In such a reactive industry like the Wedding Industry you would expect that the relationship you build with your client is going to end once goods are provided/final payments are taken. This, however, is not the case.
Your relationship with your client, in today’s social media saturated market, now has to (and will) continue after your initial business relationship has ended – whether you want it to or not!
After the wedding your couple are a potential source for continued revenue in several different ways, which is great, but they also have the potential to damage your potential revenue stream in the future. Let’s look at how a great follow up can work well and provide you with additional and continued revenue, and how a bad customer relationship transition can make things more difficult.
Case Study: You are a photographer. You build a great relationship during the wedding planning and provide fabulous work after the wedding which you are sure your clients are so impressed with.
Sounds great, right?
Well, that is great but if you don’t follow up well you may find that a number of negative outcomes happen.
So what is a Customer Relationship Transition and how can you make sure it’s a good one?
A Customer Relationship Transition is when your client moves from being a current client to a post-client relationship. This needs to be smooth, comfortable, resolving of any differences and, for the purposes of continued sales, managed in order to ensure that open lines of potential sales are still available.
In the case above this might look like the following:
- Sending a personal note with the product offering thanks for the business and some personal thoughts on the wedding day
- Following up with the clients 3-4 days later with a call to check they have received the goods, enjoyed the images and if there was anything further you could help with such as additional prints, more copies etc. Please note this is an opportunity to (softly) upsell some of the other products you might offer.
- In the same call, asking for some feedback – hopefully they rave about you (and let’s be fair, you should have some idea if they are happy by now) and providing positive feedback ask them to provide you with a formal review which you can post onto your website and any third party sites you use. (It might even be worth making this easy for them, providing they are happy to do so, by sending them the links to the load review pages from your third party sites etc.)
- Following up after the call with any of the items requested or resolving any issues raised. Don’t be afraid to ask the direct question – “are you happy with everything?”. You need to know and they need to be heard!
All of this sounds pretty standard practice however, more often than not, these key touchpoints after the wedding are forgotten and some rather unfortunate outcomes can happen. If you do not ask for feedback, some people will not provide it, but they will quite happily vent across social media or by posting reviews. If you follow up, you have an opportunity to resolve any issues early and pre-empt any potential negativity. You might even be able to sway them from a negative to a positive review if this is handled appropriately! (See our Complaint Handling Post for more information on this).
So this is great, a nice transition, but how can this provide potential additional revenue in the future?
In the case of the example above, you could try some of the following:
- More Touchpoints: You know when their wedding day was, why don’t you send them an anniversary card? You could even offer a voucher for money off an anniversary shoot. (There are lots of other types of positive anniversary follow ups for other types of vendors of course.) This would provide you with a second touch and provide you with an opportunity for secondary revenue from the same client. Not to mention the secondary positive experience that this couple will receive from you. Moving on from this you could even be booked to photograph other anniversaries, family shoots and of course ensure they are still thinking about you a year after their wedding!
- Reviews, Reviews, Reviews! I cannot stress this enough, reviews are so key! More positive reviews = more likely to buy. Couples use online reviews over 90% of the time to source their vendors, not to mention the recommendations they receive from word of mouth from friends and family.
- Real Weddings: If you have a great experience with a couple, why not ask them to allow you to get them featured as a real wedding. You don’t have to be a photographer to do this either – providing the couple are happy, speak with the photographer and see if you can get them involved!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals: You are confident your couple love you, why not ask them to refer you to their friends and family for your services. You can even offer a little thank you gift if they do, ie. a special offer voucher!
So you can see above how a good Customer Relationship Transition can help build your business and provide you with new opportunities and continued revenue, but how can a bad Customer Relationship Transition negatively impact you?
We already touched upon this a little where feedback is not requested and instead the couple choose to vent their frustrations across social media etc. The biggest thing to remember, however, is that, typically, when someone has a positive experience they will tell up to 10 additional people about it without additional prompting but if that same person has a negative experience they can tell over 15 people instead! Multiply that by the social media mindset and you could see a huge positive or negative outcome depending on the result!
That’s a lot more people being told negative things. So no formal transitional process could result in either outcome of up to 10 positive responses or over 15 negative ones! If you make sure you follow up appropriately with your clients, and ensure a lovely Customer Relationship Transition, you can increase those positive reviews exponentially or reduce any potential negative feelings significantly and greatly reduce the fallout.
So next time you are nearing completion of work for your client, think about your Customer Relationship Transition. How can you make sure this customer becomes an advocate for you? How can you make sure they are shouting about how great you are and not moaning about their experience? The follow-up is so key to making sure they are still shouting about you weeks, months and years from now.
What are your top tips for a great followup? Or got questions? comment below!
Featured Image: Nicola Norton Photography