In all of the work I’ve done, great customer service has been absolutely essential to my success. I didn’t really appreciate how good my skills were until I started a customer service job that really tested those skills. Moving to New York and working the same position, I didn’t notice much of a difference working with customers. While you may need to change some little things depending on cultural differences, customers are cool with you if you even when you deliver a standard performance coupled with great customer service.
But one thing I noticed about New York is that I experience bad customer service much more often than in California. Not sure why that is exactly. But receiving that kind of service really made me appreciate how good I make my customers feel.
And I say this to everyone who I speak with, especially the younger folks when we talk about customer service: What goes around comes around. There is definitely a difference in the happiness of someone’s life when they deliver a good or bad customer service experience. I sincerely believe that what you put out in the world, you receive back. Absolutely.
I found this great video on Youtube that really nails it with customer service techniques. I’ve been doing this for so long, it really has become second nature for me and can’t articulate it as well as Mr. Brownlee does.
So how does this all tie into a professionally photography business? Here’s the thing: everyone is a commodity. And I mean EVERYONE. I don’t care how good someone is at the technical aspects of their job. If you are difficult to work with, your client will always be on the lookout for someone who can do your job with less fuss.
You don’t need to be paranoid. There are things that are out of your control and many reasons why a client may use another service that has nothing to do with you. But what you can control, you should be the best at. Communicative, dependable and timely are the basics. Sincerity, friendliness, motivated and fun are extras. And that last sentence goes a long way.
I have a sincere interest in doing the best job I can. I don’t care if it’s cleaning toilets or completing an expensive client project. I’m being paid good money that my client earned to pay me to do the best work possible. And I take great pride in all the work I do.
I don’t consider doing business as an artist professional much different from any other industry. However, I think the soft skills like customer service is much more valuable. It’s a business where the price of entry is extremely low and everyone wants to get to the top.
The funny thing is: great customer service doesn’t cost anything. If you have the processes down and have the right attitude, it’s a piece of cake. Maybe it’s fortunate for me that so many people don’t get it.