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Archive 2013 · Client Exit Interview
  
 
ssaldana
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Client Exit Interview


Do any of you conduct a client exit interview once all the services and products have been fulfilled? I plan to start doing these soon here to further determine the studio's weaknesses and strengths.


Sep 23, 2013 at 04:23 PM
swoop
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Client Exit Interview


You could probably just use Google Docs to create a survey form that you send to them afterward.


Sep 23, 2013 at 06:45 PM
dhp_sf
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Client Exit Interview


I've thought about this but worry about having clients start thinking about things I did "wrong." If I end up doing a feedback form (which I still might), I'd try to get it focused on things I got right and then strengthen that. Maybe even start thinking about the things that weren't mention in the positive and assume that those are things that need to improve.


Sep 23, 2013 at 06:52 PM
ssaldana
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Client Exit Interview


It can be quite scary making ourselves vulnerable to hearing our weaknesses, though ultimately these can allow us to understand where we really need to focus on improving. I was curious if anyone had any exit surveys already created specifically for wedding photography that I could start from for my own clients.


Sep 23, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Depth of Feel
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Client Exit Interview


Nope. The last thing you want is to force them to decide where you came up short in their expected service to them. If that is the last interaction with them it will affect how they tell their engaged friends and family about your work. It might be possible to ask for feedback before image delivery. Once they see their photos you finish the interaction on the upside. You should be able to critique your own points of service I feel. We almost always can find ways to do better if you think about it.


Sep 23, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Depth of Feel
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Client Exit Interview


Or offer the survey with a print credit. Offer it to clients who you think you did everything right. This way you might learn things that you didn't know before. The print credit balances the last interaction with a positive.


Sep 23, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Client Exit Interview


It's good to seek customer feedback. It's also good to be wise about how you do that. Do it the wrong way, and you risk leading customers to dwell on negatives, and undermining your reputation for expertise.

Most firms that use customer feedback surveys do so in a push-survey format, meaning the survey instrument has two functions: it collects actionable feedback, and it also emphasizes and reinforces positive impressions in the minds of customers, encouraging them to think about sharing those positive impressions with others.

Just asking open-ended "what could we do better" questions is a mistake because it increases risk and misses the value play of a survey.



Sep 23, 2013 at 07:23 PM
ssaldana
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Client Exit Interview


Depth, I like that angle as well, 'engaging for feedback before image release'. Ian, very well-said. Would love to email you for your insight on push-surveys! Next year there will be more primary associate work under the studio and it's so vital to get feedback from clients about their whole experience.


Sep 23, 2013 at 07:32 PM
dhp_sf
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Client Exit Interview


Well I find the concept much riskier with something like wedding photography. You can't really be like "what can we do to make your experience better next time" like a hotel or something. That's my apprehension about the idea. I can generally assess my own performance and analyze how I can handle things better in the future. Remember also that your client doesn't have anything to reference their experience to (unless they were married a previous time and had a wedding photographer to compare you with).

Also many clients are going to be very very different in terms of what they wanted and/or expected. Some will come away wishing they had more portraits, while others may feel like they spent too much time away from their guests.

When I get back from a wedding and am looking at my work, or thinking about the day, I try to assess where things went smooth and when things went rough. If it went rough, how did I handle it? Could I prevent it the next time around? I think there is a lot that can be learned just by walking through a given day and look at what can go better next time or avoided altogether.



Sep 23, 2013 at 07:47 PM
ssaldana
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Client Exit Interview


dhp_sf wrote:
I can generally assess my own performance and analyze how I can handle things better in the future. Remember also that your client doesn't have anything to reference their experience to (unless they were married a previous time and had a wedding photographer to compare you with).


Imagine how great it would be to get down to fine detail on the areas where you never thought you needed improvement, that would improve your overall product and service. A client's critique of your service matters regardless of whether they have a reference point to work from or not.

Also many clients are going to be very very different in terms of what they wanted and/or expected.

Customers will not normally assess a situation in a similar way from one to the next and because of this their opinion should still not be discounted.

An exit interview should have all professionals tread lightly and I still feel a lot can be gained from client's answers. The approach to this wrap-up is key.



Sep 23, 2013 at 08:09 PM
 

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dhp_sf
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Client Exit Interview


Yeah I'm not saying that the client's opinions should be discounted. I think it is important. But I also think it's important for them to come away with a positive experience and memory. The last thing I'd want is for my clients to feel like, "oh I wish we had done this differently." Because they simply can't at that point. Yes it will benefit others later on perhaps and that is positive, so if you can find a way to do it without leaving the possibility for them to feel like they could have gotten something better from you, by all means, go for it.

I'm sort of just playing devil's advocate, but I think that your attitude is totally in the right place and it's great that you're service-focused and client-oriented. I'd be interested in hearing from others about this and if anyone has tried as well and what their experiences were.



Sep 23, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Client Exit Interview


You've got my email -- happy to chat about it.

Feedback is not inherently valuable. It is only valuable
if you can take action that materially improves your
product on the basis of that feedback, and if the action
is action you would not have taken but for the insight the
feedback provided.

Feedback can even be destructive. When you give
feedback to someone, the very act of giving feedback to
someone reinforces whatever viewpoint you express.
Clients who otherwise might have been perfectly happy
with your service or product might significantly alter their
opinions after pondering all the ways in which you could
have improved.

So a well-designed survey elicits actionable feedback while
simultaneously directing the participant's attention
primarily to the ways in which she was satisfied with or
delighted by your service.



Sep 23, 2013 at 08:27 PM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Client Exit Interview


My goodness, some of you folks have a fear of having something wrong or negative with what you do. Face it and fix it. If your clients are truly happy no matter what the review results are you made them satisfied. Fix what can be fixed or improve it. You can't fix something you don't realize is wrong or you don't own up to it. So what they give a review and it reminds them of a little something that was not perfect. I'm sure reasonable clients will be okay with whatever that maybe if you as their photographer did what you said you were going to do.

My glass is half full on nearly everything I do and expect. If it isn't perfect I make an attempt to map out what needs to be done to correct it.



Sep 23, 2013 at 09:00 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Client Exit Interview


cordellwillis wrote:
My goodness, some of you folks have a fear of having something wrong or negative with what you do. Face it and fix it.


It's possible some people here are afraid of bad news, though I wouldn't jump to that conclusion about people's motives here.

For my part, anyway, I mainly want to ensure that I maximize the value of any measures I bother to implement, and to reduce any potential downside.

Survey design is a science. Lots and lots of business owners get it wrong, thinking it is a simple matter of asking customers what they think and acting on whatever feedback they get. In so doing, they waste time, resources, and energy, and in some cases make clients angry.

If you're going to bother with any kind of formal metrics, you're a smart business owner if you invest some time figuring out how to do it right.


Edited on Sep 23, 2013 at 09:52 PM · View previous versions



Sep 23, 2013 at 09:14 PM
ssaldana
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Client Exit Interview


You got it right, Ian.


Sep 23, 2013 at 09:30 PM
cordellwillis
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Client Exit Interview


Ian Ivey wrote:
It's possible some people here are afraid of bad news, though I wouldn't jump to that conclusion about people's motives here.

For my part, anyway, I mainly want to ensure that I maximize the value of any measures I bother to implement, and to reduce any potential downside.

Survey design is a science. Lots and lots of business owners get it wrong, thinking it is a simple matter of asking customers what they think and acting on whatever feedback they get. In so doing, they waste time, resources, and energy, and in some cases make clients angry.

If you're going to bother
...Show more

I did include "some of you folks" in my reply for a reason' I rarely jump to conclusions about people.

Maximizing the value is indeed important so worrying about planting a negative seed as mentioned somewhere here is off track.

I would have to say that survey design isn't much of a science because we're dealing with human emotions at a particular moment in time. Though I think surveys/reviews are valuable a lot of respondents don't answer the questions at hand. You ever read Amazon reviews about a product? Low star ratings because the seller did something wrong and pissed off the buyer.

Again, I think it's a great idea but you have to weed out the crap and not get discouraged or overly encouraged. This is why I think the replies to this thread thus far are fearful for no reason.



Sep 24, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Nikon_14
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Client Exit Interview


This sounds all well and good...

Til you call up a bride who know received great images, and thoughts like "We just spent $30k on a party- how do we get it back?" and "My friends told me he wasn't the one for me, anyway" enter her mind... or how "My brother is starting up a media company and he says he'll do better in his first wedding".

Because, remember how easy this stuff was- before you started shooting it?


cordellwillis wrote:
Again, I think it's a great idea but you have to weed out the crap and not get discouraged or overly encouraged. This is why I think the replies to this thread thus far are fearful for no reason.




Sep 24, 2013 at 05:37 PM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Client Exit Interview


ssaldana wrote:
Do any of you conduct a client exit interview once all the services and products have been fulfilled?


I would never ask them directly what they thought. My attitude in regard to hearing from them after the job is, "No news is good news".



Sep 25, 2013 at 01:21 AM
Depth of Feel
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Client Exit Interview


D. Diggler wrote:
I would never ask them directly what they thought. My attitude in regard to hearing from them after the job is, "No news is good news".


I would love to agree with you, but I almost feel the opposite. Most of my clients write me a thank you note or an email telling me how happy they are. It's the ones I don't hear from that make me nervous. I usually find out after the fact though that I'm just being paranoid. But there have been a few where I am glad I don't hear anything.



Sep 25, 2013 at 03:07 AM
Micky Bill
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Client Exit Interview


Maybe five years ago it would have been welcomed by the client but these days after almost every interaction you have with a company you are requested to "answer a few questions regarding your experience, all calls will be recorded for training purposes". Makes no difference if it's Chik fil a, Jiffy Lube, Time Warner Cable, or Honda they all are "interested" in my response....
But if you do it make it worthwhile to the client and not a desperate "how'd did I do, do you still like me?"



Sep 25, 2013 at 08:36 PM
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