Right smack dab in the middle of family holiday season, I got to spend a Texan-chic evening with one of my most special families. They are beautiful, they prepare spectacular wardrobes, they are always up for any of my ideas and we brainstorm together like champs….BUT, that isn’t the only thing that I dearly love about them.
Years ago, when I was in a different industry, I had to read a book called, “Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Guide to Customer Service“. I was knee deep in the cyclical stress that new home sales brings, but this book struck a chord with me that has carried over to my photography. The photography market in The Woodlands, TX, and just about Anywhere, USA, is completely saturated. There are photographers that will shoot endless frames, edit galleries of hundreds of images and only charge $50. The fact that this is not sustainable, often done under the table, nor remotely profitable is another topic that is not the point of this post, but just given as a visual on the state of the market. I am a HUGE supporter of a “free market” and admire how it truly filters out the successful from the non-successful all on its own, but what determines this success beyond profitability?
Back to the book, the fundamental take-away from “Raving Fans” was that the top differentiating factor for businesses is customer service. All things can be 100% on par product wise, or frankly a lesser product, but adding in stellar customer service that competitors do not deliver can catapult a business to the upper tier of success. This requires a vision, a systematic way of doing things and adding as little as just 1% MORE than anyone else offers on the service end. Just 1%, alone, can distinguish you from the photographer that lives just down the street from you, around the block or in the next neighborhood.
So, what does doing this extra 1% on the back-end do for your business? It creates RAVING FANS. Customers that shout your name, spread the word, sing your praises to all that they know, because they felt cared for, treasured and appreciated by working with you. We spend hours on end tweaking SEO, posting on Facebook, testing out Google +….you name it! One raving fan, sharing their testimony will travel and impact far greater numbers. Imagine delivering so strongly that you create a network of such loyal clients….it spreads, your message spreads, your work spreads…people work with whom they trust, people trust their friend’s opinions, they will seek the opportunity to work with you. Your business will grow, you will profit, you can succeed in a saturated market by not competing on price…..FREEDOM!
So, these images are of one of my most favorite families that are also neighbors and friends that I treasure on a personal level, but on the business end, they are GOLD!