MAKING CUSTOMER SERVICE GOALS THAT BENEFIT YOUR BUSINESS
"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pelé
Customer service is arguably the most important part of any business. You can have an outstanding product or service, but if your customers don’t get treated well, they’ll go somewhere else.
How can photographers make sure they give their customers not only the best product but the kind of service that makes them come back and refer their friends? By setting customer service-related goals, measuring them, and adapting them to suit your business style and type.
In this article you’ll 5 goals you can set for your photography business today that will improve your customer service, how to set those goals to make them attainable, and how to measure them to see if they’re working.
Before we get into what the goals are, it’s important to talk about why goal setting is for a photography business is important, and what the best method is for setting and achieving goals.
photograph by Shian Bang
It takes months to find a customer...seconds to lose one.
— VINCE LOMBARDI
Why Goal Setting is important
A goal without a plan is just a dream, and businesses don’t run on dreams, they run on action. If you want to have a successful photography business with exceptional customer service, you need to know what actions to take to get there.
Goal setting takes hopes and dreams and makes them achievable, setting a roadmap to follow so you can take actionable steps toward success. If you don’t set goals, you’ll wander around in the dark trying several paths but never knowing why you aren’t making progress.
In addition to creating a battle plan for the future, goal setting also holds you accountable to the hopes you have for yourself and your business.
Goal setting doesn’t work well when goals are vague and have lots of wiggle room. Goals like, “I want to make more money this year,” cannot be planned for because there is no measure of success. Goals like, “I want to make $50,000 more this year through email marketing,” gives you enough information to make plans and take action.
S.M.A.R.T. is a system for goal setting that will help you create and achieve your goals.
S: Specific. In order to be achievable, a goal has to be specific enough that you’ll know when you’ve reached it.
M: Measurable. If you can’t measure your progress toward your goal, you won’t know how far you are from success.
A: Attainable. Don’t make goals for yourself that are so unrealistic you’ll never reach them in the allotted time. You should absolutely reach high, but setting realistic goals can hurt your confidence and productivity.
R: Relevant. All goals should be relevant to your overall goal for your business.
T: Time-sensitive. Without an end date, a goal can stretch on forever and never be realized.
S: I want to earn $10,000 more from returning customers this quarter.
M: I’ll measure this by comparing the revenue from returning customers this quarter, to that from last quarter.
R: Increasing the lifetime value of my customers will help grow my business.
T: I must earn $10,000 more from returning customers in the next 3 months.
Now that we’ve talked about how to set goals, it’s time to talk about customer service and what goals will help you improve this all-important aspect of your business.
5 Customer Service Based Goals
I feel many new users of 3D software have the most awkward experience when diving into this journey. Learning a new interface, verbiage, tools, and functions is always rough, regardless of whether you're using Cinema 4D or not. Learning the fundamentals of 3D is vitally important. Learning how to Navigate 3D space, create and move objects, modeling basics, material creation, lighting, and rendering your final product is a must. This comes with time and experience and is not only fun but transferable to other 3D software!
In the video below, we cover a tool called Splines, which is a very similar tool and concept at the pen tool in Photoshop and a hugely important tool for you to learn and master.
Customer Service is the heart of the business. It is recognizing that your customers have a problem, and your business exists to give them solutions. Without great customer service, most businesses, especially small businesses, won’t last long.
These 5 goals will help you increase your customer service skills, resulting in higher customer happiness and more money for your business.
Business systems are essentially the operating procedures for how things get done in your business. Whether it’s the customer journey, how you interact with customers, or how you print and ship your photographs, every business should have systems in place that allow them to get consistent results every time.
Creating a system around customer service ensures your clients get consistently great service no matter what problems they encounter.
A small part of a system for customer service might look something like this:
If a customer contacts by email
- A ticket is created in the system
- An automated email is sent telling the customer their complaint has been received and will be responded to
- A notification is sent to the customer service rep or department
- 24-hour timer starts for a service representative to respond to the ticket
Creating systems gives you and your employees a game plan for how to set standards for customer service and measure whether you’re meeting them.
FAQ’s and K-Bases
FAQ’s, or Frequently Asked Questions, and Knowledge Bases (k-base) are tools you can create that allow customers access to information they can take advantage of on their own time without going through customer service.
An FAQ section on your website should address the most frequently asked questions and concerns clients have about your products and services. FAQ’s can live by themselves on your website, or in the knowledge base, itself.
A K-Base is essentially an encyclopedia about your business and how it functions. It can include things like
- Frequently asked questions
- Product usage guides
- Instructional videos
- Introductory articles
Setting up a knowledge base is something that can be done a bit at a time so it doesn’t eat all your available man-hours, but it can be an invaluable resource for your customers. And, once the knowledge base is built, you can direct customers there for answers, freeing up your customer service team (even if it’s only you) to handle problems that cannot be dealt with otherwise.
In addition, the more robust and intelligent your knowledge base, the better it works as the “brain” for live chatbots, if you choose to employ them on your website.
Too many small businesses overlook the one aspect of customer service that could be making them the most money: follow-ups.
Whether the follow-up comes in the form of customer calls, emails, gifts, or some other creative outreach, following up with your customers shows them that you don’t simply see them as a walking checkbook. Follow-ups remind your customers that you care about establishing a relationship with them, and you’re willing to go the extra mile to make sure they’re happy.
Building and maintaining these healthy relationships with your customers increases long-term customer happiness, customer lifetime value and the likelihood your customers will refer you to their network. It also decreases turnover.
Choose a follow-up method that works for you and your business, but put this on your list of goals, and don’t forget to write up a system for it.
If your business is big enough or profitable enough, you might consider adding service representatives to your goal list.
Service representatives can help you in several ways, from booking appointments to handling customer service calls. Hair and makeup artists and stylists are also customer service people. They are essentially your front-line service people who will be responsible for how your customers feel about their experience with your business. Working with people like this can add an additional level of care to customer service but also gives you a bit more freedom from the weight of being responsible for all these tasks yourself.
If having the time to deal with customers directly is an important part of your business model, one goal you might make is outsourcing tasks that could be taking up too much of your time.
If you’ve never heard of the 80/20 rule, it goes something like this: 80% of your income will come from 20% of your efforts. You may be doing things that aren’t actually contributing to bringing in income.
Look at your tasks and find out what you can pare away, what needs to be done by your hand, and what you can outsource. It could me booking, retouching, bookkeeping, or any number of tasks. But outsourcing gives you the freedom to focus on the areas of your business that need your personal attention.
What does this have to do with customer service? The more time you have to create amazing products and services, the more time you have to spoil your customers, the happier they will be. A common argument against outsourcing is that many people can’t afford it, but that’s why making this a goal is so important.
Once you’ve looked at your business to see what tasks can be outsourced, figure out how much it will cost you and where you fit those expenses. You can pass them on to your customer, you can remove unfruitful and time consuming tasks, you can increase your bookings, there is an unlimited number of ways you can plan to turn profits toward outsourcing.
But once you do, you’ll likely find your revenue increases because you have more time to spend on the 20% of tasks that cause most of your income...like interacting with customers.
Making goals for customer service is something positive you can do for your business today that has long-term implications for the success of your business. When you build systems that establish customer expectations from the beginning and give them a high standard of service they can rely on, you’ll build the kind of customer experience people will rave about.
Make sure the goals you create are SMART, and suited to how you want to run your business, but don’t let another day go by without making goals that improve your business. Your clients will be happier when you achieve these goals, and so will you.