Picture this: You’re at an art fair, your lens trained on a bold, brightly coloured stall selling handmade jewelry. The seller, an eccentric lady with a purple scarf, notices you and flashes a radiant smile. ‘Snap!’ goes your camera. Now, let me ask you this, fellow shutterbug, have we ever thought about capturing not just their smiles but also their hearts, not as subjects, but as clients?

Here’s a flash illuminating fact: According to studies, it’s about five times more expensive to attract new clients than to retain existing ones. Yet, many photographers focus more on skills and gear than on their customer service. In this regard, we must consider the inseparable ‘camera-partner’ of photography: exceptional customer service.

Why is customer service paramount in photography?

‘But why should I worry about customer service? I’m good at what I do,’ you might grumble. Sure, your shots may be picture-perfect, but without stellar customer service, it’s like a gorgeous portrait with a poor frame. Customer service in our field is the art of building relationships, of transforming patrons into lifelong clients, and more importantly, into sources of referrals.

Referrals and repeat business are crucial, yet often overlooked aspects of running a successful photography business. Think back to the purple-scarf lady. Imagine her raving about your skills and professionalism to her network, voicing a strong client testimonial in photography.

Providing a memorable experience: The ‘Photographer Plus’ strategy

Okay, let’s delve deeper. How can we make the ‘Photographer Plus’ strategy work? By ‘plus’, we point towards the extra, people-centered efforts that go beyond taking stunning photographs. The answer lies in empathy, communication, and creating a positive client experience.

Start by placing yourself in your clients’ shoes. Empathize with their emotions swirling around being clicked. Are they apprehensive, shy, or plainly uncomfortable in front of the lens? Remember, everyone isn’t a born model. By understanding their feelings, you can create a comfortable environment, making the photoshoot a delightful experience for them.

Communication lies at the heart of customer service. Keep your patrons ‘in the loop.’ Discuss your plans, ask their expectations, welcome their ideas, and feedback. Cater to their needs, make them feel valued, and show them that you’re not just ‘clicking them,’ but ‘connecting with them.’

Finally, go an extra mile. Offer them refreshments during a long photo session, help them with their props or outfits. Little things matter — they enrich the client experience and create lasting impressions, invariably leading to repeats and referrals.

The long-term benefits of exceptional customer service

Think about it, a happy client equals a happy photograph. The more at ease and valued your client feels, the more authentic their pictures become. Your excellent customer service tugs at their heartstrings and your photos, well, they are the visual proof of those strings. These well-captured memories now come with the sweet aftertaste of a great service experience.

And the benefits of excellent customer service in photography don’t stop there. Remember the ‘referral’ part? Yes, satisfied clients become evangelists for your business. They spread the word about their fantastic experience, leading to new clients, and guess what? Because of your continuous ‘Photographer Plus’ approach, the cycle of client getting, retention, and referral keeps repeating. It’s like the chain reaction of goodwill — always reaping positive consequences.

So remember, dear shutterbugs, the more you focus on customer service, the less you have to worry about client acquisition. In this competitive world of photography, let your service be your distinguishing feature. Click their ‘hearts’ as beautifully as you click their ‘faces’ and watch your business flourish.