In addition to taking photos, walking backwards down an aisle at a mystifying pace, changing your ISO settings a hundred times, all while trying not to miss the little details, and congratulatory hugs, your job is to ensure that the bride & groom have a great experience. Not just with you as their photographer, but overall.
I am proud to be a 5 star rated vendor among my brides. These are my 8 easy tips that you can do to make sure your couple has an amazing customer service experience.
1.Communication - Make her your top priority from the very first contact. Response time counts, with smart phones these days you can check your email anywhere! My clients always compliment my prompt responses, it lets them know you will be there for them when they need you and helps you stand out as a vendor among competitors. Make sure you know your couples expectations, send session reminders and re-confirm your arrival time the day before the big day. Little things like this help a stressed out bride to know her vendors are completely on top of things.
2. Go beyond photos- Being a photographer you also get the job description of being the unofficial bridal assistant. Assist her in anyway you can. Carry breath mints, extra bobby pins, a safety pin. Anything that will make her day easier, and she will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness come review time.
3. Know your stuff- Often times I am with the bride and bridemaids more than anyone else that day. Random questions come up. Do you know what side a boutonniere goes on? How do you pin this thing? Can you bustle my dress? How do I pee in this dress? Chances are you've been to more weddings than they have. All eyes usually look your way for an answer. It's your job to figure it out!
4. Do your research- Know your venue and photo spots before it's portrait time. It saves valuable time and ensures you get the best vantage points for key moments.
5. Thoughtfulness- These days it's not too common in customer service to find someone that will go a little bit extra. Be that person. I always make sure to send my brides a little Thank you card with my flash drive delivery. I follow up with check in emails and anniversaries to the best of my ability.
6. Common courtesy- This is often overlooked. While I maintain copyright on my photographs, I value my client's privacy. I no longer tag my brides in social media, what I do instead is invite them to tag themselves through a private email and I notify them first when they are featured in my blog. This gives them an opportunity to be the first one to share their photos with their friends and family. Should a client tell me that she finds a certain photo unflattering, I would remove it without question.
7. Smile behind the camera- Have you ever heard the phrase "When you smile, the whole world smiles with you."? It's true but this can be harder than it sounds. I suffer from a bad case of angry resting face. Which means when my face is relaxed, I look like I am in an awful mood. Without fail, when I would excitedly look back at the behind the scenes photos, I look well...quite frankly, pissed off. This was a harsh realization, I LOVE my job but my face just wasn't conveying it. I had to learn to smile more, laugh more...it didn't come natural to me and still doesn't but when you are at ease and smiling, it makes everyone else that much more comfortable and natural in front of the camera, which makes your job easier.
8. Over deliver- Give your bride something unexpected. When practical, I aim to edit the photos and deliver their gallery early. This isn't always the case come busy wedding season. So instead I aim for special sneak peeks, blog features, a surprise slideshow at the reception, something to keep the couple excited for their finished gallery and keep their great experience fresh in their mind.
If you still find yourself struggling to improve client satisfaction, remember to keep it simple. The smallest acts of consideration can go a long way. Shooting a wedding is just as much about customer service, as it is about getting "The shot".