Are Your Policies Focused in the Wrong Direction?

by | Jan 15, 2015 | Strictly Business Blog

Policies should make it easy to do business with you. I believe most business owners approach polices wrong. They view their policies as a way to protect themselves and punish people looking to do them harm.

After years of cancelled appointments, rights grabs and requests for free photography, I don’t blame photographers for having a lengthy policy list. Unfortunately, a long list of punishing policies makes it harder to do business with you. You are punishing all of your new clients for the sins of a few old clients. This is no way to build new lasting relationships.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t have polices. You should, it’s good business. Rather than a long list of things you will not do, accept, or tolerate; create a shorter list of polices that focus on solutions to common problems. Make your goal to strengthen customer relations.

When developing policies, start with you. What do you need to do first to improve your customer service and client experience?  I have a policy that everything I do for a client is turned around within 72 hours. If I can’t complete the task, I must let them know twenty-four hours ahead of time.

Many photographers who deal with the public become frustrated with cancellations. A good policy to implement is calling the client the day before to confirm your appointment. Many photographers will not do this to avoid the chance the client will cancel. I’d rather have an opportunity the day before to reschedule. The option to fill an open space on my calendar is better than wasting valuable time getting mad at a valuable client.

Remember, no policy is foolproof. You can’t fix everything with more policies and punishment. Do your best and let it go.

Do you have a contract and share updated policies with your clients? If you don’t, don’t get mad when someone uses your service, time or photography inappropriately.

Look for new policies to reward people for doing the right thing rather than punishing them for doing you wrong. One method earns loyal clients and other unanswered phone calls and emails.

What positive solution policies do you implement for your business?