I thought this is a perfect time to talk about the above subject as we start the year. This case study is created for people who would like to know how to approach unreasonable clients. This is not a thread started to flame clients, nor rant on petty issues.
These issues happen on our subsidiary company, Bambini Photography.
The purpose of this thread is to create scenario on how one approach for the unreasonable request or unreasonable clients on business of photography.
Please share them objectively so we can build a thread for people to refer to when they hit with this situation.
Here is a few things that you need to start with:
1. If you have a dream, you need to protect it.
2. Do your best in providing the honest business practice
3. Be consistent in your business practice
4. Stand by your belief and understand why you create this belief.
Inevitably, when you run your business you will run into clients who believe that they can outsmart the "system" but making you feel "less" so you are following the unreasonable demand.
I have just dealt with 2 cases today and these are the 4 cases that I need to dealt with in the last 4 years in business in Singapore.
Case Study 1: Clients want more than agreed to (discount, more inclusion, etc)
In typical day, what I learn that in Singapore, when you complaint, you will be attend to and to a point, they will offer you a discount to "Shut you up". So this is fairly common. But this should not be the way.
Here is what you need to do:
1. Identify the "real issue" by asking questions.
2. Identify the "motive" of the "fake issue"
3. Understanding your position
4. Do not get worked up and continue to have a clear mind understand your own belief.
5. Be consistent, if you need time, call the client back later when you have a thought through it
6. Let the clients speak
7. try to understand that, although word might be hurtful and personal, it is purely business.
8. Don't jump in conclusion and ask for clarification if you don't really understand what the clients want.
9. Do not try to win the argument as you can win the fight but lose the war.
I received a phone call this afternoon stating that the client is not happy with the picture and believe that the charge what we set is too steep for the quality that we produce and asking me if we could meet the client in between for the pricing to acquire digital negative.
The issue here was, the session was purchase as a gift and client didn't ask any questions prior to booking.
It is our standard way of explaining to the client who purchase our service how everything works and the pricing, so there is no hidden things, however, due to this being a gift, the issue is the communication breakdown between the giver and the recipient.
We operate in a way that we charge a price to do our work and the client is invite to purchase anything that they want. Remember, our policy is no selling of anything unless clients want to purchase them in their accord.
So naturally, my answer to the request will be, since we are not selling anything, if they clients are not happy with the image quality, they are not obligated to purchase anything.
I spend about 50 minutes on the phone with the clients to put a simple point across and that is we are not selling our work, but we do allow clients to purchase our work. This is very different, but might sound the same...
First offering different options based on the information given to me, but asking a lot of questions to start with.
Later I found out after further communication, is that, they are not interested in the options given, hence the information given by the clients was not the "actual" issue.
So after much questioning and asking clarification, we arrive at the same point, meeting in between in terms of the pricing for softcopy. So this is the real issue.
Sometimes, it is easier to just give in and conventional wisdom might tells you that you just meet them in between, everyone happy and you make some money.
So the issue with the above scenario is that, your price for digital negatives will now based on the price that you agreed between you and this client and so, the next client who come as "recommendation" will simply use the same way to get the same price, if you do it once, you will expect to do it, twice, three times and so on.
So being consistent on pricing and providing service, put you in a position where you know you just need to put the point across.
So lesson learn is: Understanding the real issue and stand by your belief.
I am protecting my photographers by dealing with the clients directly, as young photographers, it is often too scary to stand up to client's criticism so they can concentrate building their vision as a photographer.