{Gasp} An unhappy client? | Eye on Business

Hi all! Glad you stopped by the blog today. I’m Jodee Ball, quality control manager at JP Ball Photography and today I’m talking about unsatisfied clients. Never had one? Aren’t you lucky! However, you should be prepared for when one does cross your studio threshold.

How do you handle a client who doesn’t see the value in your images or is straight up unhappy with your work?

Well, ouch. It hurts. It’s personal, biting and down right depressing. Those feelings ooze abundantly from our artistic side. From the business side, we may feel nervous, irritated, defensive and worried.

But… “Never let ‘em see you sweat!”  Be prepared for these moments, because no matter how wonderful you are, unhappy clients will surface at some point on your journey. And, at that point, you will need to revisit some of your basic business goals. Hopefully, happy clients is one of those goals!

When I first starting hosting in-studio ordering sessions, I’d walk away feeling a little deflated. How could my clients not love the images I composed and why in the world would they choose the images that they did? How could they pick apart the best images in their gallery?

Stop. Deeeep breath. Think.

Were the images technically correct? Did you capture the vision your client related to you prior to the session? Did you edit the images before showing the client?

If you answered no to the above questions, take a step back and address your weaknesses. The client’s complaints and/or observations are valid. We will get to that in a moment.

If you answered yes to the above questions, ponder on this quote penned by the great Ansel Adams.

Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.” 

Interpretation. It’s a powerful beast.

Think back to what your clients said during the ordering session. Aha moment. it’s not always about you, is it? It’s about them. What we see in an image and what they see can be completely different. You can nudge their interpretation of your images once they trust your judgement, but you cannot control their interpretation.  

Chances are they are picking themselves apart, from their expressions to their hair to their clothing choices. In this case, all you can do is help them see their beauty. I realize that statement over-simplifies a solution, but they are dealing with long suffering insecurities. It’s sadly common among our young adult clients.

But, what if… just what if you answered no to the questions I asked and need to address some technical weaknesses? What if the client is justly unhappy with your work? What if you produced a product not to standard?

Stay positive. Leave your pride at the kiddy table. At this point, your client is right and you need to know you are investing in the future of your business. Word of mouth is your greatest asset or your worst liability. 

Do everything you can to make sure your clients are happy (assuming their complaints are valid and reasonable). Chances are, your attitude is more important than your aptitude in this situation.  Your sacrifice of time and money to right a wrong is a tiny investment into the future of your business.

Some ideas?

*Apologize… simply not profusely

*Act quickly

*Speak in person, not on the phone or via text or email

*Listen intently to your client and make eye contact

*Reprint a product

*Offer a credit

*Offer a reshoot

*Learn from your mistakes – consider them a gift for your success!

Wow…sorry, today’s blog was a little no nonsense. Guess I’m in a “tell it like it is” mood. My poor husband won’t know what hits him when he walks through the door tonight. 😉

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