Good service is all about providing the customer with an ultimate experience. Of course in business, we are all striving to create a perfect environment – one that will have our clients talking about us in the best way possible to friends and colleagues. And of course we have everything in place; a welcoming office or studio, well trained staff, and systems in place to ensure that everything runs smoothly from start to finish.
But what happens when, in spite of our best efforts, the customer does the unexpected – either because they don’t know our system, or maybe they’re just difficult to please? A few months ago a family came to our photographic studio – Mum, Dad and two teenage children. The portrait session lasted around an hour, during which time we took some great shots with various combinations of groups and singles. By the time we finished they were on a high, and looking forward to returning for their viewing session a few days later.
During the viewing, over fresh coffee and biscuits, they enjoyed a leisurely evening selecting which images were to be displayed in their home, choosing a large framed portrait of all four of them to hang above the fireplace in their lounge, and several smaller ones. They left the studio delighted with their experience, and their choice of images. We could hear them chatting excitedly all the way back to their car.
They were even more excited when four weeks later we presented the finished products to them, amidst lots of delighted ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’. So imagine our dismay when over a month later we received a telephone call from the lady of the house saying that she really wasn’t happy with the portraits, as she didn’t like her fringe! She’d had her hair cut especially for the portrait session, and thought at the time that ‘it wasn’t quite right’!!
The question at this stage is ‘How far do you go to ensure that your client is completely happy?’ Our answer at Hoss Photography is ‘All the way’. We didn’t challenge the fact that she wasn’t happy (even though her husband had assured her that she looked lovely). We simply arranged for the family to return to us for a complimentary re-shoot, went through the whole process again, and produced portraits that they all loved. And you know what? They increased their order!
The point I’m making here is that we ensured our environment was welcoming, we had excellent systems in place, and our staff were well trained. But outstanding customer service is more than that. It’s about caring how your customer feels. And it’s about having the power to influence the outcome of their experience with you.