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Let’s talk customer service for a minute. I want to tell you a story about my studio management software experience this last year. Not familiar? Studio management software programs are basically a way for photographers to organize their businesses behind the scenes online. Need to send invoices people can pay online? Contracts people can sign online? Automate email responses to save you time so you can clean up your two year old’s spaghetti incident at dinner and still be on top of client communication? Need something that organizes you even more or automates your entire booking process with clients online? Well that’s what studio management software does.
First let me rave on automation for a minute. Anything you can automate to make booking easier for your clients or business easier for you is worth it. Anything that lets me take my life back is money well spent. I automate as many things as I possibly can. In this past year with my old studio management system I managed to finally automate email reminders to my clients. I had always hesitated in the past because I didn’t want my emails to seem impersonal and boring to clients, but my clients have raved this year about the email communications with reminders and tips for them. It makes me look better and also helps me keep on track with my clients and ensure all of them have the same great experience with me. I automate a lot of things, emails, social media, etc. To me that’s the biggest appeal of a studio management system, making things easier and more automated for everyone.
So, that brings me to the customer service story. I started with Pixifi ages and ages ago. Even though I was struggling with their system and technology I always stayed with them because Tim Hussey, the owner, was just such an awesome guy. I mean the customer service from this guy was unbeatable. He’s my customer service idol. I strive to try to do things as well as he does. He takes that individual one-on-one service to the next level. One time I deleted a client from my database and Tim spent a few hours with me going back and forth on Facebook until he fixed it just for me. I feel like so many businesses wouldn’t go out of their way to do that kind of thing. That kind of customer service is what always made me an incredibly loyal customer. So, when I left Pixifi for Tave it was kind of a big deal. I had always felt guilty for leaving Tim (Tim is Pixifi) and going somewhere else, but Tave’s system just worked and made more sense in my head at the time. Plus they cost the same (and still do).
But Tim spent the last year just making Pixifi better and better, and he takes customer suggestions to heart – seriously. I’d heard so many good things and I decided to give the trial a go again and see what was different. Man, it was such a different world. It was so much more intuitive. When I didn’t understand something and messed something up when I set up. Tim was quick to explain it and fix it for me. It was obvious that it was just even faster and more awesome than ever so I spent my free trial setting it up and booking a few clients through it, knowing that of course I was going to switch when the time came.
The time did come. I exported everything from Tave, deleted my account and responded to their “why are you leaving” question with customer service. I mean they weren’t really doing anything wrong, there was just something next level to what Tim does with his business.
That prompted this email from Tave:
“Hi Carrie,I saw that you just closed your account with us and mentioned having more personal customer service. Could you give us more feedback on that?We really pride ourselves on our customer service through our FB user group, in-app instant messenger, and free one-to-one video chats so any feedback you have on how we can improve that would be great.”
“Thanks for the email. When I switched to Tave it was because Pixifi at the time didn’t have all the systems in place in an easy-to-use manner. It was complex to set up so when I found you guys it was incredibly refreshing, but I admit I was sad to leave Pixifi, because its creator, Tim Hussey, seriously has the kind of customer service that I’ve yet to encounter in any industry. Leaving Pixifi has always felt like a little bit of a betrayal because despite that they were missing what I needed at the time, I felt loyal to the company. The customer experience is what I always felt so loyal to with them. I own four businesses myself, one with over 7 million readers and I strive to have the level of service that Tim has with Pixifi. When his software had caught up in technology it was time to switch back again because I’ve always felt incredibly loyal to the community he’s created.That’s not to say that your customer service is bad. You guys are doing okay, but it’s missing a more personal element to me. I’d love to see you guys get more invested with getting to know your customers personally. Did you know that today 80% of businesses believe they deliver ‘superior’ customer service and polls show that only 8% of customers agree? Customers are looking for that more personal element. FB groups are great and so are video chats, but I’d love to see you guys get more heavily involved with the photography community. With so many different choices out there in companies the one thing that truly distinguishes any company from another is having an extraordinary customer experience. I can’t put into words what I think you guys are missing, but I don’t feel as loyal and more than ever in today’s world customers are looking for companies that make them want to be loyal. I’d highly recommend you guys read the book Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans by Peter Shankman and start thinking about how you can differentiate your customer service and experience to develop your own loyalists. ;)”
If you’re at all interested in using Pixifi after this I highly recommend it (obviously). Here’s a few blog posts that have been written about Pixifi (or related stuff) on PA over the years. We’re lucky to have Lisa Otto writing for Pixifi over here because she works for them and has a ton of insight and experience, so if you’re ever having trouble she’s a great person to ask for help. While Tim’s customer service is next level, Lisa Otto is a huge part of that!
- 10 Tips for Setting Your Pixifi Account
- Pixifi Product Review
- Wedding Email Templates for Photographers (in case you might be interested in how I automate my wedding client emails)
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