Spring clean your Systems & Client Experience for your Photography Business

Client Experience

April 26, 2022

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I believe in a slower, simpler approach to doing business. One rooted in intention, meaning & purpose, where you find that beautiful (yet often seemingly elusive) balance between deeply supporting your clients, honouring your creativity, and reclaiming your time, energy and heart.
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This morning I was really feeling inspired by the spring energy all around me. It was a beautiful and gentle reminder to start to think about spring cleaning (metaphorically speaking), my business and client experience. And so, I thought it would be nice to bring you along for the process, so you can take what you need and hopefully feel some inspiration to do the same for your photography business.

A lot has changed in my business over the past two years, things have come to an end, exciting new opportunities have emerged and like all business changes, this needs to be reflected in my systems and of course my client’s experience. 

Where to start when it comes to Spring cleaning your systems and client experience?

Relook at your values & purpose and make sure this is reflected in your process

Although my values haven’t changed, I would say some things have become more important than others. Last year a sentence kept popping up in my mind over and over again, and that was “to leave little trace, aside from in the hearts of others”. 

As a person who is very concerned about our climate, and the effects of late stage capitalism, I started to feel a disconnect in my work. While I truly do love creating beautiful packaging and stationery, I also realize the impact that has on our environment, which is where things started to become very muddled up in my mind. How could I sell packaging for a living, and yet be trying to eliminate it in my home and personal life at all cost? 

My answer is, and was, to make sure that everything that I encourage my clients to purchase was intentionally thought out and wasn’t encouraged “just for the sake of making the sale” (not that this has ever been the case). 

To do less but better, and to really think of creative ways I can make an impact for my clients, in other ways, that aren’t necessarily physical things. For example, sometimes the gift of your time can be just as impactful as a physical gift. And a smaller, more thoughtful gift, with lots of intention behind it, can be even more personal than a lavish gift designed to appeal to everyone.

Now that I am offering more services, I love the idea of incorporating something tangible into my client experience strategy. But rather than rush to send something out just for the sake of it, I am letting things settle in and see what would make the biggest difference in my client’s lives. Could it be just as intentional not to give anything? What feelings and emotions come up when working with me, and is there something physical I can give them that will help them at certain stages of our time working together? 

I have a few ideas, but I am still mulling this over, so for now I am focussing on making my service as good as it can be. Which includes the amazing client portal I designed for my clients, that houses everything that we have worked on together, and gives them some tools to help them implement everything we have unearthed together. I have also been paying close attention to where they are getting stuck in the implementation phase, and how I could be of service to them. 

For e.g. I have noticed that my two weeks of email support is not being used as much as I would have hoped for. So I am considering altering my workflow, to give our clients a month first (to figure things out), and then have access to the two week email support from me.

Establish where your clients are getting stuck, and how you can best be of service to them

This is something that I can only learn with time, and it’s going to take a few seasons of experimentation to get things right. Last year I discovered that a lot of my clients felt really overwhelmed when it came to choosing their packaging. So I designed some packages that helped create a really thoughtful final delivery, I categorised them into certain styles or themes and this really helped a lot of my clients. I created beautifully curated packages where all my client had to do was choose from a selected list of materials. I kept this list short so that it wasn’t overwhelming, and included the design of all their packaging which alleviated a lot of stress for them.

I still feel like there is more to unearth here, because while I feel like these packages are helpful, I still feel like my audits are even more beneficial because I really dive deep into the unique magic each and every one of my clients have to offer. Moving away from just selling deliverables, to truly selling an experience that makes a difference in their client’s lives. And still there is deeper work to be done here – I would love to be able to spend more time diving deeper into my clients’ brand strategy (really getting clear on their purpose & intentions, and what unique value they have to offer their clients beyond just the work they do). All of this needs to be worked into my process, so that I can offer our clients a truly valuable experience.

So what is my action step here? I am creating a goodbye guide for my clients, with additional ways in which I can support them. This includes my Reset days , where I can help them design all the guides, questionnaires, worksheets that we have spoken about in our audit call. I am also going to have the option of diving deeper into their brand strategy, how they can position themselves in the market, and create a brand archetype to help them connect with the clients they can best serve. This is what makes me special, what really lights me up, and I want to find ways I can bring this into our offerings and create experiences around the value I can offer.

What no longer serves you and your clients

Hmmm, this was a tricky one for me. So much has changed, and needs to be created from scratch. It feels overwhelming at times, but I am tackling things one by one rather than trying to get everything done in a day. 

I feel like my current packaging for our online store & custom packaging projects, is no longer serving me or our clients. So I need to redesign our quote cards (we have been using the same ones for far too long). I need to find new ways to connect with me, at the moment I tell people to tag us on Instagram (but I’m not there any more), so I need to find other ways people can share about the work I do. 

For my custom project clients, I want to record a video showing them exactly how to put their packages together. It is part of my workflow, but I don’t always get around to doing it. This is  something I need to make sure I am doing because I have had such positive feedback when I have taken the time to do this.

How can you make improvements with the knowledge gained over the past season

I like to keep a list of questions that come up over and over again. This helps me see where I can make improvements for the following year. Something that has come up over and over again is that my clients get stuck when it comes to the wording for their packaging. So this year I want to create a guide or video that could help them with that. I also like to think of what could be the best way to deliver this information to my clients. I think that a loom video showing & explaining different examples could be very helpful. Asking my clients to first think about the feeling they are trying to create with each layer. The purpose behind each of the elements, and what is the ultimate goal or purpose behind what they are sending.

If for example, it’s to show their clients the value of having their images printed, how can I do this through the packaging I create. 

What new experiences, & moments of joy can you create for your clients.

This is the fun part, but it can only come after all the groundwork has been done. It’s hard because naturally we want to jump to the fun & exciting part (like the beautiful stationery & packaging). But sometimes we just aren’t ready, and our time & money would be better spent in other areas of our clients experience. This is where I find myself during this season. My services are still too new, and I need to make sure that my process is 100% solid before we add any of the exciting elements. But I am sure I will be ready to create some beautiful moments through stationery & gifting in 2023.

I hope this has helped you – and encourages you to have a look at the experience you are providing your clients and where you could add more value? The thing about your client experience is, it’s always evolving and changing as you do. It’s not a set it and forget it system where you create a workflow, send a gift and call it a day. It’s a process of learning, building, growing and nurturing. 

Sometimes it’s hard to do these things on your own, especially if it’s the first time you are really digging deep into your client experience strategy. Which is why I would love to invite you to join me, and book a Reset Day, so we can look deep inside your business to see how you can be nurturing your clients this year. 

It’s an incredible thing to be of service to others, it can be nourishing for both you and your client. It just requires you to  slow down and notice the small things. 

Comments +

  1. […] Spend some time looking over your workflows to spot any gaps, or places where things could flow smoother. Are there any repetitive tasks that could easily be automated, perhaps you have made changes in your business over the last year that haven’t been updated in your process?I have a whole other blog post dedicated to spring cleaning your systems and client experience which you can read here. […]

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Does sending oFF a client gallery feel a little *meh*?

Why not craft an intentional goodbye ritual (aka off-boarding workflow) that will help you clients look after their images. A process that will help you get more reviews, sell more albums, and help you and your clients feel soooooooo supported. 

CRAFT AN INTENTIONAL GOODBYE RITUAL

Identify where you need to make changes in your business, set intentions and know where to pour your energy and efforts.

Have the support of someone who can challenge your thoughts, remind you of your magic, and gently hold you accountable so you can accomplish your vision for your business.

I NEED THIS