There are usually a couple of reasons why a client initiates working with a photographer for the first time. It’s often our style of shooting, our approach, or our expertise that distinguishes us from our competitors in the mind of a client. But it’s usually a different set of values that builds a client’s loyalty and keeps them coming back time and again.
Those values are often based on how we serve the relationship as expressed through our service and follow-up. As I have assessed my business through the years, I’ve found this to be an area that I consistently need to improve on.
Although I have always been particularly good at fast turn around on the photos I’ve shot on an assignment, I’ve been far less stellar with my follow-up on important, but in my mind, less urgent details. For instance, when a client calls to get information about location or model details for an upcoming project, I have frequently resisted calling back until I have every detail lined up. My client simply wants to know, justifiably, that I am working on those details and progress is being made. A one-minute call would have eased the tension.
By waiting an extra day, I may have the appropriate information for the client, but I have increased the “butt-pucker factor” for the client by several points. The quality of my work has not diminished, but the overall satisfaction with my contribution has. My fault.
It’s easy to play the blame game and say something disparaging like, “The client needs to relax and not be so anal about the project. I’ve got it covered.” But I believe it’s our responsibility to gauge a client’s needs from the start and work to meet those needs if we want to keep that client.
In the beginning, a client may be drawn to us for our particular expertise, but they stay with us when they believe we care about meeting their needs and wants.