Sunday, January 23, 2011

What Does Customer Service Mean to You?

First I just want to say how cold it is outside.  Dang!  Spring anybody?

My last post was about marketing and how can I market my photography.  Well it turns out I already do.  When I do the Art Shows I am marketing my work and myself.  So I had better know my stuff and look good doing it too.

In my business I sell 90% of my photography at Art Shows.  So I am in direct contact with customers.  Some returning, most new.  So I had better have some good customer service skills to keep them coming back and to buy at that time, because I may not see them again.  Traveling from Art Show to Art Show you just never know who will come or not come.  So you had better put on your best show without being pushy.  Oh my goodness you definitely don't want to be too pushy! 

One thing I have learned at previous jobs is that presentation is everything. When your booth display looks good and you look good then customers are more likely to stop in your booth and look around.  Keep it neat and clean.  I know sometimes weather can make things a little difficult, but give it your best.  Once your booth display is all set, then you need to be neat too.  I'm not asking you to put on your best suit, just look presentable.  The reason your booth and you need to look good is because you are representing you and your product and people respond better to a nice presentation.  Many times I have seen booths that could use a serious makeover as well as the artist.

Now to the topic at hand Customer Service.  What kind of customer service do you expect? I expect courteous, friendly, informative, clean service.  There is one thing I won't do is get right in my customers face.  Kinda like those car salespeople (sorry car people).  A simple greeting at first "Hello, Good Morning or a Good Afternoon" (smiling) acknowledging the customer and then I kinda watch the customer to get a feel of if they are approachable, what they might be looking for.  Some people have a idea of what they are looking for some are just out to shop.  I observe the photos they are looking at.  I see the name of the photo on the back and when a customer shows interest in the photo I jump in and tell the story behind that photo.  Their first reaction is "how did you know what photo I was looking at."   They must think I have x-ray vision or something.  But I do...  not.  I always like to greet every customer that comes into my booth for 2 reasons to let the customer know that I know that they are there and if  BIG IF anything is missing at least I know who was there.   It is kinda a 2 fold thing.  I am acknowledging my customers and protecting my product .  Unfortunately things do get stolen at Art Shows so you always have to be on the alert.  At the Art Shows I do strike up lots of conversation with various customers and sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn't, but I know they walked away first with my business card and second having a nice conversation with one of many artists.  Sometimes they comeback to buy.   Sometimes they will ask if I have something like a moose photo and this is something I don't have I will recommend them to another artist who has what they are looking for and I have noticed alot of times they actually stop and look at my work and on a couple of occasions they have bought from me then continue on to the artist I recommended.   Because I recommended another artist to them they take a moment and look at my work even though I didn't have what they wanted.  I have no problem recommending another artist to my customers if I don't have what they are looking for.  Customer Service can be a fine line.  Everyone has their way of dealing with their customers.  This is my way.  I like to think I have a good customer service skills and I know they are not perfect.  In fact far from it and there is always room for improvement.
So keep you booth display neat...You stay neat...and keep Smiling.

FYI (for your information) I just finished reading "UnMarketing Stop Marketing. Start Engaging." by Scott Stratten.  I very much enjoyed the book and I got alot of good information and pointers from the book which I will be implementing this year.   

1 comment:

  1. You said "So why aren't you selling?" I started taking pictures less than two years ago and It's only been a year since I strayed away from the auto camera setting. I still haven't taken a class, had tutor or even read a book about photography. Plus I'm insecure about my photos and I've never printed one. That said I hope to hone my skills and figure out what type/s of photography is best for me. Then hopefully I'll sell something. That would be a dream come true. :)
    Thank you very much for all of your encouraging comments.
    Your posts are very helpful! I'm so glad that you are sharing your experiences.