photo by Kerkez via iStock
No matter how many articles I write about gaining and keeping clients, the only true way to continuously gain and retain clients is by providing an excellent customer experience. When I started worrying less about the financial side of my business and more about the customer experience, I really quickly learned that most photography business tips are worthless.
Think about the last time that you got a product or a service from a small, local business that you were truly happy with. What made you so happy with it? I would bet that it was the customer experience you had with that business.
Of course, learning how to make photography clients happy isn’t that easy because you have to understand your audience. Who is your target market? What would their ideal customer experience look like? What aspects of that customer experience can you provide reasonably and on a budget?
Learning how to get photography clients to come back time and time again will require some soul searching, but the customer service tips in this article might help you get started.
Make Everything Easy to Understand
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There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to understand a contract that you’re signing.
Clients expect that their customer experience will be easy for them. This means that you need to create a contract with all of that legalese, but then you need to take the time to jump on the phone to explain it all to your clients in easier to understand terms.
Perhaps you have a number of different packages available for your clients. Make it easier on them and only offer 3-4 packages that are all simple.
Make sure that your clients can easily find whatever information they are looking for on your website, too. I have left a website in order to find another company when I couldn’t easily find contact information within 15 seconds. Can your clients?
In more ways than one, the customer experience is about ease of use.
Give Them a Free Gift
Did you know that you can write off client gifts on your taxes every year?
Giving your client a free gift not only helps them to have an incredible customer experience, but it has helped me in the past to retain clients in the long term and it has helped me to get a lot more referrals.
The key is that you need to give them a gift they actually want, and one that is memorable. Your client may want a Starbucks gift card, but that won’t really make you stick out in their minds the next time they need a photographer, or have a friend who needs one, because it isn’t memorable.
So, I always suggest that you give them a physical photo from their shoot.
CanvasHQ is one way to do that. CanvasHQ provides high-quality canvases that will last for over a century, which means your clients will literally never forget about you. These canvases are easy to maintain because they are easy to clean, they’re easy to move and they’re easy to store. So, it will likely follow your clients around for decades.
Importantly, since you can only write off a certain amount for client gifts, CanvasHQ canvases are also really cheap. They start at just $20.
Connect via Social Media
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Depending upon who you ask, photographers will either swear by friending their clients on their social media accounts or they will say you should never, ever do it. I like to friend my past clients because I think it makes for a better customer experience.
When I friend my clients, it allows me to tag them when I put their pictures up online, which a lot of clients love. In return, they’ll often post my photos themselves and thank and tag my company. This not only means that they are enjoying their customer experience, but that I am getting some free publicity.
I also think that friending past clients is a great way to learn how to get repeat customers. If your business is smaller, you can scroll through the social media posts of your old clients to see if any major life events are coming up so you can offer your services. If your business is larger, then they will likely see your posts regularly which will allow them to reach out when they need you.
Offer Extra Services
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The customer experience is not just all about the day of your photoshoot. It is about the prep for that photoshoot as well.
If you’re in family or portrait photography, it can be a really nice gesture to offer extra services. For instance, you could send out a “what to wear” pamphlet. If you’re in wedding photography, you could send over a list of hair stylists and makeup artists that you like to work with.
It can also be helpful to have emergency kits on hand for your shoots. For example, whenever I’m shooting kiddos, I always make sure I have snacks on hand in case they didn’t get to eat before the photoshoot. If I’m working with a couple, I will have little things, like stain remover and floss.
photo by filadendron via iStock
I like to text my clients as frequently as I can. I shoot them a text about a week out from our photoshoot as a simple reminder. Then, I text them the day before their shoot to let them know how excited I am (and as another little reminder). After their photoshoot, I will follow up the next day, letting them know how much I enjoyed our shoot and giving them a more accurate timeline about when they can expect to have their photos back by.
This not only helps to ensure that my clients show up where they’re supposed to be on time, but it also just helps to keep them in the loop. I don’t ever want my clients to have any questions about their experience because I want to have answered them already.