Photographers: Every Email Could Be the Start or End of a Client Relationship
By Bryan Evans
This is a short article that’s a reminder that every interaction you have is part of a relationship with someone — potentially a client.
Recently I was looking for a food photographer for a web client. I wanted a local shooter and found one practically next door to the studio. Unfortunately his online gallery showed text jargon instead of photos. I tried a different browser, but still no luck. I sent a screen cap to the photographer - after all, if it were my site I would want to know.
Here’s his entire response: “I don't have a problem on any of my browsers.” That works well if he is his only client, but it is a lousy way to address a potential one.
As a photographer myself, there was a lesson here in client communication. You can’t troubleshoot someone else’s computer, but you can control your message. So if you want to keep clients and even get more, here are some tips.
What can I do?
Well, first, try not to be a jerk. This should be obvious. If you are in a bad mood, or are short on patience, don’t respond right away. Give it a little time. Imagine your business self as enlightened, unflappable and having the ability to deal with even the most challenging interactions.
Keep a bin of copywriting as a resource library. Draft your own set of common responses and language you can use in your communication. You don’t have to cut and paste everything, but it is a good place to start. Start and cultivate common business phrases that you find yourself using, and continuously refine and tweak the language until it is sparkly, or at least reflects your professional identity.
Kind words cost zero. The next time you write to a customer, make it your business to convey good feelings about your message.
Words like value, benefit, gift, opportunity, and appreciate create a positive feeling when we read them. Start a positive language list and use them liberally: appreciate, thank you, happy to, I can, delighted, pleased, look forward to, terrific, and other words that can turn things toward the sun rather than “valued customer” or worse.
It's not enough to simply strike complain, you forgot, you failed, cannot, won't. Deleting negatives doesn’t create a positive feeling. Positive feelings come from words with positive associations.
In the case of this photographer, he could have simply thanked me for alerting him, and inquired about the services I was seeking rather than losing my business.