The Story of Stephanie
I want to tell you the story off Stephanie. Okay. She is that client. Stephanie has come to me with both of her newborn Children. Okay, The first experience was great. Her first child. We had a great time. I was pretty much starting out teaching into newborns. I was excited. I experiment with all kinds of things. The session took, like, four hours. Right on the beginning of new warns you, you don't have a system in place for shooting, so you just shoot everything because you want to. And she was a really great baby. So I just shot, shot, shot, shot shot list when they're set up. So fun. Because I didn't have I was more about the art at that time than the business. I was not about system izing things, keeping my time efficient, producing an incredible product product for my clients. That's consistent for everybody. Does that follow? So if we have a great session, don't get me wrong. And her remarks to me were great when we came in the first time, we got the full treatment cookies, drink...
s and so many images to choose from fast forward. Two years and the second child. Okay, First of all, she was coming in from out of town. She had moved away, but she loved our work so much that she wanted to come back. So I didn't get the baby until about 2. 3 weeks old was a boy, and she had just circumcised him 2 to 3 days earlier. Okay? She was the client who made a policy. You know, those clients who, at the end of the session like, Okay, there's a new policy for that. She is one of those people who, and it was my mistake. I fully, fully fully take ownership for the screw ups on my end. And let me tell you, they were screw ups. Okay, let me just tell you a few of the mistakes I made. First of all, by then, I had a really nice system in place for shooting. So every session was the same. The same looks, same pose is not the same looks, but the same poses very systematic. There was a certain number of images we didn't want to show more than 40 images. Okay, so that is I have learned. But that's what makes you profitable. that's what makes clients happy. That's what makes them less overwhelmed, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. But what I didn't take into account was that Stephanie had had had a different experience with me prior, right? So things were different. This is one of those sessions where things just start off bad and only get worse. You know, that Kind of Just like no matter what you do, it just seems to get worse and worse and worse. And the heart of your tried to make it right. The worst against everybody has had that client right. And by the end of it, you're like, Oh, just let me hide in a hole somewhere. It's just awful, her son, You know, when we wrap babies there naked, Okay, when you have a freshly circumcised little boy is extremely painful for them. Um, funny enough, they didn't really cry that much in the beginning. He was fine. But as we started to wrap him and do things, he screamed bloody murder and would not stop. Okay, when I was photographing the siblings together, because now we have a two year old. The mix right. I wrapped her in some fabric and clamped down the background actually clamped her skin with a metal Home Depot Clamp those big, heavy duty like stupid. What was I thinking? That was dumb. Why did I use such a heavy clamp? Now I use, like, little clothes, pins that are, like super weak and just kind of keep it in place. You know, I would never do that on a child now, but I was so flustered by what was going on and that the mistake happened, and as she got right then and there, she had ah, scrape on her back and it started to bruise right away. Okay? And she was screaming, blame, murder. I mean, you could just imagine this session. Okay, we got the sibling shots, went into do baby by himself. And by this time, when we started to wrap him, he just it was hurting. And I was an experienced. I didn't know I should have. I should have known that a circumcised child that's gonna hurt why I didn't put two and two together is beyond me. But he was screaming so badly that I had to have her come back like I couldn't finish the fashion. And so two days later, he came back. We finished the session. It was much better because it's amazing how fast they heal. Five days, six days out of circumcision. A baby's feeling much, much better now. Our policy is we won't do it within seven days of circumcision. But, um and she that session she didn't make that policy. I did. Because of my mistakes during that session. Does that make sense? So what you need to understand is how upset Stephanie Waas How and rightfully so rightfully so. This is just part of the quote of a 10 paragraph email she sent me. I am so disappointed. I cannot sleep. I cannot eat. And I'm sick for my Children. You maimed my child. They are traumatized, and I can only hope there is no permanent damage. Can you imagine getting that email? I was sick to my stomach. I was like, Oh, my God, I have This is the worst session of my life and I have completely screwed up. Okay, One year later, mice to manager was in a baby store and happened to see Stephanie, and it was still there. She said, Oh, I took my little one of the doctor and just a few weeks ago and thank God, they said that he's he's gonna be OK. She was worried. I mean, what happened is when we wrapped him up with the fresh circumstance and it just kind of the skin tour a little bit and it just started leading a little bit. It wasn't serious, but it was enough that he was crying and upset and it hurt. When I knew better. I saw it went okay, we got a I'm not like continuing to do it when I saw that, but she was so traumatized by this that I mean, I have no doubt in my mind that she will never refer us. Worse yet. Thank God she hasn't completely blown us across the Internet. Um, and I tried to make up for it and provide things for free, etcetera, etcetera, and make it worth your while. But she was still upset, and she always will be. And here's what's so sat. Every time she looks at those images, what is she going to think of? It kills me. It kills me. That's the one client that high haunts me to this day because I screwed up bad, okay? And what I want you to understand is that my lack of customer service broke this wheel in half like a knife with her. I strip so badly that I not only through wench and her real, but every other potential wheel that has to do with her. Okay, so I hope that my story helps you right off the start. Realize how important it is to nail these points on the circle and never let your circle break ever. And if it does, you make better. Well, darn sure you fix it, okay? And I tried to fix it. Unfortunately, it was just too much damage. You know, I think I saved myself from being blasted online by by doing what I did on the back half by providing her with free albums by making her not pay by doing everything I could. Apologizing left right and sideways over it, you know, doing everything I could to bend over backwards to tell her I'm so sorry. And she understood, but not really, you know, she's also when those clients who was a little she I know she was very emotional after giving birth, So I think that contributed to it as well, you know, and I know I was when I gave birth. And that, of course, adds fuel to the fire with any client who's who's a new mother. I guess when it comes down to is what I'm saying. As long as you keep the components of the customer service cycle intact, the cycle will continue the self fulfill your the one who breaks it. Okay, if anything goes wrong, if you have a steady influx of client and then all of a sudden you don't there may be something in that circle you need to look at and granted. There are other parameters. You know. There's other factors involved when it comes to running a business, but you have to take a close look at that. Clients cycle circle and ask yourself if you're screwing up somewhere before you blame it on an external problem, always look at yourself. So starting out when you first you know, maybe you're just starting in business or, um, you know, you kind of feel like you've been in business for a while, but you don't really have a lot of clients. You need to kind of inject it with some new life, you're gonna have to feed the circle more often from external sources. It's just it's just the way it is. It's kind of like a snowball. When you put your snowball down the hill, you have to grow it and pat Snow on and like, Make It Go Down the Hill. Come on, come on, come on. Eventually, it's going to start getting big enough to roll by itself. It takes a while, and it takes a lot of work to pack that snow on there to get it to keep going. And that's what I mean. You're gonna have to learn how to bring in new clients externally from from the get go, and that's the hardest part of the whole cycle. It's like getting the water wheel to spin. It takes a little water initially to get to go, and then it goes by itself. Okay,