We're Erica + Jon, professional photographers, Mr + Mrs and Mom + Dad. We like to share insights into our industry, behind the scenes and stories about our life and chips + salsa obsession.
We firmly believe that the most successful businesses and brands are successful in the long run not just because of a great product or service, but because they know how to serve their clients well. The only exceptions we can think of are cable and internet companies who are successful because of their monopoly – we all know it’s not because of great customer care! 😉 But in all seriousness, the most successful companies – the brands that people are eager to part with their hard-earned dollar bills with – know what serving your client looks like. They are masters of it.
Let’s think about Apple for a moment.
Chances are, that simple brand name put a picture in your mind. Likely, it was a positive one.
A few years ago, we bought Erica an Apple Watch. It was the latest and greatest at the time, a Series 2! We drove downtown to the Apple Store, browsed the selection with the help of an incredible salesperson, and tried on different combinations until we settled on ‘the one!’ In the middle of a busy store with an endless stream of shoppers, we felt like we were the only ones in the room.
The best part? It didn’t stop there. Our salesperson worked with us after the purchase to set up the watch, give Erica a tutorial on how to use it, and made sure we were completely satisfied before we left.
A few days later, a friend of ours purchased the same exact watch for his wife. It was an open box special at Best Buy and cost him $200 less then we paid. $200 less for the same exact watch! As Jon explained his frustration spending more for the same product, our friend made a statement that stopped us and gave us pause: “But you got the Apple experience,” he said, “That’s well worth the extra investment.”
Wow. He was so right. The experience had been fantastic.
But the statement also proved how great Apple is at making each customer feel uniquely important and worthy of their time and energy – so much so that our friend thought it was worth the extra $200!
As business owners ourselves, we’ve always sought to create a stellar experience for our own clients. Sometimes that becomes difficult as an entrepreneur wearing so many hats to run your own show. But the busiest and most challenging times to give great customer service can also be some of the most critical (and lucrative) times to provide it.
We recently had a client contact us about product photography for a brand that was launching. They had a few initial product accessories in that needed to be photographed on white for e-commerce applications. Not only did we quote the project, but we spent time talking about the brand with the potential client. We discussed launch strategies, ideas for an imagery strategy to support it, and really got to know the client in the process. We invested A LOT of time in this client and with the schedule we were keeping at the time it seemed like time we didn’t have.
In the end, they went another direction for the photos.
We lost, right?
I mean, the time and energy investment alone was just silly and irresponsible when we had so many other things going on, right?
Providing a great experience for clients – both current and prospective – will never equal a loss.
In the short game, it may not result in a win, but we’re not playing for the short game. We’ve got long term, big-picture perspective.
Case in point: months later that same client returned out of nowhere with a new inquiry. The main product had shipped and they were ready to plan a photo shoot. The scope and scale were much larger than the initial inquiry that we had lost out on and we won the job!
Why? Because great customer service is always attractive.
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up with a short term, micro perspective. To feel like you need to move quickly onto the next thing and don’t have time to invest your energy in something that isn’t guaranteed. But friend, if we can encourage you with one thing today, make sure every client interaction you have is a Platinum-level, 5-star rated, white-glove experience and you absolutely won’t regret your investment. You may not win over every client, but you’ll lay a groundwork of incredible customer service that will pay dividends in the long run.