How to Organize Your Client Experience
Designing your client experience if you lack intention and organization here, you're going to deliver an inconsistent client experience from clients to client, so maybe one person will have a really great experience, and then they'll refried to their best friend and they'll come to you and they won't have a great experience, and then suddenly they're going to their best friend being like, hey, I didn't really feel the same job with them and kind of taint that relationship. The other one is that you'll consistently deliver a poor experience to every client, which is equally that and that doesn't mean that the client realizes that it's a poor experience, but it might not be aligned with the values that you want to be communicating and that you want your brand to represent. So where do we start? I actually redesigned this on monday because I had like this, ah ha moment um, and I'm actually going to say you start designing your client experience by the three experience that will bring you ...
joy to deliver. We all think that you need to be designing what you think your clients want or what you see other photographers doing because it's working, but I tried that for five years, and it didn't really bring me joy, and I think that lack of sparkle in my eye and that lack of excitement translated into my business as well, so design an experience that brings you joy to deliver. For me, that doesn't mean burning everything onto well, not a disc anymore that kind of day tell my businesses, but using a system to deliver them digitally. For me, that means designing artwork for them that I get to deliver and sometimes install for them and see that joy on their faces. It means designing an album for my family porch it's, who didn't necessarily come to me thinking that they want an album, but when they get it it's just so special because it has documented a time in their life, and once you've designed an experience that you're really excited to deliver, you need to start to understand what type of a person is attracted to the experience you've designed, because and that will continue to be refined as you bring clients in, and then you realize, ok, I thought that this was a characteristic that my client would have, but I am starting to realize it isn't. I think a lot of people think for hire and photography, you need someone who has a lot of money, but the actual secret is to get people who value photography because somebody could have a lot of money, but they have it because they don't spend it. Right there intentional about how they spend it so you need to find the people who want to invest in their photography so I'm going to share to client experiences that I have within my company I'm not going to get into weddings because it's such a long experience it's the first one is family portrait it's my family's air with me for three to five months which might sound super long for you guys but um it's because of the type of experience I want to deliver the actual work time that I invest in each family is about one full work week so five days and my goal there is to build a solid relationship like to be part of the family and to know them and to just really enjoy um investing in to their family the second one is head shots it looks totally different from beginning to end its twenty four to thirty six hours it's not two to three months they're not booking me out two to three months three actual work time is one and a half to two hours and my priority there is an efficient process with a fast turnaround so I'm going to be marketing to those two clients very differently and they're going to experience something totally differently but they're all going to experience my gratitude they're all going to experience those core values that I've decided to set up for my company regardless of what your experience is that you want to deliver, this is a big key you never ever, ever leave your client wondering what's next it allows space for doubt and frustration and a very, very simple example of this in the summertime we had to go to northern michigan for a funeral and the data on our phones wasn't working, so I took some time out of the day we're doing like family stuff it's a funeral you don't want to be dealing with this, but we needed to be able to communicate with everybody, so I took some time out of the day to call my provider and within about like thirty seconds of being on hold, I was already thinking, oh my gosh, this is so annoying I'm not going to have to wait on hold for half an hour is going to be forty five minutes like I don't have time for this and I was already getting worked up and kind of anxious and really frustrated with them as it happened I was only on hold for less than five minutes but my thoughts already went there because I didn't know what to expect and also they had an automated recording that I know plays all day every day and it says hi, thanks so much for calling we have a higher than expected wait call try calling later in the day and you should get through faster, but you can call it like eleven pm and you'll still hear that so it's just really annoying um as it happened, they weren't able to solve anything and I had to call apple immediately. Apple told me your wait time is less than five minutes, so they didn't even give me the opportunity to get annoyed with the fact that I was on hold. I was like awesome that's great and it's the exact same experience on hold for less than five minutes, but two totally different experiences for me and they weren't able to fix it either, but I enjoyed my experience on apple's phone more than the other company, so this is my client experience for family porch it's they book out two to three months ahead. My styling consulate is one month ahead, so I actually go to their house and help them put their wardrobes together. Um, and we always do one formal in one more casual, and then we have the portrait sitting we have prepped for ordering session, which is just my end. They don't experienced any of that in home portrait reveal ordering session and that send seven to ten days after their shoot and product delivery four to eight weeks after so if they're booking me three months ahead and they order an album or something it's going to be a much longer experience than your average family portrait session um, ison thank you notes via post again to communicate my gratitude value I and who doesn't love getting mail? That isn't a bill um, and they're not expecting it. So it's fun and, um, my client's trust my expertise and expect my guidance because they're paying me more and they're investing their time in this, and they trust me as the expert the's air people who are ceos or lawyers or vps of insurance companies like people who make enough decisions at work every day that they don't need to be thinking about what they're going to wear their family portrait. So I have that in mind as my target client, and I'm going to guide them and every step along the way, from the wardrobe to the time of day of their session in order to ensure that they have enough time for hair and makeup and to go to the spot the girls in the morning to get their nails done. Um, and then I also recommend my sessions are usually a bit closer to the evening around sunset, and then I say, hey, why don't you go out for dinner? You're all really beautifully dressed, go for dinner, your favorite dessert and just like, enjoy that whole day as a family and create an experience for them and they also want my professional recommendations for hair and makeup and other professionals that they might need. Okay, so things that my clients expect for me, they expect an extreme level of professionalism, these are professionals in the world, and they expect the same from the people that they're working with, so that means that all of my e mails or pre written and they all have a formal yet friendly tone to them. I've worked with the professional within this past year who just, like, got a little too friendly for me and, like, was acting like my b f f and I was just like, this isn't really driving with me, but so I like to keep my formal it's formally at friendly and, um, yeah, timeless response or timely responses. So that's, why I'm checking my email three times a day? Some people like to do it all in one check in the morning, I do it three times a day so that I can respond quickly, and then they're never left wondering like, oh, I wonder when you're gonna get back to me, I'm a strong handshake in strong business manner. Now that doesn't mean that, like everyone, I shake hands with it's going to be like the same strength, the same like harness, but I if I'm shaking like a nine year old grandmothers hand it's going to be different than like a business person? Tan, right? So just being aware of who's hand, I'm shaking, which sounds crazy, but I worked at a summer camp for like, a gazillion years. We are always had a half hour session just on handshakes because they wanted the whole camp to, like, be professional and communicate that, and I kind of touched on this there's a really fine line between professional friendliness and casual friendliness, so I always keep my professional if your brand you're branded totally different than me, then it might be totally in your brand to swear in e mails or like at shoots or whatever, like, if you have a different clientele, that me or you just need to know who you are and communicate that through every single aspect, um, of your business, I saw somebody asking about their instagram description, and she dropped the f bomb in and she's like, is this too harsh? But it fit her brand, so it works for her and efficiency and booking payments and processing, and I'm going to be touching on that a little bit later a seventeen hats, but they love like my clients love this feature that I deliver because we're creatives and, like basically every photographer in the world, um I don't know like we just seemed to be disorganized in business. So you send a contract, and then they have to print out. They have to sign it and then, like, skin it back to you, or mail it back and it's this big process. And then you have to figure out the payments. And seventeen times has totally streams. Line that for me. And I love it.