There is no bigger fail as a small-business owner than not meeting client expectations. Overcoming the sting of an upset client is tough, so you want to do everything in your power to ensure that it doesn’t happen.
Many times, disappointed clients are the direct result of failing to manage their expectations from the beginning. The good news is that lack of communication is so easy to fix and these situations can be easily avoidable. Here’s how:
Tell them what’s up. When a client first reaches out to you about a shoot, get started on the right foot by telling them everything they need to know to make the easy decision to choose you. Make sure they’re seen your current work and they know what to expect. Walk them through what the experience will look like—tell them about the length of the session, location options, outfit changes, etc. Also, make sure that your clients have a clear understanding about their investment and what is included in their cost. Do they get digitials? How big is their album? How many prints are included. Answering all of their questions up front is a sure fire way to avoid fielding a million questions after the shoot!
Be efficient and clear. Once your client has booked with you, make sure that they know what will happen next. It’s a great time to point out any special clauses in your contracts, such as payment schedules and deliverables. One of the biggest issues that photographers run into is an editing backlog (especially during busy season). If your client spells out that your turn-around time is 2-3 weeks, make sure that they understand that. As always, under promising and over delivering is your best bet.
Pro-tip: ALWAYS use a contract and ask for a retainer, no matter the type of shoot. Not only does it protect you, but it also protects your clients. Contracts are also a great way to reinforce client expectations. Need a great contract? Our friends at the TheLawTog will get you all set up and ready to go!
Help your clients prepare. While it’s not always possible to have a face-to-face meeting with every client before your session, there are some great ways to help everyone get prepared. Creating a sending a “How To Prepare For Your Session” guide as part of your workflow will help answer many common questions. An automated questionnaire is another great way to get to know your clients and find out what is important to them. It’s a great way to find out some of their favorite locations, jokes that make their kids laugh or the best way to help dad overcome any of her “I hate having my photos taken” insecurities.
Details, details, details. Once your session is over, it’s a great time to send out an email reminding your clients about what will happen next. You can remind them of turn-around times, get all of the details for the prints and albums and understand any last details about invoicing. Outlining all of these details is the best way to ensure that your clients know exactly what to expect… and you can avoid any unexpected surprises.
It’s always a good exercise to put yourself in your client’s shoes. Spend some time walking through your entire process and make notes of areas where you could be more clear to avoid problems down the road.
If you’re ready to automate your workflows to include booking, invoicing, contracting, questionnaires and more, start your FREE 30-DAY IRIS WORKS TRIAL NOW. We’ll have you quickly on your way to a happier and more successful business.