Friday, November 15, 2013

What might have been..

This might have been the outfit I wore for our family photos that were suppose to happen this weekend. Booking a photographer is a funny thing. Now-a-days there is a photographer blog/facebook page around every virtual corner. Word of mouth plays a big part in finding someone since there aren't exactly store fronts for customers to walk into and check the place out.

I booked a photographer based on photos taken for my cousins engagement. A pretty solid endorsement, right? Not that I actually talked to my cousin about the experience, but the pictures turned out great. So, I went ahead and sent a message on this persons photography website. They responded back that same day, which I love (be prompt with me and you'll have my heart forever). This was at the end of July and they didn't have a weekend open until November. Geez!! But busy was a good sign, RIGHT?! So, I booked the appointment for November.

I dropped off our non-refundable appointment fee {which my Mom paid for, by the way} at a local lawyers office, by slipping it in the mail slot. That might sound hinky, but I understand how it can be if this is a side business or start up business. But, I did want to make sure the envelope made it into the correct hands since I wasn't able to personally deliver it into the photographers hands. I sent a few emails and a facebook message over a span of a few days, with no response. It took quite a while for the photographer to get back to me just to let me know that they did in fact get the money. This was my first red flag.

Let's fast forward to the end of October. I haven't heard anything from the photographer since July. The appointment is in two weeks. I didn't know where we would be meeting or when or if we were clear on what we wanted to do, so I sent another email to her. Four days later, I still had not heard anything back. The longer it went with no reply the angrier I got. I don't ask for much, as a customer, but I AM still a customer and I expect a bare minimum of customer service. Leaving a customer hanging for days and days just isn't acceptable in my me old fashioned or high maintenance or whatever you want. So I sent a facebook message and told them that since I was having such a hard time getting any response from them I didn't feel comfortable moving forward with our appointment and wanted to cancel.

They got back with me that same day, imagine that. So the only time I could get them to answer me back in a timely manner was when I booked the appointment and when I cancelled the appointment. Any questions in between were put on the back burner. Basically they gave me a bunch of excuses, told me that they normally email the client a week before the appointment (which I would have loved to know...but was never told that) and my email two weeks before the appointment threw them off. HHmmm..yes, I can see how a simple 'Hey, our appointment is coming up soon. Do you need any more info from me?' email might totally throw someone off their game. And then they tell me that although they think cancelling the appointment is dramatic they would respect my wishes.

Isn't that so nice of them?

I was floored. Because, as a customer, I had never been made to feel so unimportant. This person was aware that they did not reply back to me in a timely manner and didn't really care and still made a point to try and undermine how I was feeling as a customer...which was implying that I was overreacting.

I've just never had anything like that happen to me before. And it's made me a little gun shy about attempting to seek out and/or book another photographer.

So..for all you photographer like people out there..I know your schedules can get super busy and booked. But, let this be a lesson about how important it can be to communicate with people. Your clients are important (and so is word of mouth business), don't leave them hanging. Even if they are annoying...even if they over-email you (which I don't think I was doing, by any stretch of the imagination)...even if you have to answer the same question a million times...even if you have to stay up until 1:00AM answering your emails. It's a vital part of your business and should never be ignored.

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