How to Organize Your Client Experience
Designing your client experience if you lack intention organization here you're going to deliver an inconsistent client experience from client to client so maybe one person will have a really great experience and then they'll refer you 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 jive 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 bad 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 and I'm actually going to say you start designing your client experience by the theater experience that will bring you joy to delive...
r 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 is well, so design an experience that brings you joy to deliver for me that doesn't mean, burning everything onto well, not a disk anymore, that kind of data all 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 portrait who didn't necessarily come to me thinking that they wanted 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 of their 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 the first one is family portrait it's my family's heir with me for three to five months which might sound super long for you guys but 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 workweek 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. Thie 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 experiences 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 and 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 gonna 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 you'll still hear that so it's, just really annoying. As it happened, they were unable 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 portrait. It's. They book out two to three months ahead. Um, 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 experience 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 gonna be a much longer experience than your average family portrait session. I send thank you notes via post again to communicate my gratitude value I and who doesn't love getting mail that isn't bill um and they're not expecting it so it's fun and um my client's trust my expertise and they expect my guidance because they're paying me more and they're investing their time in this and they trust me as the expert these air people who are ceos or lawyers or vps of insurance companies like people who um 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 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 from 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 oh, this isn't really driving with me but so I like to keep my formal it's formal yet friendly and yeah timeless response or timely responses so that's why I'm checking my e mail three times a day some people like to do it all in one chunk in the morning um 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 she she's gonna get back to me I'm a strong handshake and strong business manner now that doesn't mean that like everyone I shake hands with its going to be like the same strength the same like hardness but I if I'm shaking like a nine year old grandmother's hand it's going to be different than like a business person's hand right so just being aware of whose hand I'm shaking which sounds crazy but I worked at a summer camp for like a kazillion 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 that mean then it might be totally in your brand to swear and emails or like at shoots or whatever like if you have a different clientele than me or you just need to know who you are and communicate that through every single aspect 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 client's 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 seem to be distorted eyes didn't business so you send a contract and then they have to print out they have to sign it and then like, scan 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 hats has totally streamlined that for me and I love it