Stop! Don’t run away from the word “workflow”. Especially a photography client workflow. Roll with me here. Organization is so incredibly important to balancing business and life. Having a set client workflow will aid in efficiency, customer service, and profitability. You should be working, not your clients. You should be on top of things, not them. But you can do it smart and efficient with these steps.
There is no set formula to the perfect workflow as we all have different brands, personalities, and markets. However, there are a few key must-have steps that every business owner (not just photographers) should implement. Get a system, get organized, get on it!
1. Reminder Emails
As soon as you book a session set a reminder on your calendar or in your newsletter client to send a reminder to your client. This works to show that you are on the ball for customer service plus help prevent any “I forgot”s and no-shows that waste time and money for you. This is also an optimal time to re-link your investment information to ward off any potential “I didn’t know X wasn’t included” or “I didn’t realize it would be X amount of money.” You, as the photographer, can then refer them to your initial inquiry response + reminder email for a double dose of help if a problem should arise.
Don’t forget you can also set reminder emails to auto send reminders of product ordering session or gallery expiration.
2. Under-promise Over-deliver
Give a set time frame for how long you’re going to deliver galleries and/or products. Always add some time to what you typically would provide.
Example: Under-promise = 2-3 weeks Over-deliver = 3-4 days
Also, as many of you are running businesses with families, it is crucial to give yourself enough of a lead time for your clients in case life happens. Little Tommy ends up in the ER, Sally brings home the stomach bug. You get the idea!
3. Follow Up
One of the most important aspects of business is understanding if your product and marketing is working. Client orders and experience are definitely no exception for photographers. Following up requires so much more than a passive asking of how the products turned out. I suggest following up a few days after product delivery to see how the products are working out (plus you can plug in a question about further purchases while it is fresh in their mind!) and also a couple months later. The trick to customer service is that the two or three month follow up is to just simply ask how they are. Nothing about products. Nothing about photography. Just simply asking how Little Tommy is doing in soccer or how Sally is enjoying high school.
And of course, take all feedback (good or bad) into consideration when evaluating your workflow and experiences for future clients.
4. Say Thank You
Just like with the aforementioned two/three month follow up, say thank you. A thank you email the day after the session expressing your excitement and appreciation. A hand-written thank you card in their order delivery. An end-of-the-year thank you – whether by client gift, email, or greeting card.
5. Be You
Throw away anyone else’s workflow. Anyone else’s approach. If it isn’t genuine. If it isn’t you, your clients will see that. They also will mistake it for lack of confidence or professionalism that will hinder word-of-mouth referrals or repeat clients. Just be you.