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What Things Can You Do To Improve Your Customer Service

Published: 12/09/2013
By: larry

CustomerServiceAs a result of the post I did a couple of weeks ago where I asserted  that putting up with bad behavior is not a way to improve your customer service, I got a great question from Mike in Knoxville, TN. He said:

I just read your post, and it got me thinking about how I take care of my clients. Clients, in a strange way, are somewhat like a spouse, how you treat them, or how you re-act to them can have different results. I'm always looking for someway to add extra value to my services, value for what I do for them, what kinda things I can do for them that they would like, would prove helpful for them, that they would appreciate enough to mention to others while at the same time not really causing me much trouble at all to do.

So let me start out. Here are some things that I suggest real estate photographers do to enhance their customer service:

  • Listen to your customers: Ask them how you are doing. Some times you can just listen to what they say and some times you have to ask questions. Remember, you listen with your ears, not your mouth.
  • Be easy to contact: I can imagine many photographers tendency is to not want to be interrupted during a shoot. I think you have to either have a scheduling person or be willing to answer your cell phone and make appointments all day anytime.
  • Be easy to work with: Be flexible and easy to work with. Be willing to change your schedule (with in reason).
  • Deliver as fast as possible: This is big! I know from personal experience that when a listing agent signs a listing agreement the very first question after the homeowner signs is always, "when can we be on the market?" In some market situations a day or two can be very important. You can't deliver photos too fast. I'd say always within 24 hours and with in 12 hours or the same day if at all possible.
  • Make a trip back if you screw up: If you screw up volunteer to go back and reshoot if that's what it takes to fix the problem.
  • Offer a reward if someone refers a new client: If you are trying to expand your business offer a free shoot, a discount, a Starbucks gift card or some reward for sending a new client to you. A new regular client can be worth a lot.

What are your suggestions? How do you improve your customer service? Agent readers, what would you like a photographer to do?

4 comments on “What Things Can You Do To Improve Your Customer Service”

  1. Treat the vendors/home owner/tenant with great respect you are representing your agent, after all they have recommended you..... I always say "thank you for the work" even when my client has been with me 13 years.....

  2. Larry... I like the idea of a reward for new client business: I got a referral by one agent to another recently and have done three shoots so far for this new client: says he's now going to give me half of his new listings : if I shoot for this client say 30 times a year at $£ x for the next ten years, or until my knees give out (!), what was that one referral worth? I gave the guy a free shoot of his own home .. but maybe he deserved a pint or ten aswell !!!??? You got me thinking that rewarding customer loyalty (e.g. with a cool property book gift from amazon at christmas) is maybe an important part of one's overhead. Thanks!

  3. I have a standing policy. 50 bucks off your next shoot if you give me a referral (that books a shoot) and 50 off new client's first shoot. It has gotten me lots of biz over the years.

  4. I like the suggestions except one. While it's good to be accessible, it's not good to interrupt a conversation or to be seen constantly stopping work on a shoot to answer the phone. One should return calls promptly at the first possible break but that break might be after shooting if time is short or you are trying to capture the perfect twilight shot. Situations will be different on different occasions and one should always keep in mind that NOT answering the phone might be the best decision.

    I have a couple of people I know that have the bad habit of ignoring the people they are with and spend a get together answering calls and text messages. I've stopped seeing them as I can have a better time by myself.

    On a couple of occasions I have had to hint to an agent that I only have a limited time I am available to be on site due to another commitment. They were answering the phone while we were going over the shot list at the home. In ten minutes we could have been done and on one occasion it took an extra 40 minutes. I was sorely tempted to walk out on that last occasion more for lack of respect for my time than having to travel to another job.

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