As a photographer, taking exquisite images for your clients is a must. But it’s an exceptional experience that will bring them back for more.
We all know it’s more efficient and less expensive to tempt an existing client to book again than it is to find a new one.
So how you can make that second, third or fourth shoot an irresistible option? And how can you inspire the levels of lucrative loyalty your business thrives on?
Here we share eight ways that photographers can give a truly memorable client experience. One that maximises the chances of those all-important repeat bookings.
Understand the client journey
From their initial enquiry to the final product delivery, there are oodles of opportunities to impress your clients.
While they’ll be very familiar to you, a first-time client in particular will need to know what happens and when. They’ll appreciate you sharing details about contract-signing, paying any deposit, preparing for the shoot, what to wear on the day, selecting products and settling the invoice.
Sharing a timeline with them once they’ve agreed to work with you will give them a clear overview of what to expect. They’ll then see the process as seamless, hassle-free and straightforward.
And you’ll have taken your first step towards five-star feedback.
Communicate with warmth and clarity
With that customer journey timeline in mind, it’s time to weave in client-dazzling communication.
Communicating clearly reaps endless rewards. Use it wisely and warmly to:
• Set expectations at every stage of the process to avoid unwelcome misunderstandings
• Reassure clients about your professionalism
• Banish ambiguity
• Clarify all arrangements
• Build rapport, then trust, then loyalty
• Meet and exceed clients’ etiquette expectations
• Establish transparency to highlight this is an honest, two-way relationship
• Spark positive feedback to add to your testimonial bank
• Encourage prompt payment
• Inspire repeat bookings
• Increase the likelihood of word-of-mouth referrals
Discover more about how personalised email templates can streamline communication channels for you thanks to the magic of specialist software.
Personalise the process
And on the topic of personalisation, this is a no-brainer. Consumers expect to be treated as an individual every step of the way.
And you can only do that effectively if you get to know them a little. Chat whenever the opportunity arises, whether that’s in-person, over the phone or by email.
An initial questionnaire can also work wonders to create rapport, gathering not just the essentials about their address and contact details, but more insight into their passions and preferences.
For example, asking them how comfortable they feel in front of a lens could alter your approach so you share tips about how to relax while being photographed.
Or, if you’re arranging a newborn shoot, asking them what their ideal mid-morning snack is means you can effortlessly provide those pastries or fruit platters.
These personal touches will make them feel valued before they’ve even set foot into your studio. They’ll feel reassured they’re enjoying a unique experience, carefully curated just for them.
Go the extra mile
Going beyond the basics is the perfect way to exceed expectations and inspire loyalty.
You might want to embrace the ‘under-promise and over-deliver’ approach. Maybe you could offer a free extra half-hour of shooting at a wedding reception or give them a surprise album upgrade.
When you factor these ‘unexpected’ bonuses into your initial quote, they’ll never suspect they’re not simply a generous, spontaneous gesture.
If you’re not comfortable with that, a less sneaky idea is to add personalised touches like putting up a welcome sign outside your studio, with their child’s name on for example. You could also send a bespoke thank-you note and/or gift, wishing them a happy honeymoon or life together.
Going back to getting to know your clients, chatting during the shoot can unearth little gems which create a natural follow-up, e.g. an upcoming holiday or first day at school. They’ll welcome how you’ve remembered these key moments and care about their lives.
Making the effort here will ramp up satisfaction levels and increase the chances of them spreading the word about your services.
Make it easy and fun
While clicking your camera is your daily bread and butter, there’ll be some clients who are either uncomfortable with or unaccustomed to being snapped.
Making the prep easy and the shoot fun can help overcome any nerves and nurture relaxed relationships.
While your own energy and approach will play a big part in this, you can also come up with tailormade techniques to assuage any worries.
Parents of newborns for instance will likely be concerned about naps and feeds. Reassure them that you work around baby’s schedule, not yours. Perhaps make a ‘how to prepare for the day’ video – they might not have the attention span to read a long piece in the early days!
Bring snacks and other emergency supplies to deal with any eventuality. Think sun cream, wipes, spare basic clothes, safety pins, umbrellas etc.
Deliver high-quality products
A crucial part of an exceptional experience is of course the end result of your photographic endeavours. Images captured, you now need to ensure they shine as bright as possible to bring a smile to clients’ faces.
Invest in the best-quality equipment you can, keep up-to-date with advances in editing techniques and regularly check your print supplier is meeting your standards.
If your service includes a viewing session, keep the personal approach going strong to make them feel relaxed and appreciated. Supply hot drinks and nibbles, make sure your seating is comfortable and give them friendly advice about how to select their final images.
If you have many different product options, simplify the ordering process by making expert recommendations and suggestions for different packages to suit their budget.
Follow up after each session
The shoot is complete, the order is placed and you’re busy finessing their chosen images.
While they’re still actively involved in the process, ask them for feedback. Whether this takes the form of a survey, an online review or a written testimonial for your website, gather their thoughts now while their memory of the session – and the exceptional experience they’ve enjoyed – is fresh.
You can then share their wonderful comments on your social channels, website and prospective client communication. And, if necessary, use them to fine-tune your future offering.
Tap into technology and tools
Managing multiple client relationships can be significantly simplified with the right tech and tools.
They’ll help you be organised, responsive and consistent, freeing up time to focus on the human touches that will elevate their experience.
A dedicated photography CRM system can tick off numerous admin boxes and effortlessly streamline day-to-day processes. From automating communication milestones to tracking crucial dates, specialist software like Light Blue will supercharge how you interact with your clients.
You’ll know they’re getting the right info at the right time, all tailormade to make them feel valued, relaxed and more likely to recommend you.
Delivering an exceptional experience for clients takes organisation, care and a little original thinking.
Get it right and you’ll impress them so much they’ll soon be singing your praises and hopefully getting in touch to book again.
Discover more tips to inspire client loyalty on the Light Blue blog.