The client experience is EVERYTHING! Ok, granted you must be a decent photographer producing good quality images – let’s take that as a given. But if you consider how many photographers are out in the world today from “mom togs” to "shoot and burners" to “weekend only-ers” to seasoned pros, it can seem like a pretty crowded marketplace. It’s up to you to make yourself stand out and make people want to work with you, and the one key way to do this is to nail your client experience.
What's the difference between good customer service and a good client experience?
“Good customer service means you’ve met their expectations. A good client experience (if you nail it) can mean a client for life!”
Why is a good Client Experience so important?
1. Building Trust & Loyalty
A good client experience will not only build trust between you and your client but it will also build loyalty and with loyalty comes repeat business. We’ve all heard the old rule of how it costs 5x more to get a new client than it does to keep an existing client. However, we need to consider more than just cost of client acquisition. We also need to look at the lifetime value of a client and how much it takes to retain clients. It can be a balancing act of costs when it comes to acquisition and retention but by investing in your relationship with good clients, they can be worth their weight in gold.
2. Be Remembered, Be Referred
If you give your clients an experience they’ll never forget, not only will you have the opportunity of having a client for life, but chances are they’re going to be raving about you to their family and friends and this is THE most valuable marketing you can get.
Referral marketing is a stand-out winner when it comes to ROI (Return On Investment) compared with other marketing tactics. Not only does referral marketing cost little to nothing, it also delivers very valuable, warm leads. When someone is referred by a friend, there is automatically a built in level of trust and that is invaluable.
3. Charging for long term profitability and success
Client experience has a big impact on willingness to pay (WTP). If the client experience is positive, their willingness to pay increases. Conversely, if their experience is negative, their willingness to pay decreases.
A client who has an exceptional experience will not only be happy to pay a higher price, they’ll actually expect it.
Say for example you walk into a restaurant. You are greeted at the door, your coat is taken from you and you are seated at your table. A smartly dressed waiter wearing white gloves comes over, removes the napkin from the table and places it on your lap while another waiter places a small stool beside you for your handbag (so it doesn’t have to go on the floor); the menu is explained to you in perfect detail while the sommelier makes an expert recommendation from the wine list based on your preferences. What is your impression? Do you think this place will be expensive?
Then think about another type of restaurant. You walk in and find that you have to place your order at the counter and you’re handed a number. Then you look around hoping to find an available table (that’s somewhat clean!) to sit at. 5 minutes later you hear your number shouted across the room and hurry to collect it on its plastic tray. You eat your food, dump the remains in the trash and leave. Would you expect to pay a high price for this?
Ok granted, these examples are at each end of the spectrum but the point I’m trying to make is, it’s difficult to charge high prices with a sub-par client experience. Chances are you won’t stay in business for very long. But with an excellent client experience, people will be happy to pay the prices you need to have a long-term profitable and sustainable business.
4. Happy Clients, Happy You
At the end of the day, giving your clients a wonderful experience will result in happy clients, a sense of satisfaction for you in delivering it, not to mention a happy bank balance 😉
How To Create a Great Client Experience
You have to really want to provide the best possible experience for each and every client that walks through your door and you need to do it in a consistent, authentic, real and personable way so that each of your clients feel important as an individual.
And don’t forget, we’re not just talking about their experience at the photoshoot itself. It’s everything before, it’s everything after, and everything in between. It’s a lot of little things and ultimately the “feeling” your client gets when interacting with your business.
Don’t just wing it, plan it!
Make a plan of the exact experience you want your clients to go through from start to finish. Then you need to work out how to implement each step and to make sure it is repeatable and sustainable with the resources you have.
Top 10 DO’S (actually make it 11…)
Find out what it’s really like to be the client – if you’ve never booked a professional photographer, why not give it a go and put yourself in the client’s shoes for a different perspective. See what’s great and what could be better. Perhaps you could even team up with a fellow photographer and compare and contrast each other’s experiences and help each other out. Make sure they're willing to both give and receive constructive criticism for the benefit of both your businesses!
As Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” It’s a combination of lots of small things that creates a truly exceptional client experience and will keep your clients coming back for more with plenty of referrals too.
Many things can impact your client’s perception of your business from your own personal appearance to your studio to how easy it was to find your studio or even a parking space. It’s a multitude of things that adds up to the entire experience and leaves your client with a lasting impression. Don’t underestimate the little things.
If you want to catch a glimpse of someone who really has her Client Experience nailed, click here to follow this link and scroll down to watch the video of Wendy's Studio Experience.