When you’re running a business, it can be suuuuper frustrating to get an influx of client inquiries and bookings one month and then very little the next month, followed by another influx the month after that—only to see the same cycle repeat itself month after month. It can also be really frustrating to be in a place where you’re struggling to book photography clients consistently or getting repeat business.
When that happens, you need a solution—like yesterday. And a large piece of that solution is taking a good hard look at your client experience and seeing if there are any breakdowns.
If any of those sound like you, then let’s talk about your client experience in greater depth. The client experience is a journey with lots of milestones, touchpoints, pitstops, and more, but to keep it simple, we’re going to break that journey down into three stages…
…the before, during, and after stages of the client experience.
Before your client experience is the “pre-booking” phase. The most important part of the “pre-booking” phase is to create a connection with your potential clients. This means building a brand that shows who you are and how you serve their needs in a unique way from the first point of contact.
When you are showing up as yourself on social media, your website, and every touchpoint where a client could come in contact with your brand, you are solidifying the relationship before they reach out. If you are creating a connection, have seeds of a relationship planted, and are showing your true self, potential clients reach out with confidence that you are the one for them before even booking.
This means they aren’t price shopping and they are booking from a place of connection and feeling like you have the service, style, and skill to meet their needs. However, it’s not just about building a relationship and showing up as yourself.
On your website, it’s really important to provide the right information in the right way. You want to lead clients on a journey to book you. No, I am not saying you have to constantly ask for the sale, but you have to lead clients through the process.
If you don’t provide an experience on your website that clearly lays out where to click, what to read, and how to book you…if you’re not gently leading them by the hand to reach out…you are leaving leads on the table.
People want to feel empowered, taken care of, and assured that booking you is the right decision for them. Providing this consistent and connected experience for them from the start is exactly how you can assure that you will have people banging on your online door and begging to book your services.
Now, let’s take a look at what might be happening during your client experience.
So, a client reached out—now what? What does your client experience look like leading up to their shoot that’s going to make them want to work with you again?
It’s important to provide an experience that delivers on all notes— for YOU and your client. As you’re onboarding your client and getting everything set up, you should have a detailed client experience mapped out. Along with that, it’s important to have a strategic workflow mapped out so you can be sure to provide the same amazing experience for each client every time—start to finish.
When you don’t have a workflow or client experience mapped out, it can be difficult to recreate an amazing experience time and time again. You might serve one client really, really well and then drop a ball with another or just end the session feeling a little lackluster and you’re not sure why.
Between the booking and the photo session, there is the wait…the middle. I am sure you have heard of the Messy Middle right?! You don’t want that.
So many times, I’ve heard friends talking about how they don’t know what is happening with their photographer. They don’t know what (if anything) they are supposed to bring or plan for or they haven’t heard from their photographer in awhile. Puh-lease, don’t be that person!
Clients want to feel in the know, slightly in charge of the process and well taken care of. If you are winging it at every turn in your experience, a client can tell. It either feels like they are an afterthought or that you are rushing a response to them because they asked a question. This can leave them feeling put off or like a burden—no one wants to feel that way.
Besides just delivering an awesome client experience to your client, a mapped out workflow and detailed client experience also gives you back your time (and sanity!).
We’re ALL busy—no matter where we are in life. You could be a mama with your littles at home, a photographer who is just starting out and working a full-time job while building your empire, or wanting to rethink everything you have built so far because it feels out of control. The one thing we all want more of is time.
With a planned out workflow, you know where you’re at every step of the way and can deliver on time, strategically, and leave your clients on cloud nine. When you aren’t planning out your client experience, you’re essentially winging it.
When we wing anything repeatedly, eventually we drop balls, don’t deliver as well as we’d like, or leave our clients feeling disappointed.
This can create more work for you because at some point you will likely have to backtrack or gain back the trust of your clients.
By having a step-by-step process you can save yourself so much time because your tasks are listed out and planned—no recreating the wheel, no missing out on something important, and no excuse that things aren’t done because you know what has to come and you can plan ahead.
Alright, so looking at and adjusting the before and during of your client experience can help you book clients more consistently and keep them coming back, but what does your experience look like after you’ve delivered their photos? Do you just hand them over and say “thanks – see ya later!”?
After you’ve wrapped up a session and delivered final images, you have to end the experience with a bang and make sure your client feels loved and appreciated.
Send your clients off with a big ole hug NOT a high five that results in “too slow” or a facepalm. When you wrap up the experience with your clients on a high note, deliver all of the goods on time and beautifully branded, thank them personally, and leave the door open for them to book again and again, this is when you have mastered your experience AND created organic marketing.
When that happens, clients who have a great experience are going to tell all of their friends and family but not just that, they will come back because you knocked their socks off!
Many, many, many photographers do not provide this kind of experience. Set yourself apart by elevating your experience and making your clients know how special they are.
If you are letting down a client, they will tell their friends all about that experience and how they were left hanging. It is much harder to overcome negative feelings and book more clients than it is to just plan well and build an experience that delivers.
So you have seen the struggles and the high notes of what an elevated client experience can do for you and your business. But now what?
Now you actually need to carve out some time and break down your client experience step-by-step and touchpoint-by-touchpoint.
When you do this, you’ll get:
If you know you need to take a good hard look at your client experience, but you don’t know where to start or exactly the kind of things an amazing client experience consists of so that it can be your marketing machine, booking machine, and everything machine…
Click the link below to deep dive into your planning and start laying out the detailed experience you want to provide.
You’ll get video training with examples, a FREE Trello Swipe File of a Photographer Workflow, and a Client Experience Playbook Workbook to deep dive into planning and executing an experience that you (and potential clients) have been dreaming of.
Hearts and Hoorays!
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