When you own and operate your own business, the one thing that’s going to keep you in business is having satisfied customers. There are a few things you can do to make the customer experience so much better and I’m going to share them with you. (If you prefer video content, check out my Youtube video on this topic)
You know when you’re at restaurant and the waiter is attentive and fills your water before it’s even empty? You don’t even realize how great the service is because you haven’t been distracted by what you’re doing. However, think about a time you were at a restaurant and the waiter was late or didn’t fill up your glass and you were thirsty. You probably just kept thinking about how bad the service was.
The sad truth is when you are really good at anticipating the needs of your client nobody’s really going to recognize it and give you a pat on the back, but if you are horrible at anticipating the needs of your client they are going to have a horrible experience and they will share it with all of their friends and relatives and there goes your referrals.
I think I over communicate with a lot of my clients. I start by talking on the phone with them, I send them a questionnaire, and then we have regular phone calls leading up to their event so that I know what they want. What are they expecting? What types of photos do they love? What type of light do they love? Where is their hotel room? What does the light look like in that hotel room? Where is their venue? Can we do a walkthrough for the venue? When I communicate like this with my client, I am serving them so much better than the times where I just let the wedding happen.
Being a great communicator is key to running a successful business. Learning how to communicate and learning how to get your clients to communicate with you through the questions you ask will lead to a rich experience for all of you.
Just because you have communicated and anticipated doesn’t mean that problems will not arise. When a problem arises you want to take action fast to remedy it. When a client has a problem, make sure you’re not emotionally charged when you respond. You want to keep emotions out of it and make sure that you respond as quickly and as concisely as possible. Focus on the solution to the problem, not all of the emotions around why the problem exists. If you keep the focus on their frustration and you’re deflecting and saying it’s not your fault, they aren’t going to have a great experience with you. You need to do whatever you can to make the situation right and comfortable for them. It is their event. They paid you, therefore you owe them a great experience. This doesn’t mean you should let them walk all over you – set clear boundaries. However, you want to take action without emotions and work for a solution.
Another thing that probably goes without saying is you want to have the most incredible work ethic. Don’t let your client see you sitting around or drinking at the bar during their reception. Don’t stand around talking to your second shooter while they’re having their first dance. Don’t just look like you’re busy, be busy. Take photos, be engaging, and always be within the action. Having an incredible work ethic will pay off and they will notice.
You need to have a thick skin when you own your own business. You’re going to get criticism, feedback that can be hard to handle, and people who just hate everything that you do for them. You’re going to have difficult clients, but you’re also going to have amazing clients who really appreciate what you do. Focus on the good ones when somebody difficult comes along.
Finally, you want to ask your clients for feedback. Send out a short questionnaire about how the whole experience was for them from start to finish. This is when you’ll really see where the holes are in your business. Are you good at communicating at the beginning but horrible at getting their images to them after? You want to see what their experience was and where you can have room for improvement.
Your clients are why you’re in business, so it goes without saying that we want to treat them well. There are tiny little differences that you can make right now to treat them even better. The thing that’s going to set you apart from others is how you really relate with them, communicate and anticipate their needs, how you deal with them after the event, and what kind of feedback you get back from them.
Leave a comment telling us about your best customer service practice, so that we can all grow and be better than we were yesterday.