Reevaluate Your Senior Experience with Jessica Robertson
How often do you have an interaction with a business that just totally WOWS and AMAZES you? Have you ever had an experience that affects you so very much that you want to reevaluate your own business’s customer experience and every aspect of how your business functions? Honestly, it is so incredibly rare but it happened to me and it completely changed my business model.
Recently I interviewed three orthodontists with my oldest daughter. The first two experiences were as I would have expected: The doctors were professional and the environment was sterile and appropriate. The third orthodontic practice we went to was AMAZING and FUN in every single aspect. When I contacted the practice, the reception was enthusiastic and the representative asked very caring questions about my daughter’s feelings toward dental work. He followed up, as promised, with some online forms but said we could also just fill them out when we came. On the day of the consultation, we pulled into the parking lot and noticed the parking spaces were outlined with hundreds of painted teeth on the pavement instead of just basic lines, which we thought was a fun detail. Per instructions, we waited in the car until we were texted to come in. Before we reached the door, the door opened and a smiling face greeted us, “Hello, Jessica and Grace, please come in!” The interior of the practice was bright with natural light and upbeat music was playing in the background. We walked past a white board with a joke of the day and an ice cream cart. We were guided into a room with a glass door where we were once again welcomed kindly with a big smile and an enthusiastic demeanor.
At this point, I thought to myself, “These people are all so happy and cheerful, have they been using some of that laughing gas too?” I could go on and on about the experience which included state of the art technology, making a seemingly boring process super fun, and top-notch professionalism of the staff and orthodontist. In the end, I was simply blown away! As I am not typically impressed with most customer service experiences, I ended up telling our orthodontist, who is also the original founding doctor for the practice. And the best thing happened… He shared his secret. The basis of his practice started with a book called “Fish! A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results.” He thanked me for my feedback and said, “I’ll send you a copy.” And a few days later, it arrived along with a fun book for my daughter as well.
I have been a professional photographer for nearly 22 years and this very short book has changed how I am running my business. I asked my two team members to read the book as well and then we had a planning meeting to reevaluate and reimagine our business. Yes, the book was affirmational in the sense that we are doing many things really well for our clients, community and as a team, but it challenged us to think of how we can be better. So when we, as photographers, think about client experience, how can we be and do better for our clients?
Here are a few ways we have improved our client experience, the interactions we have with our community, and very importantly, how we are ensuring that the studio is a place where we want to come to work.
Core Values and Community
Before you can give a great experience, I believe you must be secure and intentional in the business you want to create. What are your business’s core values? Have you written them down? Do you share them with your clients? Do you run your business with them in mind? If you have employees, do they function daily with the core values in mind? My team currently includes Robin and Karen. Robin has been with our company for 13 years and Karen for 10 years. Thankfully, our team is strong, but we gathered recently to discuss our core values. When I started the studio, I established what I thought they should be, but the creative process of establishing our core values as a team was very valuable. You might notice that “love” is in the center of our core values. We show love for one another and we act lovingly towards our clients. These core values guide us daily in our interactions with each other and our community. We share these core values with our clients so they understand the kind of business they are working with.
To remind us to “choose our attitude” (which is a lesson from the book), we made this fun sign to represent our team. Our goal each day is to “make someone’s day.” We genuinely care about each and every client.
Our studio is on the main road in our town and the train runs through the center causing cars to back up in front of the studio. We wanted to spread a little positivity, so we installed a light-up sign with a positive message that we change each week. We encourage community involvement by inviting them to submit quotes. Small touches can have an impact too!