Have you ever sat down to think about the customer service experience that your pet or equine photography business provides from a customer point of view? If I had to guess, the answer is probably not.

Most photographers probably look at customer service as a necessary evil. Something that must be provided to the customer so they don’t think negatively about your company after a bad experience.

But, the reality of it is, the customer service experience is not just something provided at the time of a problem. Customer service encompasses all interactions between your business or brand and the client throughout the client’s experience.    


Customer Service Statistics


The harsh reality is that customer service can make or break your business.  Don’t believe me? Here are a few customer service facts to consider:

According to a study by RightNow in 2012, 82% of customers have left a company because of a bad customer service experience.  It’s now 2019,  7 years later, so chances are that number has either stayed the same or increased. I’d bet on increased.

American Express had a study that showed American consumers are willing to spend 17% more money to shop with a business that delivers great customer service.  Additionally, the millennial generation cares more than any other group about great customer care and are will to spend the most to get it – 21% more. Translation: Increase your customer service = increase in your profits.

Trying to decide where to shop? A Gartner Research Study showed that 64% of people rate the quality of customer experience as more important than price. Translation? The majority of people are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.


More Customer Service Statistics…


According to Reputation Refinery, 81% of people are more likely to work with a business again after good service. Translation: Want repeat business? Give them great customer service.

What’s the benefit of repeat customers? From that same Reputation Refinery study, loyal customers are worth 10x as much as their first purchase on average.

Translation: Repeat clients generate a ton of money for a business. And that’s just what they themselves are worth to a business. It doesn’t include anything that stems from the customer such as referrals.


How much does Bad Customer Service really Hurt?


Bad customer service hurts any business, not just an equine photography business. But, by how much? Is it really worth getting all worked up about?  Check out these statistics:

Business Insider published a piece that showed it takes 12 positive interactions with a company to make up for 1 negative interaction with a company.

According to ThinkJar, 13% of customers will tell 15 OR MORE people about a negative experience with a brand. And in the age of social media, many unhappy clients will share publically and loudly interactions that they feel were subpar when it comes to customer service.

New Voice Media released an infographic that showed in 2013, $41 Billion dollars of revenue was lost every year from poor customer service.  Sounds bad, right?

Well, try this on for size: By 2015, that number had increased to $62 billion dollars of revenue.  That’s a 21 BILLION dollar increase in just two years! And it looks like as time is passing, the trend is continuing.  


Bad customer service can literally break your business.


Now, you might be thinking to yourself that you only do a small amount of business each year. Maybe you are just starting out as an equine photographer or your photography is your side hustle. Consider this:

According to the Harvard Business Review, it can cost anywhere from 5 to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a current customer.  Translation: In simple mathematical terms, you might spend $100 to keep a repeat customer or $500 to $2500 to acquire a new one.

It’s actually much cheaper to a small business to keep a client than to find a new one. If you are only working with a limited number of clients, to begin with, it is more cost effective to continue to work with those same clients than to have to find new ones from scratch. 

A 5% increase in customer retention rates can result in a 25-95% increase in business profits. Translation: Increasing your repeat clients by 5% can have a direct result on your profits. It might be a smaller result or a huge result but either way, it increases your profits.

Translation: If you currently have 20 clients you work with, increasing that amount of customers who come back for repeat service by just 1 can result in an increase in your profits.


How Does Customer Service tie into your Equine Photography Business?


Many people have the mindset that customer service is those moments we interact with someone because we have a problem or an issue they can solve. 

For example, returning an item we purchased at a store because it didn’t fit. Or when you check out at a store and you are watching to see if the cashier rings everything up correctly. Was she smiling? Was she helpful? 

But the fact of the matter is that customer service actually encompasses every single time a client touches your business. Say it with me: “Customer service is the entire package of how your client or potential client interacts with your business.”

Changing how you think about customer service can go a long way into making your business viable and even profitable.

If customer service really is every way how the customer interacts with your business, then it includes everything from emails, phone calls, in-person, or even snail mail.

Going that extra mile, doing those extra little touchpoints are what set you apart from your competition. Additionally, if you do it right, that can also help you to justify higher prices.


Break your Customer Service Process Down


No matter where you are located, equine photography tends to be a seasonal business.  So, if you haven’t already, plan on taking some time during your slow season and map out your customer service experience for your client. 

How does a customer first come in contact with you? Email? Social Media? Website? In-Person?

Are your emails consistent with your phone calls and social media posts? 

Do your social media posts reflect that brand that you are building? Do they sound like your voice? Do you respond to comments daily? Weekly? Monthly? Never? 

When you interact with your clients in-person what message do they receive? Are you friendly? Aloof? Professional? Goofy? Responsive to their pain points?   And does that experience match your brand vibe? 

While there are a lot more questions you need to ask yourself, these can at least get you started on breaking down your process. Write it out, draw a diagram. Map it out.


A Few Final Thoughts…

How do you get from initial contact to a happy customer?

Taking the time to map out the customer service experience can help you to realize where there might be issues in your process, where potential clients get turned off, and how you can guide your customer to an end result that will make you both happy. 

Interested in learning more? Check out RTS LEARN.

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