In a market that only seems to be growing, it may feel hard to stand out as a wedding photographer. From pricing to profit to gear to social media and design, there’s a lot to think about as a small business owner. While these are all extremely important details, there’s one thing that matters most–your client experience.
When one client has an incredible experience working with you, they can’t help but tell everyone they know about you. Just think about how many people gush about their newest Netflix shows. These recommendations can quickly transform your small business if you put in the effort to make their experience unforgettable.
What Is Client Experience?
Customer service and client experience aren’t the same thing–and trust us, there’s an important difference. Customer service involves solving a client’s problems and ensuring that their needs are met, but their client experience ensures that they’ll become repeat customers. This starts from the minute they see your Facebook ads or land on your website for the first time.
Client experience describes the internal and subjective response your client has when they interact with you. In simpler terms—it’s your clients’ feelings and reactions. If you focus solely on customer service, your client experience might not be good. Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to keep both in mind.
Why is Client Experience Important?
So why is client experience necessary? There are a few reasons:
- To gain client loyalty
- To be able to charge the rates that you deserve
- So that your clients feel confident in referring you to their friends and family
- To have consistency within your brand
All of these points are impacted by how happy your customer is. The happier they are, the more money you’ll make and the more repeat business and referrals you’ll get.
How To Provide The Best Client Experience
To provide the best client experience for your customers, there are a few tips and tricks that you can follow.
First things first, it’s crucial to remain true to who you are. Clients want to invest their time and money into someone they can trust and someone they can relate to. Your photography business should be branded in a way that is honest to you. Are you always throwing out witty remarks? Use that to your advantage when writing captions for social media. Do you love sharing photos of your dog Fido? People will love seeing a personal side of you!
Make Everything As Straightforward As Possible
People are frequently on the go these days, and because of these busy lifestyles, it’s essential to keep everything as easy and stress-free as possible.
- Create a website that is easy to navigate – As a photographer, clients expect your website to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. You are an artist, after all. They don’t want to have to hunt around for your galleries or pricing. Give them clear direction about where they should go for contact information and other vital details.
- Make booking and downloading as easy as possible – In a world where most people rely on their phones and the Internet, we recommend making the entire booking process possible online. This goes for everything–from signing the contracts to paying their invoice to downloading all of their images.
- Create packages that are easy to understand – Packages should be detailed with the number of hours included, the number of images included, whether or not an online gallery will be included, and the pricing. This goes for everything from elopement shoots to extravagant weddings with 200+ guests.
Communication Should Be Positive
Since you will likely be doing most of the communicating over the phone or email, you want to keep it positive and encouraging. You want them to feel like you’re on their team. You also want to express your gratitude any chance that you can get. The more your clients hear how excited you are for their shoot and how honored you feel to be working with them, the better their client experience feels.
Follow Up Often
As mentioned earlier, people live very fast-paced lives. How many times have you skipped over an email because you simply didn’t see it? Or you told yourself that you would respond later only to forget? It happens more often than you’d expect. That’s why following up often is important.
- Follow up during the inquiry process – During wedding planning, couples are exchanging emails upon emails with various vendors for various services. We recommend following 1-2 times during the inquiry process to check-in and make sure they don’t have any unanswered questions
- Check-in during the months leading up to their wedding – Wedding planning is stressful, and your couples will thank you for checking in on them during the months leading up to their wedding to see how they are doing. This shows them that you genuinely care and adds a personal touch to your services. Don’t go overboard with extra emails, but let them know you’re thinking about them
- Send prep emails prior to your shoots – Whether it’s a wedding, engagement shoot, or anniversary photos, send your couple one prep email with the important info that you’ve probably already gone over—time, location, etc. This tells them that they’re fresh on your mind and that you are looking forward to working together
- Stay in touch on social media – We’ve heard from both photographers and couples that they feel like they’ve become good friends with one another by the end of a wedding. In this digital age, staying connected with your new friends has never been easier
- Have consistent, timely communication – This is one of the most essential pieces of advice that we can offer. When you get a new inquiry, responding within 24-hours shows that you’re professional, stay on top of your emails, and are ready to work. If you have the time to send a personalized message, then go for it. If you don’t, use software like 17Hats to store templates, client information, and more. Once you’re hired, keep this timely communication going throughout your time working together.
Ask Questions To Improve Client Experience
Although a couple is hiring you because they love your style, understanding their style and vision will make them satisfied. Ask questions to help you figure out their style and what they are looking for. If you want to streamline the process, consider sending a questionnaire. This will help set up expectations for your clients that you want to know more about them.
We also suggest communicating your vision. This way, your couple will know if you’re on the same page and if not, those kinks can be worked out sooner than later.
Offer In-Person Consultation
Clients want to click with you artistically and want to mesh well in-person. By meeting in-person ahead of time, you can answer questions, describe your vision clearly, bring them imagery to look at, discuss any concerns, and brainstorm ideas together. This rapport that you build will be reflected in the images you capture as well, which is an added bonus.
Consider A Gift
A gift is never necessary, but the thoughtfulness will touch your clients. Whether you opt for a small gift card to a local coffee shop or a print of one of your favorite photos from their wedding with a thank you card, they’ll feel appreciated.
If you’re just starting out and can’t make thank-you gifts happen quite yet, send out a thank you email or mail them a thank you card. Everyone feels special when receiving mail, and they’ll feel the same when they receive their surprise.
Start A Mailing List
No matter what kind of small business you own, email lists are among the most effective ways to reach your clients or potential new customers. When someone joins your mailing list, they’re giving you permission to contact them personally. For wedding photographers, having one allows you to promote occasional deals that may inspire past clients to book with you again or encourage them to tell friends and family to book with you. They also allow you to share your knowledge and insider tips, helping establish your brand and reputation as a professional.
This may sound scary, but it can help your business grow exponentially. Use feedback as an opportunity to learn about your strengths and weaknesses. Then, turn your weaknesses into strengths that will help your business grow. Plus, most clients love offering feedback.
Not all feedback will be good feedback, and that’s okay. Don’t argue with clients about their client experience when they’ve offered to be open and honest with you. If you receive negative feedback, try to brainstorm what to do next time to avoid getting the same feedback twice.
Remember The Details
Last but certainly not least, remembering small details–such as birthdays and anniversaries–will help your couples feel special. Have a separate calendar for your clients and look at it at the beginning of every day. You can then send a quick text, email, or post a shoutout on your social media.
These small steps will help you revamp your business and improve your client experience. Wedding planning can be stressful, and it’s part of your job to make the wedding photography aspect as easy as possible for them. You will effectively gain loyalty, earn referrals, and build your brand! If you want even more tips about bettering your client experience, check out these ways to win at client communication!