Giving clients a great experience doesn’t have to mean lavishing them with expensive gifts or spending oodles of money. But with some planning, time, and effort, you can craft a client experience workflow to create an overall customer experience that wows!
- What a relational client experience looks like and how it benefits your business.
- How to build a client journey map
- How to customize your brand touchpoints
- Where to download a FREE client experience checklist
Why Craft a Workflow?
A solid, consistent workflow helps solve several photographer-client problems. It helps develop lasting relationships, adds value to your session, helps sell prints and products and helps find and book more o the right clients who value you!
A clear and consistent workflow has the side benefit of saving you time and improves consistency!
Building Relational Client Experiences
A relational client experience leads to lasting client relationships. You move beyond a single transaction (session -> payment) and focuses on long-term goals.
A relational photography business offers a clear communication path from inquiry to delivery. You value face-to-face interactions and provide advice and guidance to your clients. You meet the short-term goal of a great session and collecting payment, but you also invest your time into cultivating long-term success. This is how you develop a loyal customer.
A transactional relationship, on the other hand, is a one-and-done exchange. Your client pays, you show up, shoot, and deliver files. There is little relationship building that happens. Yes, you get paid. But they aren’t often clients that become repeat customers. They don’t invest in your business long-term because you haven’t invested in them.
Create a Custom Client Journey Map
To move from transactional to relational experiences, you need a client journey map. This map is your customer experience strategy. It’s a plan that describes your client experience from start to finish. It includes all the things you do build have a positive customer experience.
Spend some thinking about your existing client journey. How does a client interact with you from inquiry and beyond? Are those interactions transactional or relational? Does that journey match your business values? Does it match the values of your ideal clients? Can it help create a self-repeating cycle that keeps clients coming back season after season?
Customize Brand Touchpoints for Maximum Loyalty
A touchpoint is any point of interaction you have with clients. Customizing those interactions helps ensure brand loyalty.
Possible touchpoints include:
- Website content
- Pre-shoot meetings
- Value-added guides and information
- Photography session
- Image delivery or sales session
- Client-focused social media posts or blogs
- Thank-you notes or gifts
- Post-shoot communication such as birthday or anniversary cards
Each of of these interactions is an opportunity to wow clients and build a relationship that lasts. How do you accomplish that? By infusing each touchpoint at each step in your client experience, with value.
Your client’s first touchpoint with you is often a static one – your website or Facebook business page. Examine those with a critical eye. Is it easy to find out where you are located and how to contact you? Do the images you show on your website represent your best work and current style?
Improve these touchpoints by:
- Develop a brand that reflects your ideal client’s values (and yours when they match up!)
- Ensure consistency throughout your brand presentation
- Having a clear and straight-forward method of contact
- Respond to inquiries promptly and professionally
- Establish yourself as an expert with solid information
- Explain the booking and shooting process step-by-step
It’s exciting to receive new bookings. You may not realize it, but your client is a little nervous too. They want to know they’ve made a good investment and feel comfortable in the relationship. Help ease their fears and develop trust.
Here are a few ideas:
- Use a contract. Always. ALWAYS.
- Send an e-mail and/or printed card to your clients confirming the booking information.
- Provide clear guidance on how and when payment will be required.
- Use digital invoices for convenience and eliminate those awkward “uhhh, are you going to pay me?” conversations after the session.
Don’t overlook opportunities between the time your client books and the session itself to add value to the client experience.
- Use questionnaires to clarify expectations and get to know your clients
- Establish yourself as an expert with welcome guides, style guides or other session-related information (If you need a little design help crafting these, check out the AH-mazing welcome packet from our friends at Design Aglow)
- Set the stage for your sales session by introducing your clients to prints, products and albums.
- Send 48 or 24-hour reminders
- Use What-To-Expect at the Session e-mails
Client Experience During the Session
This is your time to truly shine! Don’t be so worried about aperture and shutter speed that you fail to guide your clients through the session with kindness and knowledge. Turn a good customer experience into a great customer experience with these simple ideas!
- Set the stage for customer expectations. Explain how the session will proceed, including a time limit.
- Provide thoughtful posing guidance.
- Shower your client with praise.
- Give them printed or e-mailed “What Comes Next” instructions.
- Send a post-shoot thank you and a sneak peek of two or three images.
Check out this post for ideas on a great client experience in all situations!
Post-Session and Delivery
You have the images edited and are ready to share. Stand out from your competition with some of these ideas to improve customers satisfaction:
- Have customized video intros to your client’s gallery
- Send clear instructions on how to access, download, and order prints
- Guide your clients through their photo viewing experience with face-to-face viewing or video conferencing
- Create sample wall art or album preview pages for your clients (this works for digital and IPS delivery!)
- Provide advice on post-session product or service. Educate clients about paper samples, framing or ordering.
- Fulfill orders quickly
- Ask for customer feedback
- Provide hand-written thank-yous and/or a small gift
- Write thoughtful, personalized session blogs and social media posts
- Send birthday or anniversary cards, congratulations texts on personal accomplishments, etc.
- Share past session photos on social media to celebrate their “shoot-iversary.”
Want A Complete Client Experience Walk-Through?
Our friends at Shootproof have put together a comprehensive article on crafting a client experience.
If you check out the link above, at the bottom, you can a free client experience checklist! It will help you get started crafting your own, unique client journey map and be on your way to relational success!.