First, let’s explore what I mean when I say “client experience.” So a client experience is the string of actions that occurs from before the client is even yours through booking to the preparation for the session to the session itself to post-session and gallery delivery, and possibly beyond. Those actions are important: responding to emails, speaking on the phone, what materials (digital or physical or any) they receive prior to the session or after the session (i.e. style guides or gifts), the time in which they receive their final gallery, the user-friendliness of your CRM, if you have one. Seriously, allllll of this is under an umbrella of “client experience.”
While client experience can initially seem separate from branding, it’s really not. Your interactions with clients, the way your clients are treated, how quickly you respond to emails, if you gift your clients anything throughout the process, if you go above and beyond in any way…all that ties back to your brand.
If you have ever read anything about branding in the past, you likely know the “three word” strategy. Essentially, you want your business or brand to remain consistent by adhering to three words that describe your business and/or brand. While this seems basic…these words need to be well thought-out because they should end up guiding each of your minor decisions about client experience along the way!
Let’s take the word joyful, for example. If joyful describes your “brand,” but the tone in your emails or the way you pose and interact with clients and other vendors is strict, short, or terse…well, then that’s contradictory to what you’re advertising. It leaves clients and potential clients confused and maybe even a little distrusting of you and your services.
Put yourself in the clients’ shoes. You chose a photographer based off of his/her website because a) you loved the images and the way he/she captures light and b) she describes her business/brand/work as joyful, vibrant, and genuine. Then you speak to him/her on the phone and you feel like you’re taking up her time and she has better things to be doing because each time you ask a question, she replies with a very short, to-the-point answer rather than elaborating. Well, if you even book that photographer, you’re likely going to be more skeptical of trusting that person because what they posit on their website is not consistent with their demeanor on the phone! So as the business owner trying to gain clients, talk the talk then walk the walk.
As you craft your client experience (which, side note, I believe should always be evolving based off of experience and feedback), keep in mind those three words you want to describe your brand and business. Use those to guide you while you create a brand and client experience that is unique to YOU and consistent with your brand!