Client Systems: Database, Workflow, and Session Tracking
Okay client management this actually just this is one of my baby plan sessions that I had to reschedule I think that she was separation anxiety like you would not believe and I've had a couple of you know how you get on a streak and like babies who just won't cooperate or whatever it's actually been really nice here created life because they've all been really good and at home it's been a little bit of a different story sweetheart of a girl this is bentley the same one who was in the tub earlier at six months this is her one year and she's a sweetheart of a baby but she's as she's getting older that separation anxiety is kicking in and she just did what she wanted to be a mama's lap the whole time so that's as much as she touched her cake she didn't even do anything more than that and the cake is still sitting in my fridge so we got a reshoot so I told mom okay, we'll come back in the store cake smash later she was getting tired and sometimes that's what you have to do and I've actuall...
y done that a lot lately so don't feel discouraged at all if you have a baby just isn't cooperating and you need to have him come back marry effect I do mohr reshoots for baby plan than I do for any other client I have now a lot people say why do you do that well I want good images and if I don't get enough in the session I'm going to want to reshoot it she's gonna come back she'll be at the studio for fifteen minutes will be done will be over with it's not a big deal for me to schedule a reshoot I don't mind doing it some people do but it was a couple of my schedule twice rescheduled twice because of separation anxiety lately in the last six months so anyway client management it's important to keep track of those you're like yearlong clients it really really is yearlong clients require an organized system or you will lose your mind trying to keep track of everybody ok especially if you're doing an annual product like a year in product you have got to keep track of where they are what they're doing how their kids are what they ordered what colors were doing all that stuff so with clients systems and client management there's a couple things you need to be aware of first of all the database so this is all the information that's associated with the client everything from their address to their phone number to the members of their family teo how old people are too what school they go to and what kind of cartoon character the kid likes I mean all that kind of dad and information is kept in my database workflow, how do you take a client from order from precession through delivery? So work flow with a client means everything from they've booked. What information do I need to send them? What educational materials do I need to send them? When are they coming for their sessions schedule one of the coming for their order. An appointment, you know, kind of keeping them in the flow of workflow because some clients are going to be at the order employment and some are gonna be at the very beginning. So how do you juggle who's? Who and where on I can tell it's going to make you crazy. Okay, so you gotta have a system for that now. Granted your appointments, you can keep scheduled on a calendar like that, but where they are in the workflow, have you ordered their product? Have you backed up their files? Have you proved everything? Has they're ordering appointment taking place? Where are they? In the conveyor belt of system. You've got to keep track of that. Otherwise you're gonna go crazy, and I got to tell you how to do that. Session. Tracking this is the scheduling part of it. You've got three sessions of this client's going to coming to it throughout the year. Those need to be scheduled in advance, so you know, when they're coming, so you khun bob the client before it happens to remind them of what's coming up it's a little different than with a regular session they book they know when they're coming in the order department they leave with baby plan the book you're scheduling three sessions to the first one ordered appointment delivery remind for the second one second one order implement delivery remind for the third one. So you've got this scheduling a nightmare that you need to keep in an organized way because it's up to you to remind them of the next maybe some plant session that's coming up. You don't rely on them to remind you it's your job to remind them. Okay. Communications tracking. What emails are you sending them? What information are you sending them? How are you talking to them on the phone? When do you talk on the phone? How are you reminding them that their new session is coming up? What? How is communication happening? And how are you keeping track of communication? Are you just saving emails on a little folder on mac male? You have to search every time you want to find an email from somebody you have to put in their name and hope it's still in your inbox. No we're not going to do that okay you have to keep things systematic so that you can go back to the client go we talked about this two weeks ago or five weeks ago when we said we would deliver your products and such a such a day in their bitching about the fact that it's not there in time and you had already told them in an email that it was you know you've got to be able to back yourself up for all this stuff okay so keep track of that kind of thing and then order tracking where are they in the order process where is their stuff from the lab when did you order it? Has it arrived yet do you know if there's something missing do you know the order number for the order that you've got to go back and call white house and find out what happened to it? Do you have all these things in a system or do you have to go hunting when something goes wrong waste of time okay, so let's talk about all this stuff so the first thing we're going to talk about is actually the database and how to keep track of client information all the stuff that's uh kind of the the boring address phone number statistics birthdays all that good stuff okay I used studio club studio cloud is a studio management software this is the amazing part it's free no, I mean, like what's the catch it is free it's free when you're starting out as you grow your company and need more services from them, you will have to panamint lee basis for things like employees tracking high end scheduling stuff there's but most people who are sole proprietors who are just on their own don't need that right away, and they don't need it for a few years, but studio cloud is a cloud based management system, so they store your data off site, and as you grow, you're going to start paying for that storage. Does that make sense? So the first few years when you don't have a lot of clients and you're just kind of growing your business, you're going to be able to use the free system? No problem, it's almost like a free trial. For a long time. I didn't start using the paid version for at least a year, and I have a lot of clients. Okay, so, um, I just kind of transferred over from my old city management to the new one, so I kept the old people on the old system. I just kept that data, but then when I transition to the new system, it took me a full year of shooting you no ten, twelve sessions a month before I needed even guy would have been I caved and bought because I wanted some of the features not because I needed space does that make sense? So if you just use it for space, you won't have to start paying for a long time so studio cloud is free it covers my client basics so address phone number, data, birthdays, things like that contact info names it tracks my employees and people who are in my studio they can have certain access to it at different levels. It tracks the personal information that I gather for that client. So in the notes section I will write things like oh so want those were modeling their house it's set to be done in june make sure you send a little, you know, I set a reminder to say, hey, this smith's house is going to be complete cinema card, you know, or whatever or it could remind me and tell me all those things and get me organized when it comes to this time kind of data it schedules my sessions does pretty much everything I needed to do, and it also tracks communication. I can send emails directly from studio cloud, and it tracks the communication that I've had with that client, so it will tell me every single email that I've sent them and on what date I sent it and what the content is about email, does that make sense so that to me was huge because it allowed me teo give gave me that confidence that security that the communication I gave was the communication I thought I did okay and it creates that system I can record relationships so grandma, grandpa dad, mom, baby spouse you know, I can determine who's who? So if I have a client you know jane smith I can say all of jane's miss children who hearst houses who are grand parents are you know, aiken put down relationships and then put notes and stuff about those people in those really even upload a picture of them so I can recognize them when I see him. Okay huge customer service stuff huge and I don't use all the aspects of what to do with claude can offer but to me it's invaluable sessions I can track my sessions so it allows me to schedule sessions equipment that I need for each session for huge studios ifyou're a large session studio, you have two camera rooms that can contract camera rooms so you can determine you know which which room is being used for? Which kind of session at what time? You can schedule stuff like crazy it's it's insane it's almost too much, but that it also tracks my orders and invoices and one of the reasons I picked to do cloud because it integrates with pro select those of you who know me know that I saw with pro select pro select is a software a presentation software that allows you to sell your images and show what you want to sell to your client people always well I had one person asked me one time if I was on a desert island and juice between photoshopped a pro select what would I have and I hands down told her press select because it is so necessary and brings in so much money to my studio on a daily basis that I can't live without a period end of statement and studio cloud and pro select communicate they talk to one another so I can produce an order in pro select and studio cloud will see it and populate their invoice and allow me to run credit cards through through studio so I'm swiping a transaction which makes me much safer and secure in my transactions clients can't dispute the transaction as much taken sign for their order and I can produce a thumbnail invoice for the client through pro select so the two softwares are critical to how I do things and keeping track of those invoices and what's been paid and what hasn't is crucial to my systems process okay and studio cloud tracks all that now there are tons of different software is out there okay seventeen hats is a new one out that's supposed to be pretty good okay those their studio plus there's tavi there's shoot q there's light blue for all those of you who are in europe like blue is supposed to be really great their success where there's all these amazing software's out there that all do different things and not one of them is perfect let's just keep that in mind now one of them will do everything that you could possibly want to dio my requirements were and I encourage you to research but I'll tell you what my requirements were out of a software because I researched them all based on my requirements what I needed you guys might need something different so keep keep that in mind first and foremost I wanted to be user friendly and pretty and easy to look at I wanted icons and you know just oh yeah clients you know, just so I don't have to think when I wanted to go find a client I wanted to be pretty and easy to look at number two it had to integrate with pro select I want a seamless paperless workflow I do print everything as back up and I'll talk to you about that on a little bit but I wanted everything to be elektronik so when I have an order and pro select I wanted to just be elektronik lee transferred into my study management software and auto populate quick easy I don't wanna have to enter data twice when I first started using prospect I wasn't using those features and I had to write down the order and then go to my store managers suffer and type it all out and I want a pain no thanks so keeping an electron ic was critical to me I want a good support so if I had a problem with the software it could I could get good support and then finally I wanted cloud based system with studio cloud they have a iphone app and an ipad app and I believe in an android app so I could be in the middle of nowhere as long as I have service and be on my iphone on book somebody I don't have to be at my computer my death the app sinks so that I could get the information from any time at the cloud in the cloud and call my clients directly from studio club which is cool if I'm on the road or whatever or if I have a problem this is together thing with systems if we have a problem at the studio that belinda can't solve and I need data management I can log into that information from anywhere in the world and have access to my client client my entire client database from anywhere in the world I don't have to be in my suit that was critical to me especially since I travel so much ok, so those were my major requirements and I wanted it to also track my bookkeeping. Ok? Studio cloud does not have super advanced managerial accounting features. The difference between regular counting a managerial, accounting, managerial, accounting well, regular regular kind. Just money in money out how much money's come in. How much money's going out managerial accounting is the concept of where's my money going and why is it going there? So there are some software's like success where is really good at this? It tracks and and can tell you how effective a marketing campaign is. And why it's being successful based on the financial data. It's getting studio cloud has some of those features. Not all of them but it's. Amazing it's does everything expense reports book keeping all that I send my report off to my tax guy and bam it's done. Okay, so that's a huge, huge component as well. See, you can also last may to send automatic text message just two clients, so it'll it. I put in their session on the calendar, and if I tell studio cloud, send a text message or an e mail one day in advance, it will send them a little reminder on text mentions going your session with chul images that such a such a date tomorrow don't forget, which is huge for baby plan ah, week out from their session. Aiken, send that little text that says your baby plant session is scheduled for one week from today. Please call us to let us know if your child is is in the stage he's supposed to be in? If not, we can reschedule your session. I want to know that a week or two in advance so that I could put newborns in there. Should I have last minute newborns come in instead of having the client called me the night before? Or me call her the night before? Because I forgot. And she says, oh, she's not really sitting up yet. We should probably postpone that was my bad, but with an automated system like that, that makes your life so much easier when there's a system in place that kind of does it for you. All right? So tracking your clients is a huge component of what you're going to be doing with this kind of the opening screenshot of su cloud and see it's pretty, and it gives you the weather it does. It gives you the weather for your rare at which honestly, front on location shooter is really good information and it tells you sunset times and sunrise for your area it's silly, but it's funny how the smallest features really, really help you so it's the database for client systems is important and that's what I use with studio cloud but also the workflow is incredibly important and now we're going to discuss that work flow before we get into session tracking and communications tracking in order tracking so workflow now a system like studio cloud will allow you to track workflow you could have a pipeline they call it and you can set up a pipeline so you can see how I have I'm pretty analog in some ways you can see how on this white board I have different I'll show you guys what all the different things are there but uh I have little like where they are in the client workflow you can create that soup pot if you want to do it electronically as well. I want to see it on the wall way when we walk up my stairs in the in the studio where we have our desks and everything where we work there's a wall with a huge thirty by forty white board and it's actually that's my old white port actually there was a big even bigger one now on dit has everything on there so I can look up at the board and go I was so and so need this so that I get all at once like I can get a grip on what's happening and I love to check things off I love being able to take the white for pencil. We did that when we did that. We did that. If you're some kind of like a nate joy about doing that on and of course, it's. All color coded. Belinda has it all color coded. So it's it's a good time, but it shows each step of the process and where you are ours, it's. Just a plain white board. If you go to an automotive supply store, you can get pinstripe tape for cars, you know, like a little pin striped tape that you would put on the edge of a car. So I just get the black pinstripe tape and you just tape off your whiteboard in little sections. It's like two to three dollars of thing. I think I needed, like four of them to do my thirty buddy, forty white board there's, a lot of little pinstripe tape, but it's a really nice system and a I'm kind of archaic, committed untold, and I like things analog sometimes, but, like in my studio, I have an analog workstation and a digital workstation. So the digitals where we do a lot of photoshopping proofing, but then the analog is where we do our painted prints and arm at cutting it, it's the craft table and there's a small part of me that still believes in analog like I want to able to see it I tried during the studio cloud things with pipeline and it just it wasn't it didn't work for me and I need probably to investigate a little bit more but I love seeing my white board and going up and saying ok who's in the process who is in the pipeline and who do I need to get out of here and what do I need to check off what you two do today? Okay, so here is kind of what our work floor but works the board says it says you know did you send them the welcome kit so the little initial baby plan hi you're here we love you did you are now we have a new one that says did they send the contract in and what is their session date like when are we shooting your session? So we've added a few things over the years but have we back up their images are they proved is the ordering appointment complete? Have we uploaded their images to the lap so they can order prints the because we do digital files but we send them to a pro level lab throughs and folio so I upload those images for them so they can order prints on their own through professional lab have we designed any album? Is that applicable has their order been sent to the lab? Have we burned backup disks or you know, backed everything up on the raid drive which I'll talk about here in a minute have we packaged the order? Have they picked it up? Have we sent a final card to them a thank you card and we have wee facebook and block them so there's lots of other steps you could put in there or and or take out but this is how I want to be thinking when it comes to client work flowing organization ok, I also have a client folder so each client who books with this we put the other data in the studio cloud and then we just have a little manila envelope folder that we put their paperwork in I print a copy of their questionnaire in contract and put it in there they're ordering invoice system goes in there they're notes from studio cloud like if I've taken notes about from the consultation about who they are, what they do, what they love kind of thing special stuff like are they were modeling their house and when is it going to be finished, that kind of thing all that stuff gets printed and put into their client folder as kind of a hard copy that we can then look at and then the client folder so this is we also have a sheet that you khun staple to the front of the client folder that puts the workflow in there as well. So well, this is all in our newborn session booking system. So if you really want to get a hold of it and not have to do yourself, you could do it there. But, you know, it has welcomed kick contract received, called them, backed up, approved or implement usb received the entire workflow process from when they book toe when we thank them for doing business with us is all on this sheet, and we can check it off and staple it to their folders. That's a one extra area where we can check back, check our work and see if we're keeping everybody in the in the in the assembly line that follow three questions. No. Okay, then those folders go in a filing system that sits right next to the white board. So not only do we have the white one on the wall, but this little filing system is right next, and their folder just goes along. These little sticker tabs are marked with the different workflow moments in there in the client process, and the file just moves bum bum bum bum bum as they go through the process, okay, that's, another huge thing, so if something's off kilter like we forgot to put a folder in one file but it's marked on the board we got to double check our work and make sure that we we got it right it just it's just a system of checks and balances and make sure everything gets done nothing falls through the cracks and your clients all experienced the same work flow through your through your studio can you see how this could help you yeah that up but would be enormously helpful when it comes to creating a kiss consistent experience for your clients so with client systems we talked about the database we've talked about the work flow of the client going from booking to final thank you we've talked about sex but now we're going to talk about session tracking how do you track those sessions and make sure that they don't fall through the cracks well again studio cloud is one of those things I used to do that they're sessions are scheduled in there with text message reminders that are sent to clients the text message reminders can also be sent to me so I could get a text message that says someone does session is coming up and I'm like oh yeah I got to call them make sure that baby's sitting up okay you can also just do it through aikau you know you khun schedule I don't we actually do both now like studio cloud communicates with aikau it'll stink it's like I can enter recession in studio cloud and populate an icloud account that I can put a session in studio cloud on may twenty third and it will sink and populate aikau with that same appointment okay, so when I see that's when I first put in a session when I'll do is you can see here it says ross, I don't know if you see their says ross bees you bug belinda puts that in noting that that family the ross family has a six month old so we need to bug them about their bees you baby plan it's her little thing that she's raspy bijou bug bug them make sure they're good so on that day when she comes in she looks at the calendars all these all these sessions everything stinks so belinda can see everything I could see everything lauren can see everything and it's annoying as all get out sometimes because your phone will light up when people are doing stuff changes stuff but I prefer that knowing what's happening the studio that we're all in communique then they have things fall through the cracks so she puts it on there and she knows on monday on the second of february right of it was she had to call the ross family and bug him about the baby and find out if the baby was at the right stage for growth before their session okay sometimes we have clients who don't book the baby planet the newborn session for whatever reason they maybe they were having and hying but we thought they might make a great beauty maybe client we will put at five months old when the baby's five months we'll put on our calendar call someone so about baby plan and just say hey, you know, we noticed that little suzie is going to be, you know, five, six months old that is the first session in baby shit baby plan I know you guys were talking about it or we'll send them a little card that says, you know, hey, it's that time we'd love to see you again if you you know you were thinking about joining baby plan if you want to now is the time because little susie is the perfect age you would be surprised how effective that is very surprised at how effective of it and all it takes is a little postcard that you sent in the mail and that's the kind of thing where you're bugging them but not pushy you're just sending them a little pretty postcard that says, hey, we're thinking about you we really miss you and we love to be able to photograph your baby again it's the perfect time to be part of the show baby plan okay, so yes he's your baby plan is a lot of administrative work it's a lot of administrative work, but if you have systems in place it won't be quite as bad and the benefits are fantastic because you're getting those repeat clients you're building that relationship with them and turns into a lifelong client my bees you baby plan clients are now my friends like I have baby find clients who are now like we go out to dinner with him all the time our kids play together like they're my very dear friends and they're going to clients for life one of them comes to me she has five children she first came to me she has five children under two she had triplets which we shot and hero twins at the time amazing woman she's best mother I've ever seen in my life and she came to teach her triplets did bu baby and now she does two sessions a year with me one indoors one outdoors spends ten fifteen thousand here with me amazing woman we go what we do secrets we do breakfast with santa every year with her and her kids we've got to dinner with them I mean they're very good friends and she respects my business she knows what to do she left and she pays full price and I don't give her discounts it's a respect thing she's my kids dennis now she's, a pediatric dentist in town and she's my kids dentist so do you see why I'm saying this is a relationship? And now she, you know, she was like, I know, chef, occasionally she goes to other photographers in town to get quick snapshots, but I'm totally fine with that's awesome. I love that she loves pictures so much. Ok, so that's, the goal is to create these clients who are just so they're your bread and butter. They are your twenty percent who brings in eighty percent of your income. Okay, those are the people you want to be close to and that's what's fun about having a business is really connecting with these people and knowing that you're making a huge difference in their life. Okay, so a few calendar tips sorry, I got off track there, put all your sessions onto the calendar. So when you first book busy, baby, put all your sessions for them on the calendar, even if they're not even if you know, they might not be at that stage at the time of booking. Um, at least they won't father that through the cracks if you do that, because if you don't schedule them all up front, you'll be like, oh, johnny, johnny cash, we did his session in september and it's january shoot is ready for the first baby plan session yet should we call them you don't want that question in your head you just want to know when you're supposed to do it and have it ready and done okay and of course that means remembering to remind them about all this stuff if you rely on your client to call you that's bad customer service if they feel like they have to call you to find out me when you have to call to find out about something in your own your dentist always send you time for a check up they send you that all the time I get it constant and that's the only reason I know you supposed to go the dentist just sent me a little card that says it's time for your check up okay so think like that if the client has to call you about it then something happened that you dropped the ball on okay um and of course reminders for paperwork mailings cards etcetera so if they haven't sent in their contract yet you need to call them and remind them to do that we even mark when a non like I said we've been we've marked with a non booked client is about six months old to call in contact them and make sure they check in again to see if they if they want to join me is your baby okay when I hired um belinda I hired her part time blast well, I don't know because remember last year when I was here for the newborn class tiffany was my assistant and tiffany went on to start her own business, which is awesome I'm so proud that she's done that she's really succeeded done great the linda came back at that point and she was just proving my sessions she was just it was very, very part time and because I was trying to regroup and it was just me for a little while there me and then belinda would prove my sessions and that was basically it and I, uh she came she just a little back story she was first started off as my nanny. I hired her through care dot com and she started as my nanny for my son when he was born and I had to go back to work and then asked he started going to day care more more we couldn't bring him to the studio anymore. She heard duty started changing into a studio assistant position and my son started going to daycare more. We'll finally made someone today careful time and I just kept her on is my studio assistant she kind of dropped her nanny duties well then she had a baby and left for a little while to go raise her daughter and that's when tiffany was with me so when tiffany left, she decided to come back part time. Last october, we were discussing that I needed more help. Lauren has two other jobs, and so she just really assist me on newborn shoots, so lauren has her job, so she don't really have the time to come in and help me, and it was just different duties, so we decided to make belinda come in as a full on part time position so should not full time, but that she would be there on a consistent basis rather than proofing from home because she was basically proving my sessions from home. So now she's going to the studio and I was freaking out about this. I'm like, I can't afford all this, you know, extra help. What am I doing this this crazy? And I said to her, I go glinda I need to get more sessions to pay for you, but this is not gonna work unless we can get more bodies through the door and that will help cover your income just like, yeah, I know I can help you do that. We're going to go back and contact all these people and get these new baby planners in we're gonna grow baby plan, and this was just last october and I said we're ok, we're going to do this on a trial basis for tries for three months and if it's going to take the risk and put the money to this and if this isn't working three months, then we're gonna have to regroup and talk again about maybe putting you back to just doing proofing processions she's like okay that's fine let's let's do that lo behold, she kicked but she's calling these bees you baby people or these newborn clients and getting the joint baby plan she's connecting with all these people going into old client files, you know how many sessions that produced was crazy? It was amazing and she basically pay for herself and she's still doing that today, so I'm like that's awesome that's what? And it made me realize that going back and talking to clients who maybe hadn't continued in the baby plan, talking a newborn people who are like maybe hemming and hawing and just needed that little extra push. They spent so much of the newborn session that the thought of doing another year was overwhelming to them, but yet when we get six months down the road that's totally different, they've paid the hospital bills, things are back to normal there feeling good, the hormones air not raging anymore and they're calm down, so when you call me six months later and go hey you want to join your baby like oh yes of course we should do that and they join but if we hadn't made that phone call it would've never happened can I just wanted to give belinda shoutout who is in the chap she's a row and she's helping out in their questions I asked her if she wanted to pass on anything to you and you just said I love julia I also wanted to let you know that people are already ah moment in forever is already downloading studio studio thank you studio clouds so people are putting this into action right? What that's awesome that's good news thank you, belinda I love you too she's amazing on of course has become a good friend and so has war so this we always send reminder postcards to folks this is a really fun way and I have to admit we haven't we slacked too I mean stuff falls through the cracks so it doesn't happen all the time but this little postcard has been really fun it says it's that time on the front of it and then it's just a blank postcard in the bag we can't wait to see you again you know and that's that's it's like the dentist postcard that's all it is it's pretty simple and it's a blanket that images trinity the candice's daughter she's like all over my baby planets really pathetic but she's just so cute how can you not can not lover but anyway and I know candace if she's watching she's beaming right now she loves your daughter so much he is just it's just cute but anyway way send and this so trinity goes on every single postcard coast out I mean she's the faith of of the baby plan pretty much but it gets them excited about this process and the reminder is just good customer service and it just shows your client that you have good communication that you're on it when you get a postcard from your dentist you're like are on it it's a good thing especially when it's a postcard for my dentist is pretty boring it's just like little tooth on the front and it's kind of silly but when you say thank you thank you and who wants to go to the dentist? I mean really I hate the dentist so when I get the postcard really like oh god do we really have to go to the dentist? So with this it's totally opposite emotional reaction you get this card this card in the mail your way we get to go back that's, right? I forgot you know are you we remembered but not quite when it's just provides that excitement again so that's good