationships with your clients.
Where a sense of Customer Service so often breaks down is when there’s a problem. Nobody wants to talk with an upset client, but there’s an easy way to start to neutralize their frustration. Instead of dreading their call or email, contact them as soon as possible via the phone with the following opening…
“I understand you’re not happy. Well, the buck stops here. How can I help?”
Not every problem is always easily solved, but everything starts with you being approachable and taking responsibility for finding a solution.
And, while excellent Customer Service is often measured by how you handle the challenges, it runs much deeper into exceeding client expectations, relationship building and always being available. That means returning emails and calls promptly and making every client feel they’re important, valued and special.
By Nicole Begley
Mistake #3 – Poor customer service.
We are busy, so are our clients. When we make it even slightly challenging to book a session with us, they will abandon ship. It is important to create systems for responding to inquiries and helping clients throughout the process.
Do you know what I hate more than raspberry on my chocolate lava cake? The phone.
Do you know what I do with EVERY inquiry? I call them. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I’m still thinking…”don’t pick up… don’t pick up….” but guess what? When I talk to a client on the phone my booking rate more than doubles. DOUBLES!
People want to do business with people they know and like. When you actually talk to someone on the phone you make a connection, even if it’s just a message introducing yourself.
The other easy change that will make a big difference in your booking rates is to get details in the hands of your client ASAP. We live in a culture of instant answers, and we want information now. I have my Inquiry PDF emailed directly to my client automatically when they fill out a session inquiry form on my website. That is followed up by a phone call when I have a chance later in the day.
One other way that we are leaving sessions on the table is by not following up with inquiries. Again, we are all over-scheduled…and things slip through the cracks.
- Create an automatic reply to inquiries.
- Start calling your inquiries, make a script if needed.
- Follow up to inquiries, use com.
- Send simple and straightforward pricing.
- Share the value in choosing you.