Listening to Your Customers
"Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face.
You'd be amazed how many companies don't listen to their customers."
Lately I'm surprised at some of the discussions in a few of the forums where photographers are complaining about their customers. My first surprise comes at the way they publicly shred their clients. You might be in a closed group on Facebook, for example, but do you know who else is in the "room" with you? Second is the issue of some pretty irrational thoughts on how to resolve some of the issues. Fortunately this is where a great forum or network can really help you see things more clearly.
I can't deny for a second that every now and then you get one you just can't please, but it's so important to build relationships even over challenging issues. If you don't think that's possible read the post of Bruce Berg's and how he saved a client...after forgetting their wedding!
Today one angry client has the ability to reach more people than some of the magazines did just ten years ago. The customer is not always right, but the customer is always your customer. That means you've got a responsibility to listen, empathize and resolve their issues. It's not a one way street and compromise is always a potential solution, but you need to keep things in perspective, build your business on quality and not just in your images. This is about building relationships with each client.
Photo Credit: © Carlo Toffolo - Fotolia.com
3/19/2014 01:30:16 am
I feel like consumers have been trained these days if you want something for free then complain about anything and everything. You can usually pick those customers out and I try to stay away from booking them, But over the last couple years I feel this problem has gotten worse, I know another photographer that had a problem with a customer not being happy for really novel reasons, after telling the customer he would credit them the last $250 they owed the customer looked at him and said "and what else". I think there is a fine line between customer service and being bullied by a customer that will never be happy no matter what you do. I think if you have 100 5 star reviews and for some reason you get 1 - 1 star review in there I think reasonable people can see where the problem lies. I say don't be afraid to defend yourself and your service and not be bullied!
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