photo by mapodile via iStock
It’s 2021. It’s a global pandemic. There are more reasons than one why your customer service should be heavily relying on digital.
Unfortunately, a lot of photography business best practices rely on seeing your customers face-to-face. A huge part of our job is sales. We are constantly selling ourselves to our clients and we are constantly upselling our clients on various products. So, when photographers are asked to do something in a virtual space, it can be a little off-putting.
However, there are a few really basic customer service tips for photographers that will help you to keep your old clients happy while working to get new clients in a digital space.
If you haven’t really figured out how to run your business’ customer service, or whether you just think that you need to update your customer service platforms, this article is filled with great photography business tips for you.
You Should Use Video Communication Frequently
photo by SDI Productions via iStock
However, even as the pandemic subsides, you should continue to use video communication as a frequent part of your customer service.
While it’s always best to meet with potential clients in person, over coffee or drinks, this just doesn’t work for everyone’s schedule. This is especially true if your client is located far away from you. If you’re driving an hour to meet a potential client that doesn’t end up following through with the services they wanted from you, then you just lost an hour of time that you could have otherwise spent making money.
If you can’t meet with your clients in person, then a lot of people just automatically jump to a phone call. However, eye contact is really powerful in a new business relationship and if you can sub a phone call for a video call, potential clients will get a better opportunity to meet you.
It Should Be Omni-Channel
photo by Blue Planet Studio via iStock
“Omni-channel” is definitely a corporate term for the way that your customer service should look. “Omni-channel” essentially means that all of your different communication channels are all synced up with one another.
Let me give you an example of a good customer service experience to illustrate.
For instance, let’s say you need to make a claim on your renter’s insurance. So, you get on their website and start a live chat. You find out that the customer service representative on the live chat can’t help you for whatever reason. That customer service representative then transfers your claim to an email claim and tells you that another customer service representative will be following up shortly.
An “omni-channel” customer service presence basically just means that you are connecting with your clients on whatever channel they’re already on and if you can’t help them on that channel then you can transfer them to one of the many other channels your business is using.
Of course, this is definitely easier said than done, since you need to have the correct systems in place in order to utilize omni-channel customer service support. This is where Podium steps in.
Podium is an all-inclusive messaging platform that allows you to reach your clients wherever they’re at. Podium pulls every message your business receives, from email to Instagram to text, and puts it all on one platform. It tracks how long it takes you to respond to each client. It allows you to invoice your clients directly to their cell phones. It allows you to respond to a client via text message if they’re looking for help from your website.
Podium is essentially the best customer service for photographers tool available today and they’re currently doing a free trial for you to figure out whether Podium will work for your business.
You Should Use Live Chat
photo by rfranca via iStock
If you’re learning how to easily interact with customers and you haven’t implemented a live chat feature on your website, then you’re behind.
An increasing number of customers expect businesses that they work with to have a live chat feature on their website. This allows customers to reach you at any hour of the day and it also takes less effort from them than a phone call or email.
Live chat is also a great customer service tool since you can customize the live chat to meet your needs as a business owner.
For example, you can use a live chat tool like the one Podium offers which just collects your potential client’s number and question so you can reach out to them via text as soon as possible.
Then, when your photography business starts to scale up, you can eventually hire a customer service team to answer your live chat during certain hours of the day (or 24/7 depending upon how large your company gets).
It Should Include Social Media
photo by Vladimir Vladimirov via iStock
Social media is another tool you should be using as a part of your customer service plan, especially since you already have so many social media pages that you are on for hours everyday.
Plus, if social media isn’t a part of your customer service plan, then chances are that bad reviews are being left about your business. Since 83% of customers are likely to trust what their friends and family say about a business, this could spell disaster for you.
So, what do you need as a part of your social media customer service plan? First, you need to know exactly how to handle bad customer reviews. You’ll want to pick a reasonable amount of time to respond to each negative review and then stick to it. Make sure that you aren’t responding in the heat of the moment and saying something you’ll regret later.
Next, you’ll need to know how to handle the rest of your social media interactions. If your business is relatively young, then you may only be receiving a few DMs a week. But, in a few years, this could be hundreds. How are you going to manage this volume of messages?