So next, agni, we're going to talk about customer service, right? This is a big one. This is something that faces all of us. I'm a share some dirty laundry with you here because I ultimately believed this is the only way for everybody to learn. And so this is something that happened to us. I would say without looking at the exact date we're talking in the last two weeks this is happening. Eso even at this stage of the game, we still face these issues. We had a wedding that came in. She came in when I was telling us the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. Right? Good looking couple looking great for our portfolio came in in june on booked us for a december wedding. Red flag number one most clients book at least a year. Year and a half out for us. Where a year year and a half out. So now here's, somebody coming in same year within six months of their wedding. So it's a december wedding, which is our slow season. So we really want and need this wedding and it's at the riv it's, not the ri...
tz carlton and they booked our top. Uh, black label photography package, which is eighty, five hundred on booked our top video package, which with their discount, ends up being forty, two hundred. So is a big wedding, especially in december, when we have, like, no wedding, so they're twelve, thirteen thousand dollars into us and they haven't bought a single engagement picture yet, nothing post wedding this ultimately would have been a fifteen to eighteen thousand dollar wedding for us, so I just want a level set what we were looking at when we when we dealt with this so all of a sudden and you'll understand why my so much disdain for wedding planners, and I'm going to read this for years just to kind of drive this home. This is our email gonna go away from this. This is an e mail I got from the actual wedding planner after the bride had already given us her thousand dollar deposit. Good afternoon, sal in taylor, as casey mentioned in her email, I have the privilege of being their wedding planner on december twenty eighth. There's such a great couple. When you agree, I began reviewing their contract at their house on saturday and everything is very straight forward and looks good. The only thing that was a concern to them was your payment structure. Hair is already up on the back of my neck is I'm reading this email? I will be honest in saying that I was a little surprised that you require full payment thirty days prior to the wedding. Please know that they love your work and really want to use your services but are concerned with this policy. Our photographers we use often require installments. And then after the wedding and following the proofs following the proofs who's delivering proofs anymore. Okay, andi, I don't know who she's talking about a payment structure. Thirty days or pay after the wedding are for tires we use require installments. And after the wedding and following the proofs, the final payment is made. Is there any wiggle room on your payment policy? Or do you stay firm on the thirty days prior pills, please feel free to call me. Well, I have no idea who this wedding planner is referring to when she makes the statement. So here's, my response back. Hey, alex, I agree great couple unfortunately, there is no wiggle room at all. In our payment policy. We have been in business for a very long time and a spotless record with the better business bureau. I'm not sure why it would be a surprise in all honesty, I photographed everyone from the president, the united states and the white house to sports celebrities around the country I've never had anyone question our policy in fact, most retires requirement payment in full there are no proofs to deliver, so I'm not sure what that means. We have a slew of items that I deliver up to six months post wedding think about it. Their wedding album isn't delivered till after the wedding there video isn't delivered till after the wedding. Are you telling me I'm not getting paid until possibly six months later? Uh, they're, uh we have a slew of items. Such a wedding album, wedding video, there's no way we could wait that long for pavement. In fact, isn't the caterer paid in full before the food is put down? Does the florist get paid before the wedding? Okay, so I just want you guys to realize I'm not making things up. This is how we run our business not trying to be difficult, but like every other business out there, we have costs, expenses, staffing that all get paid up front. The last thing we want to do is hunt our clients down after the wedding looking for payments. If the client has concerns, would love to hear from them spelling error from them so that we can address him directly and put them at ease that's what the contract is for they're protected but again I'm not sure I understand this since it's the first time I've heard it in seven years taylor can you call alex and discuss directly so there's no misinterpretation in the email this is also very important so I'm sending that e mail is kind of establishing a point to go I'm not tolerating this nonsense here's where we're at we're not wiggling on this you're paying your caterer and fall the cage is not going to put food down and then collect payment after you taste the food and determine it's to your liking that's not how it works the flores isn't putting flowers down and then chasing you down for payment I'm sure his house of guitar for not going to show up with my staff work all day and then hope I get payment thereafter so now I'm asking taylor hey do me a favor jump on a phone call I love it when he does and start working stop out that's the dynamic of the husband wife team and so and in doing that what we're taylor now several e mails go back and forth between her the bride on dh then the plan are trying to flush this all out well then we ultimately get this email from the bride after we third thought we worked this all out and let me give you some background here turns out the bride had hired uh, interior designer then they got kind of burns the interior designer just kind of took off with their money and they never got the services so now you know, of course. So this is why she's a little edgy. So taylor has his phone call with the branch because, hey, I don't understand what's going on, you knew our policy when you booked us. We've never really run into this problem. What is your concern? So what taylor did was being a little bit more proactive verse trying to deal with the planner. Why don't I want to deal with a middle man who's gonna misinterpret everything I'm saying and has her own agenda back to the bride? So instead tell because here's what's happening the planners telling the bride, oh, this is ridiculous. I've never seen any payment pop policy like this when I work with other drivers, nobody requested. So now that it's in the bride's head that we're asking for something that's not normal, so we had to cut the planner out of the equation control our own destiny, taylor calls the bride get it. She was burned somewhere along the line by an interior planner ran off our terry designer who ran off with all her money that doesn't mean that's what I'm gonna do, right? So we thought we worked this out with her on the phone everything's good engagements get sessions back on schedule we're doing this tailor's like no problem contracts on its way in the mail well then we get this e mail from the bride hey, taylor we're looking forward to thursday as well when it comes to the photography for the actual wedding day were feeling that we need to give it some more thought before committing to a contract we'd like to go ahead and do the engagement session under the ala carte terms so they were gonna pay three hundred dollars for the session um and apply the deposit towards this would there be separate paperwork we need for this option? What do you think, ron? Bye take off right spidey sense is going off nightmare waiting to happen I'm walking away we went back and forth though because you know december is a lean month for us so it's like you know it's a lot of money for for a slow month should we just take it do with it? They were like, you know what? We need to practice what we preach we don't operate from a point of desperation, inspiration and money because we always end up regretting it it's always the worst clients that make your life miserable every time we've been in a situation like this and I'm not talking about identical I'm talking about one where we knew it wasn't right? It didn't feel right all things were going wrong. I'm not talking about little hiccups. This is a nightmare waiting to happen we have always regretted and she's right? We went back and forth on what we should do because it was december and we know december's or slow month historically for us. And so I finally just said, screw it, we're not doing it hey, guys, we totally understand unfortunately, at this point we're going to respectfully and regretfully decline your wedding day coverage. I'm telling you, I'm not working with you, I'm letting you go while we would love the opportunity to work with you and document arguably the most important day of your lives. There seems to be a massive trust issue with us, and I'm not sure what we did or if we actually did anything at all that being said, I'm not sure there's anything we can do to alleviate that issue for you. I understand from taylor there was a bad experience somewhere along the line with another vendor. However, if you don't trust us at this point, there's no way you can or should trust us to document your day, which in my opinion is far which is a far greater responsibility terror and I wish you all the best I'm sure your day will be beautiful and memorable I think my opinion obviously is these are the kinds of events you've gotta believe in yourself believe in your brand and trust your instinct all day I'm up here telling you to trust your instinct here it is I'm showing you in real life how we trusted our instincts thoughts santa one said I like your approach I just turned down a contract to which the bride was willing to pay for thousand dollars but it was just hassle to work with them exactly sometimes you got to trust your instincts man artistic visions girl I don't show up without being paid in full thirty days ahead nobody does I think you're normal if you do you're not running a real business there's no one else in our industry does there's no there's no part of our industry that shows up on the wedding day and hasn't been paid in full unless you just are not running a real business when I was on the call with this bright trying to flush all this out uh just like, you know, we've just been burned in the past I said I'd totally understand, but our contract is the way it is because we've been burned teo so I understand where you're coming from I'm in the same position as you are I knew I mean, how does she not understand that people are paid in full before slander is actually not new right this is just for her to write stuff like that up to me she and she inflame the situation because think about if you have somebody you trust who's in your ear and they're telling all this crazy oh he's crazy however if that planet was like no this is totally normal sweetheart I've talked to the photographer I've looked him up on the better business bureau you're good to go I know you got burned once before the bride wanna complain about anything the bride would just been like this is the way it is but instead what happened was it was a battle between us the planner and the bride and the bride had to make a decision on who to trust she opted to trust the planet which is totally fine but we had to make a decision what was right for our business and ultimately we're going to have to come up with other ways to be busy in december this would not be one of them I have a feeling this is probably the best thing we could've done so michael anthony photography would like to know if you re funded their thousand dollar deposit and you did and then also I guess I'm just wondering if you heard back from them what I said in response they said we agree thank you that was the response we agree thank you and they moved on thank god we gave thousand back and life went on didn't I'm going to talk about another situation with a bride where they weren't so happy about me cancelling the contract away the one you made cry yeah I made her christ told taylor is mean it was one of those things that I just had to go with my instincts al did their engagement shoot they came in to see the pictures this woman's crazy she's saying she like thiss was this year as well last year last year okay she liked one photo the photos were beautiful nothing was wrong she's just insane and so she narrowed it down to one photos she had she was her there her mother, her future mother in law in her future sister in law there and I pause for a second guys, you come into my studio you hired me for what I produced do you think I just had like a super bad day and I didn't know how to get any images that you would like never add up for you for you to narrow down two hundred images down to one and her comment was I guess I like that one wow, not our not our client something went wrong somewhere in the process and so this is where taylor's out in the sales room during the engagement session with her one picture on screen that she's going I guess I like it I said, you know what? I just don't think this is gonna work out. This has never happened before if you just like one photo and you're really settling on it, we're not the photographer for you. If you don't like these engagement pictures, you're not gonna like your wedding pictures, and I don't want that responsibility of taking your wedding pictures and you don't like anything. How horrible would that be? So I'm gonna let you out of your contract? I'm going to refund your deposit, and I wish you the best of luck in finding another photographer. This was three months before the wedding, and she started bawling just christ like, well, I don't want to let you go like I'm sure it'll be fine the wedding day and I it wasn't emotional about it wasn't nerve racking because I knew it was the right thing to dio ultimately, and I just said, I'm sorry, I completely understand your frustration, and I know it's going to be difficult, but I really believe that this is the best option. I want youto love your wedding pictures, you should want to love your wedding pictures, and if you don't love these, I promise you're not gonna love your wedding pictures that were going to shoot that is the same style of guitar, right nothing's going to change. Why like this you say well the styling was just different than I thought it would have something with every picture just that she didn't like like her belt was showing us and that's what it was like she'd be a certain way and maybe her belt uh I mean and I pay attention to details when I'm photographing so that you wore a suit their shirt and she was upset that you could see her belt for sure you have a mirror that's what it's for right those are things we can't control and and look I want to be honest, we don't every time something goes wrong we don't blame the client no no but this was one of those situations where you're asking for things that are out of our control we don't own your wardrobe and now you're complaining about your belt showing all sorts of neurotic things like that that she was you know, complaining about that were you know, one thing after the other and it's like this has never happened before this is obviously not gonna work, so but I think it ultimately if we would've went for with the wedding and she hated her pictures think of how bad that would be for a business that she's telling us we suck his photographers don't ever book the skylink we don't want that I'd much rather go can't deal with this now so you can practice which preaching all right, keep points when we're talking about customer service, we're talking about response time. We're talking about voice mail, email signature. We're talking about accessibility, personality, follow up. What do you do once you get the money to just kind of run off and disappear on your client's, thie overall experience, living up to you, get what you pay for on, then, of course, going above expectations, and then the toughest question in the world when it's all said and done, and they've paid you, would they come back to you again? And if your clients will come back to you again, there's something wrong with your service and you've got it, you've got to realize that and understand that and do something to be a little bit more proactive with it. So we talk about response times, I'm gonna hand this over to you, taylor. So response time, let's be honest, we're artist and we're busy, and no one likes to talk on the phone. I know I don't like to talk on the phone because I am an introvert, so I'd much rather do email and just delay it as much as possible, but we're in a business and part of the, uh, one of the reasons I get frustrated with other companies the most is response time? Like if I order something online and it's missing a part, and I call I e mail and I can't get with anyone for like, a week that's frustrating, and I'm goingto just think horrible things about that. Cos so the same applies to your business twenty four to forty eight hours response time just do it even if you're writing back to them saying, hey, I just want you know, I got your e mail, I'm busy the next couple days, but I wanna let you know I got it and I will respond to in the next few days, let them know so that they can expect a return call it's just customer service, I'll, etc. This is a new business first impression, so if they're calling you for the first time to book, you call as quick as possible. We've had bryce that we booked the emails cell at midnight on a weekend or a week, day and sell responded in the next five minutes she'd been trying to get ahold of photographers for months and no one would return her call. It was funny. After her wedding, she even alluded to sh she still hadn't heard back from similar photography is after her wedding? I asked, I'm like, have you ever heard back and she's like no they're one of our all time top clients has spent over twenty five thousand dollars in our studio, and they're the nicest people you could ever match and the greatest people to work with. And so that was all because of quick response time. How you act when you're trying to make the sale will tell the client how you're going to act once you have the sale, if you're a non responsive and they haven't paid you money, you're going to be non responsive one together gonna be even more non responsive whenever you get the money. It's what they're thinking. So this is like a trial period it's like an interview process like how responsive, how much customer service my receiving now? Because from experience in the world tells us that it's only gonna get worse, and this is where we use this to our advantage. When we're sitting in a sales meeting, we'll ask, hey, have you met with any other photographers? What? What have you heard about other photographers? And if we start hearing things like turnaround time response times, we try to really put them at ease with that, because we want them to know that we're going to be as responsive as we possibly can to them, taylor will be texting clients right? Because think of the world we live in today. You have to respond the way that they respond so some clients won't answer my calls were only text me so I text him back some clients only do email I e mail them back just make yourself accessible it's one of the other points we're gonna talk about yeah responses do you find any, like let's say taxi and I know I've heard that texan client, especially when you talk about money and stuff couldn't hold up in court if there was ever a legal dispute about payment or something like that. So do you set aside like, you'll only talk about maybe pricing any now? But I wouldn't have, like serious conversations about, like, negatives or pricing or like this conversation, and I would this bride, I wouldn't do that through through text too much get misconstrued exactly you want to document all that stuff, right? You can't be like I told you, the attacks message s ow when I say they're taxing us, it might be the room numbers, aaron, it might be, you know, would this outfit work for the engagement session there texted me a picture from the dressing room, right? You don't want to have what should be somewhat formal conversation with your couples or families of the attacks, it's more the informal stuff that you've got to react the way they're engaging with you so when we talk about, we continue with the customer service voice mail, email signatures, make sure it's professional, if someone's calling your cellphone business line, I don't care if it's your home phone, make sure you have a professional recording, so even if people call our house, it says you, you've reached salvador's and caught a photography please have a message we'll get back to you soon as possible. It says that on every line of our business, our cellphones doesn't matter if it's personal because they're going to get a hold of that number somehow. So don't say hi, this is jules, leave a message, make sure says your your business, your number, your website, whatever you need to put in there, just make sure it's, professional and consistent across your different numbers, and I know this is stupid, but they right, you should probably be smiling and be happy when you're leaving the message, right? You shouldn't sound depressed on your voicemail have formal customer service training, and I hated it because we had to smile. Whenever we talked on the phone, I thought it was stupid, but it makes such a difference. So when you're recording this stuff, make sure you're smiling because you sound happy. And then email signatures it drives me crazy when I get what about just email address period right if your email addresses like you know bobby for two five nine at gmail dot com like are you kidding me? Those e mails right it's an already signals to your client you're not professional s so you've got to get a really email address that is tied to the domain of your website I mean no matter where you're hosting your website setting up your email is super easy you could get it on your phone you could get it everywhere I mean get your it's something easy to do I just don't understand when I see these emails come in how you're expecting send the message is going to be a beginner to intermediate to advance to the gmail account way beginner intermediate maybe it's jules photography and female dot com advanced get jules at jeff and jules dot com right now exactly write email signatures this drives me crazy when I get emails from other companies and there's nothing at the bottom so in the professional corporate world when you get an email from anybody it has an e mail signature and what that includes is there named taylor sakata your company named salvador cincotti photography website phone number why why do you want that they're so that clients can easily find how to contact you even with our own vendors in the photography industry like I'm looking for a phone number email where is the phone number? Where's the phone number scrolling through old emails from years ago trying to find a way to get ahold of them if they would have just had it in their email signature it drives me crazy but just would you just write out the name or would you actually put the logo? Is that like a branding just with logo? I think with certain emails that khun go into junk mail, oriole transfers like an ex right mitch won't come through right so there's certain email programs that won't display the any attached or embedded images if you have that turned off so what we do is it's just salvador cicada photography so just the name just keep the email as light as possible. What do you guys do here? Creative life? You don't in bed, your creative live righteous, says creative life well, it's the same thing I've got a name I've actually got my title as well and then website right? So ross, big dog at exactly, obviously, but so that that's very important right? Keep it clean, keep it simple, but it's taylor alluded to think about if your clients laid for a photo shoot and they're looking at their email and trying to find a way to contact you, just to let you know and now your contact info is student this is a simple little thing that sounds stupid but you'd be surprised even at this stage of the game we're dealing with vendors whether there are sponsors or things like that and we're trying to contact him it's just like where the hell is their phone number it's not there so all right accessibility how soon can you meet with them so someone's reaching out to you to give you business you might be busy but are you going to make them wait a week to meet with you that's giving them time to go meet with other photographers and book them instead so whenever it's an initial consultation we try and get them in like that day the next day as soon as possible even if it means staying late coming in early on the weekend like the sunday after wedding lord knows I don't want to do it but I'll do it for an initial booking and don't make it difficult for clients to give you money I mean they're calling you they're saying hey we want to book you we want to spend money with you why are you making it so difficult for them to give you money inconvenience yourself so that you can get that money and the thing that comes to mind is just recently we were in vancouver we were teaching a workshop in vancouver and taylor was stepped out of the room and she was having a skype call with a potential bride to do their their photo shoot or toe book their wedding and so taylor's doing this while we're on the road, she's not like, hey, we'll be back in town next week. I'll touch base with you, then she's keeping these things moving so that we can book wedding, make sure you have alternatives if you find that you're getting a lot of brides that live away but have their weddings locally or vice versa, I have a backup plan to worry if they can't meet with you in person. There's another option. So, like sal was alluding to the skype call, we do a lot of skype calls because recently we're finding our brides live in a different state, but they're getting married in st louis, and so they can always come in and meet with us. So we'll do this skype call, and we'll try and make it a real person are in person meeting as much as possible, so we'll hold up product and try and show them the albums as best we can. But then we even have another backup option toe where if they don't have, you know, a webcam or we can't schedule it because they're in a different country. That we have a pre recorded video that walks them through all of our different products, so what I can do is hop on a call, explain over the phone, our pricing the best I can and then send them a link to this video so where they can actually see the products later that we just talked about jaffa do still return calls and emails in a reasonable time frame so this accessibility it's it's gonna live throughout your entire business? It doesn't matter what if you just book them or if they're at the end of the process and they're getting their albums stay responsive to them? Yeah, it's very, very important, right? We can't go dark once we take their money and no longer be responsive, so they're still clients eight months year after their wedding if they're calling us for anything that they have questions on were still being responsive to them and I know it's hard man it's not work life balancing that we all struggle with we're trying to deal with what's going on right now, let alone something that happened a year ago or something that's a year from now into the future, we're still trying to deal with what's going on here and now, but I'm telling you this is an important part to running a successful studio because photographers in general have a really bad reputation of being going dark and being non responsive so immediately you khun set separate yourself from the pack just by being more responsive than than your competitors. Absolutely personality. All right, introverts, this is the painful part. I know I am the insurance there's a definition out there, it's me. So this is when you have to open up and accept who you are is a person like I said before, you don't have to try and be sal, you don't have to try and be me or anybody else be who you are, but be open. You can't be this shy little person who never says anything. You can be yourself, but be open be someone that they would want to be friends with just talk to them like a normal person, like he would a friend going out to drinks are meeting with the wedding planner. But I mean, that is hard for people. How did how did you how did you move past that? I mean, I know we talked about earlier today. You got your first wedding on you had to. You had to push past that. But how about how about this? What were you feeling inside, you know, the first time you had to direct an event. Yeah, I know there was a lot of things, but I mean, how did you feel you were freaking out inside? How did you overcome that? Right? Because I think that oddly enough, I think there's more people who relate to your personality and do my personality, probably both here in online. So how did how did you let's start from the initial sales session? Because I think that's a place where most people they struggle with that sale session, and I think we had somebody writing yesterday that was like, my kind of bride is the kind of ride whole book online, right? He doesn't know that person that you want to meet with a potential bride. So how did you when you started doing sales sessions? Because you do them on your own now for your bride's I do you know, my bride's? How did you how did we get into that? What do you have to overcome, what we're feeling and how did you become his goods yard? Now, of course, I was really nervous because I'm an introvert, and I don't like talking, um but knowing the product and knowing the process really helped so salad, I had done the sale session together so many times that I know it by the back of my hand. S o I wasn't nervous about that part it's more nervous about directing thie cell session so the way that I overcame that is not looking at it like a sail session because the packages sell himself I don't really have to do any selling I'm there the way I see it to help them pick out images for whatever they want your tour guide yeah, I'm a tour guide I'm just giving my professional opinion so if they say, well, I just wanted a buy ten okay, we'll just keep this in mind. You know, these are meant to give you balance in your home make sure you, uh you want to try and match what you do from the engagement session with the wedding, these air some great images then but they need to be bigger, otherwise you're gonna be a speck in them, so give them my professional opinion, but if that's all they want them that's how they want there's not much I can do about that, you don't make it personal. You don't know if it's personal it's very easy for us. I actually am orson this than she is if I'm in the sales room and I see a client like take one of these images and they're like I'm gonna do this in a five by seven and put it on my desk at work I'm like cringing my blood starts boiling on dh I will ask him point blank like you sure this is what you guys want, teo? You know, like you don't like it? No, actually I don't like it, you know, I think they should be big in your home it's a centerpiece and I'll hit him right between the eyes, man, I'll be like that's why you came to us and so her method is a little bit softer she's not going to go there. How do you handle that conversation when we do have kind? Because of course we do that coming after an engagement session and they're just ordering one eight by ten how do you sometimes move them? The way that I move them is by showing them the stuff in the wall so you have to have samples with you to show them we like now. Okay, I understand you want an eight by ten, but most people when they come in for their engagement session, they want a piece of artwork for their home because they know they want to do one from the wedding. Typically everyone wants a nice wedding picture on the wall. You don't want every picture to be in your dress and talks the engagement session is meant to give the diversity in your homes that you have pictures in a different outfit different location. It gives you a nice balance, just like you see up here on the wall. And we showed the core that way with wedding and engagement pictures next to each other. And so I asked them, like, did you want anything bigger for your wallet? Do you like these types of products, campuses? Do you like books? I mean, what is that you're leaning towards? So I try and get some feedback out of them as to exactly what they like or don't like, so that that way I can hit on what they do like and try and direct them another way. Look, the delivery from both of us is the messaging is kind of the same, but her way is like, very soft, right, it's guiding them my ways, very direct, counting them on the head, right? So you've got to figure out your personality and for those of you who just dread the entire sales process, pay attention on what she's telling you because that's, why I stay out of the sales room? I don't, because my personality, even if I'm not selling, will come across naturally as being sales e where's, your personality will tend to always come across as more guidance, trusted advisor, right, and just walking them through the process on when we talk about personalities well, I want to talk a little bit more about like wedding day coverage and directing the client to get to the ghetto what you're looking for what is it you do? How are you guiding them versus what I'm doing to get to the same picture? I mean you these air your images here these two right? And then the right two on this one of your mind what's the difference right? The look feels is the same but you're getting to it a completely different way than I am and before you answer that actually I'm gonna come to you guys right? Who's struggling with posing I know you two are back there, robbie. So what do you starting with? Um you have a direct personality. So why why do you struggle? No, ideo but we talked about this on the last creative live that executing what I have in my mind to the client is the hardest thing I think for both me england easy. So articulating what? What you're looking for yeah, I mean, usually we have to show them or, like, mold them, you know, but that's I mean, I think that's hardest thing for every photographer exactly is getting what's in your head right out to them and you have to the one thing I think taylor alluded to earlier that I do is kind of what helps me and helps my entire team is when I'm posing someone I start right? I always announced test shots while always take a test shot I don't just start shooting that's the easiest way to start making mistakes and so if I start posing taylor and she's doing something, I will go through a check from head to toe right and you'll see my eyes just work each part of their body all the way down and what I'm looking for hair there's a hair look right so maybe I want I want to fix up his hair and I'm not saying I'm going to come in here and touch my client sometimes I will if they're just not getting it sometimes you just got to go do it right I don't have twenty minutes you to figure out how to move your foot so I'm gonna come in there and grab it, but what I'm doing is I'm looking at her head to toe I'm looking at him head to toe and sometimes that's where you find right the belts he missed about luke that's where you find one hand he's got you know he's got his thumb although in his pocket in the other one he looks it's like this, right? It doesn't look right and so I'm going head to toe in my head and that's where I'm catching those things where their feet need to be on things like that so you've got to go through that kind of checklist yourself but you do the same thing you go through that checklist and you're articulating it and so you've learned to kind of mirror that style but doesn't work even though you're introverted does that work? I like to show them first so even though I might be by myself and not have anyone to pose with to show them I'll pretend that I do like hey guys, I want you to come over here and then stephanie just wrap your arm around is no anybody watching it on the chest crazy like mine I'm a ballerina okay? So that's your way that I would show them and, uh like I did a portrait session for one of my bride's she was a rams to leader and I was we were doing this sexy shoot for a gift for her future husband and I'm trying to get her to do the sexy poses and it's just not working out, so I just go in the wall and I do it just like oh, okay, so it's sometimes showing them really gets across what you're trying to do because you can say I want you to go there and stand each other stand in front of other hold off your hands I want you guys to stand in front of each other like this makes your legs back get a nice and close to each other almost nose to nose so by showing them that way, I think it's really able it helps them visualize what you're trying to do right and it's true and if you find that you're communicating to the client and there's stumbling right through because we've seen that happen before, this is the one where almost every client struggles I have clients every once in a while they come in and they do this you ever see that right? I don't know where that that must look good in the mirror at home and muscle good that's why they're doing it right now like I do me a favor, bring your chin down, bring him down, you sit down and I'm like, oh my god, what are you not getting? And I'm like a little bit to the left, right? I'm like baby steps baby steps and then they're like, right? And then you're just trying to get them like, just move a little bit and you just wanted like, so that's when I will walk up to them and I'm just like there had to get what I need to get and so sometimes you gotta just get in there and get them to do it or show them but sometimes the verbal command they don't understand baby steps and then if you just keep giving them more and more verbal commands your destroying their confidence I think it has to be really visual, so if I'm trying to tell my bride to bring her chin down, I actually pull my chin down with my hand and she follows that motion that's something that everyone does just naturally so chin down just the left just a little bit and by doing that they're able to mirror what I'm doing yeah that's very, very important, so don't underestimate that so the point there is both of us were getting to the same point we just do it completely or maybe not completely differently but we definitely do it differently, but the end result is that was actually doing video on this wedding I was it was my wedding so I did a primary photography and he had to do video and I think it was the worst day of sales life yeah, it was brutal, it was because I was in control dude, I was twitching that day because I worked my wedding is completely different than south sounds like go go go high energy all over the place loud in your face and I am not so I move a lot slower I'm more quiet, more photo journalistic sounds like what are we doing I was switching for you, husband, wife teams, right? I'm sure we're not the only ones who face this challenge, right? It's that difference in personality and this was probably the very first time that I had worked behind. You had seen me be primary, right? This was one of the first weddings I've ever been out with. Where taylor was primary because I was video I was ultimately secondary in the equation. And I'm watching her director clients and control the group and I was here. He got on me during the day because he's, like you're not being vocal enough, you're not commanding attention. You're not doing this doing that. But then once he saw the slideshow from the with all the pictures like you got all the good pictures, I paid you a compliment on your good job. So about husband, why? Photography teams tomorrow, right? That's right. Tomorrow we're gonna talk about about working together and being, you know, working in tandem towers are nervous, but we got to be a good conversation. So let's, keep this going. Uh, what about follow? Yeah. Customer service does not stop at the sale. That's. Just the beginning of it, actually. You have to carry that ball to the end of it and don't drop the ball halfway through the process you can drop the ball by taking twice as long to deliver product because of you know, unforeseen circumstances maybe it got damaged and you have to re order it are you letting the client no did you let them know that their product arrived and it was damaged so you're having the manufacturer ship it or you're just not saying anything anything to them right lack of communication is actually the biggest complaint we used to see from clients if you just tell him what's going on for whatever reason they're gonna be they'll be okay they'll be understanding and they'll work with you but if you just keep it dark think about yourself as consumers if you just if you're in the dark you get frustrated that you don't know what's going on so just keep communicating to your client what's going on because look it happens let's see your ding from your album manufacturer when I when we have client you'd be surprised it seems like every wedding album scene comes in around november because all of a sudden they wanted for the holidays well guess what man you're not gonna have you can't order your wedding album november fifteenth and think you're gonna have it for christmas it's just not gonna happen so we're communicating that with our clients well ahead of time but if you want your album, we need all out mortar submitted by october first, so we're making sure we're way ahead of this to spearhead this and stay ahead of it differentials yourself by going above and beyond so let's say that you ordered their canvas and their canvass got damaged in shipping and now it's gonna take twice as long if it's a high end client a really good client, I'll give them the damage campus and say, listen, this one came it's just got a little ding on it, but it's still usable, you know you could give it to your parents or something like you're just giving us an extra campus yeah, yeah using use it at the reception use it for decor and like, oh my god, thank you just doing stuff like that it doesn't cost you anything but it's going above and beyond recently one of our brides her she ordered pictures, her mom order pictures, but she ended up getting two orders of her mom pictures instead of hers into months. And so for whatever reason, we didn't catch it, but she e mailed me a verified that she was right and so it just like I'll go and ship these back to us and you know what? Just keep the second orders I give to know our mistake just keep that and that's our way of saying, we're sorry, it's, just like, oh, my god, you don't have to do that. Thank you so much. And so I just took a bad situation and made it a great situation by doing something that costs me maybe. Well, it's gonna cost me nothing because the prince already done, I'm not getting that money back, so trite matter what, you're not getting back. So what about serving them in the future, making sure they're satisfied? How do we go about that? I know in our business, after the event we're constantly looking for testimonials, we're asking them questions if they enjoy their event, so don't let the final sail when they walk out that door, be the last time you're in touch with him. You've got to keep nurturing that relationship on making sure they were satisfied, because if they're not satisfied, they're not going to refer new clients, and you always want to make sure, because sometimes it could just be a misunderstanding, and if you don't ask, you'll never know when you'll never be able to make it right. Well, and uh, whenever clients pick up their order, our calendar ring system is set up in a way to where I have an automatic email that goes out to them the day after they pick up. An order and ask them if they're satisfied with the product I do love everything hopefully had a great experience because it has no if you have any questions or concerns about your product we hope you love it blah blah and so they'll right back to that saying no, I love everything thank you for asking or actually this one has a little market it can I get it re ordered but I'm the one that initiated that conversation making sure that they were satisfied and happy yeah and just so you guys know because we usually get asked this question next what system do we use to keep track of everything our customer system when your studio cloud so check out studio cloud dot com we have looked at almost every system out there there's a there's a ton of them and we couldn't find one that worked for business and I will say even with studio cloud there's no silver bullet but that system gets us the closest toe the way we run our business and the one number one feature we love are these automated e mails so you can actually set up template emails not won a lot of systems say they have automatic emails but what ends up happening is they only have one email that can go out goes out the same meal to everybody I can differentiate the calendar type so engagement session family session previous session and I can have a custom email go out for each different type of session at any time I want so our customers get an automatic email reminder three days before a session three days before but if it's a wedding client they get one kind of reminder right if it's any get a different a different automatic emails exactly so check him out that's all I can tell you uh way love using them and we've been using in our business for years uh once you get the money are you different the same or better than what they expected or what they paid for so something you don't want to do is, um is over promise and not deliver, so if these clients they're spending a lot of money with you make sure they're getting their money's worth if you're promising something, fulfill that promise and go above so if you're promising, you know to be level a and you give them level b imagine the testimony that they're going to give because of that extra service that they feel like they got from you and so you don't make them regret or feeling easy now you work harder to impress them so just like I was saying take it to that next level what can you do to make their experience the best? Are you calling them about their engagement session to make sure they don't have any questions to make sure they've picked outfits are you sending them ideas locations prepping them for the shoot what can you do to make their experience the best time once you have the money turnaround time the turnaround time for editing album design meetings and product this is part of that accessibility we sent an email what to expect on turnaround time so right from the get we're already setting them even though they haven't ordered their album yet we're sending them an email letting them know here's what you can expect you're going to see your image is two weeks after your event you're gonna see your albums on do we promised four weeks or forty six four to six weeks to see your aunt was given in two to three right and then how long before they actually receive their album six weeks right? So we tell them once you've selected all your images expect four to six weeks for album delivery we have to do that because how many clients come in november first and say here's all my album images I want to see my album by christmas can we have it by christmas that used to happen was all the time more like wait a minute you're not even to see your design for four to six weeks and then from there it's another four to six weeks but if that's the first time they're hearing about it they're going to be frustrated so we have a document or what to expect document that outlines all this same for meetings in product so it's very, very important that you're moving forward and keeping just keeping the momentum and communication channels open with your client but turnaround time with editing so if you do a session, don't take a month, two months, three months for their pictures to be ready for them to view that's this day and age and tomorrow we're gonna talk about outsourcing, but this day and age for you to be making clients wait damn near two months or longer to see their images is a huge miss there's no reason for it anymore. All right, so the overall experience beginning to end keep it consistent. So this is along with branding it's along the same lines. So if you're if you're advertising a certain level of experience, make sure that that's what you're delivering through the end so something we do for a black label clients is when they book with us, they get a bottle of wine. Well, that sort of treatment doesn't stop whenever the wedding is over, so we try and continue to give them gifts special treatment even after the wedding, so that experience continues because once it's over that's the last taste in their mouth that's what they're going to remember and that's what they're going to talk about and so you've gotta make sure that your overall experience that's the one thing I would say that differentiates us from the rest of the pack it's the experience you have with our studio and that experience starts from the initial phone call all the way down the final delivery and I will get once again just sharing dirty laundry we were doing a great job we looked at our business last year we're doing a great job booking business we're doing great job advertising we're doing a great job getting great images and we were dropping the ball on the one yard line constantly dropping the ball on that one yard line was after they ordered everything after their wedding we were taking forever to get the final product in their hands because it was just this medley of internal errors inside the company and so once we had to work out all those inefficiencies that was something we were committed to is you don't have this great experience and then the last taste in their mouth is this bad experience ruins everything that you worked so hard to do in the beginning exactly so you have to ask yourself what kind of experience do you want them to have do you want them to have a fun happy go lucky easy free flowing time or you want it to be luxurious do you want them to feel spoiled so that's where we keep talking about modelling after someone that inspires you are brandon inspires you like ours this loop of time whenever we shopped there, we pay attention to the entire experience, the treatment we get everything from beginning to end, and we try and take the positive experience and implemented in our business so that our clients get that feeling from us exactly never forget what that feels like on your own. And then, of course, what? What experiences do you want to you to get to that experience? You've got to be able to ask yourself, honestly, what could you have done better and that's how we got to that point where we realized we were dropping the ball on the one yard line and I, like I said, not as a business owners were never going to be perfect that's just the nature of business, anybody out there who is, you know, pretending to be perfect is in la la land as business owners, all businesses, no matter who we're talking about, make mistakes. But can you can you make up for those mistakes? That's, how you're gonna get get better got to be honest with yourself and ask for your client's feedback what was your experience like? Ask what you can improve on what what we went over the top with, so get that feedback from him and take that feedback and use it you might find that something you think you're doing that's absolutely amazing, the client's it doesn't impact, but all they could paralyze. So why keep doing it right? It's? Not working. You want to make sure you're doing things that matter to the client? Actually, something we were doing at one point this is last year, the year before is we were hand delivering prince toe all our black label clients, and it was causing it was the disaster internally we had great idea was great idea sounded amazing our clients could care less. It was not something that we're in a coordinated schedule and driving all over the place. Some cases were driving over an hour to deliver hand deliver print, and they just didn't care about it, and it was causing the amount of work for taylor to get on the phone. Or what time will you be there? You're only gonna be there from four to four thirty now they're late now we're late because we got stuck in traffic, so it was a great idea, a great concept, but it fell flat on its face, so now we offer free shipping. Now we just offer free shipping exactly, so you got you can't be afraid to try new ideas ultimately, you get what you pay for. So did you provide products and services that validate your price? You've got when we're talking about customer service, you have got to take a hard look at the product you're offering and are you offering something that's of superior quality toe what your competitors are? If you want to charge more, you've gotta offer better products, better services, and we've already covered that you can offer on this you can only charge so much for a cd compared to other tarver's we've talked about that experience ultimately gonna get what you pay for. So if somebody who pays five dollars for a wedding, a cd, I don't know what experience they're looking a half but it's not gonna be a good one. This is what you get, what you pay for if they're paying ten thousand dollars for you for their event, you better make sure that experience that they're getting exactly high end unique products good customer service that is paramount if you want to grow your business and stand out from the crowd. And unfortunately, I think photography studios in general make it easy for us to stand out from the crowd because providing good service sounds easy, but it's not right it's a lot of work, and when you're a one man show one woman show and you've got to do everything, return phone calls, returned, emails at it pictures rock pictures deliver pictures, right? What's your scale ability plan there you can't do it all yourself, but I think if you really focus on this customer service and you try and go over the top into it, right, you'll find a sense of pride in your studio in your business that you haven't felt before because you're confident that your offering something that no one else offers and that confidence is going to spill into your shooting into your meetings into your entire business. Exactly. And you covered a little bit about this don't over promise and under deliver right? We've gotta under promise over deliver that's the best way, trying to hit those deadlines and expectations and listen, we all go through this where we promised our client something and we missed deadlines, nobody likes it, clients are unhappy, but what you've got to do is start figuring this stuff out, and the one thing that has helped us is that documentation what to expect once we put that document together for our clients and outlines everything. If you ordered an album, here's, what you can expect your prints will be in in two weeks, but your album will not be in in two weeks, and it outlines every step of the way what you can expect from us that has helped us. Ten fold this year because that was a big part of the contention with clients were getting frustrated that things weren't ready when they thought they should be, and even though we didn't tell him they would be ready, then it was just miscommunication. So we fixed all that, uh, can off. You've talked a little bit about this free shipping for black labels, free destination locations, let's talk a little bit about that because the rest of stuff we've covered what's a free destination location. So sal and I, we travel a lot, and what we noticed is that our clients, they were paying attention to a travel schedule they're like, well, can we meet you there in do a session in there? That's when the light bulb went off like destination session it's, free for everybody, so we don't charge extra for clients when they meet us in another city to do engagement pictures, senior pictures, whatever pictures, and this is something that no other photographer and areas doing so. The level of customer service of customization and just offerings that we have compared to other photographers is huge. Wait, we have three weddings this year that are not in st louis the wedding's in st louis, but they live in other parts of the country, and they booked us specifically one of the tipping points for him was the fact that we would go to austin to do their engagement pictures, that we would go to chicago to do their engagement pictures and not charge them anything extra it all works out in the wash, I promise you they're going to buy pictures and not come in and not by pictures. So you've gotta understand and value your sales process in orderto have faith and confidence that that will work. And then finally, the last thing you want to consider is, would they come back to your studio? So when you're looking at customer service holistically, right? Let's not forget what we're talking about here. Are you surveying your clients? How many would come back? So after you collect all that money from him, are they coming back to you for baby pictures? Are they coming back to you for family pictures? Why are they not referring you? Why are they not coming back? Something went wrong. You didn't give him a reason to refer you and you've got to be objective here. This is very, very important for you to be objective and ask yourself those tough questions and that's where you've gotta build your trusted circle here, so talk about this asking the question, I know you asked our clients this, but driving home, how are you doing this? Yeah, I asked them how is your experience if you're starting on you're trying to get a feel of where your brains out and how your customer service is hopping a phone call and tell him look, I'm trying to get a feel for how your experience was we want to improve everything and just take it you know to the next level just tell your brides are trying to improve the experience and ask for their honest feedback what were you happy with what weren't you happy with what was okay what do you think we could have done to make it a better experience? Ask the questions you really don't want to hear the answers to but then use those answers to advantage you've got to be objective you got going on here the fetal take it personal yeah exactly on then finally you know it's figuring out what your strength and weaknesses are and so this is something I think as a team we're very good at and like I told you it's myself taylor lauren eliza and we're constantly stepping away and going okay what are we doing right once or twice a year will go through this exercise will do a swat analysis we'll talk about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats will go through pros cons what we want for the future what what we're okay letting go and we'll do this and I think that helps us stay uh grounded, and because it's, the four of us doing it, we know we're getting on his feedback, right? So it's, really easy for you to be like we were doing everything right. We're not doing everything, anything wrong. Our clients are the bad clients who complained there always wrong, because we're always right. That's, very easy to fall into that rock, because it's, hard to look inward, but what we do is, like taylor saudis. As a team, we're sitting there and that's, how we're figuring out objectively what we're doing right, what we're doing wrong.