by Ron Pybus Published 01/06/2007
When they call to collect the prints make sure they are ready for them to take away, but above all if something has gone wrong do not blame others even if you are not at fault. It doesn't matter if it is the lab's fault or someone else's fault, the customer's contract is with you - the photographer, and you must not pass on the blame. So many complaints are made about photographers because they try to cover up mistakes rather than admitting them.
I have had a couple of occasions where prints have either not been ready in time or the lab have produced the wrong print. On each occasion I claimed responsibility for the mistake and promised to right it as soon as possible - not just right it but make amends by delivering the print to their house the next day. They had already made the journey to collect the print at an agreed day and time - I had failed to deliver. On one occasion I delivered a set of baby pictures the following morning to a mother who lived about 10 miles from the studio. She invited me in and introduced me to about a dozen mums and babies at her coffee morning with exclamations of how I had failed to deliver prints at the time promised but had done the exceptional thing of bringing the pictures to her as she had already made the journey. I booked every one of those 12 mums and babies for portraits, just because I had gone the extra mile in correcting a fault in my service.
That story has been passed on to many other mums and I have gained much from that little trip out. That is just one example of how customer care can benefit you in the long run. Photographers rely on their reputation and that reputation is based not just on the images provided, ut the way clients were treated during their visits, the ambiance of the place and the consideration and care they were shown. Care for your customers and they will care for you, treat them just as a number and your number of customers will dwindle. Reputations are hard to make and easy to loose. Over 85% of my business is recommendation and I spend little on advertising - because I really care for my customers. I ring them up the day before the sitting to remind them of the booking and to answer any queries and my website has a hints and tips page to help even more.
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