The FASTEST Way To Destroy Your Photography Business


I got a call about 3 weeks ago from a disgruntled client of a colleague of mine. Apparently since my colleague (whom at this point I’m not pleased to be associated with) has covered their wedding in August, no album or DVD has been delivered. I eventually called the photographer in question hoping that the story the client told me had some holes. He eventually admitted that everything the client said was true and that he will unfailingly deliver the album on October 24, 2013 (2 weeks after the call). I insisted that he should put a call through to the client and stop avoiding the clients call; something I consider to be the highest level of disrespect towards a client.

October 24 came and went and I eventually called the client in question to ask if anything had been delivered. To my surprise (and I must admit, I was very surprised), the photographer had neither delivered the job nor called the client to give a cogent reason for not meeting the deadline (of which there no longer seems to be a reason that will be cogent enough). The following was the mail that the client eventually sent to the photographer.

Hello Lagbaja,
24th of october has elasped which is the EXTENDED DEAD LINE for our Wedding Video/Photo book to be ready. You have taken I and my Wife for granted again & again and I have always reasoned with you and spoken to you calmly cos we are CITIZEN’S of BLW NATION. I had to call up your Coach to talk to him about your actions, which resulted to the 14 days extra which elapsed yesterday 24th October 2013, and By that action We have exhausted all our options. Am giving you a 7 days period of GRACE from today 25th October-1 November 2013. From 2nd November, 2013 ACTIONS will be taken against you, If We don’t get our wedding materials.
Regards,
Your Disgruntled Client

What makes this situation personal for me was the fact that the client contacted me because he found out that the photographer did a course in our photography academy. As much as I was not happy about the misdeeds of the photographer in question, I’ve noticed some service providers engage in such unethical behavior (something I’ve been also guilty of). However, I’ve discovered that this is the worst type of marketing you can provide for your business as a dissatisfied client is likely to market his dissatisfaction to 30 or more people while a satisfied client might market to just 5 or more people. Either way you do the maths, you’re on the pathway to looking for a new job in another industry (hoping someone will even hire you) if this is not stopped. And sometimes, all it takes is for one client to be disgruntled; you’ll need to build about 2-5 years worth of goodwill to cover the heart-break you’ve caused. I’ve been there and can tell you that as a fact.

This is an attempt to appeal to the photographer in question and to all service providers (especially in Nigeria) to desist from such unscrupulous behavior as it only ends in the pathway of destruction. We all have issues we deal with, but I’ve since realized that the average client/person is usually understanding when you keep them in the loop of what is happening instead of avoiding their calls or calling them back. The least we can do is to keep in touch and call or email the client. They deserve that. Either do that or refund the clients’ money (something most client might not even prefer especially since they only plan to do the ceremony once in a lifetime). It’s another way of robbing them of their money at gun point. Enough said. Let’s strive to be business people with Integrity.

 

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4 comments

  1. Olanrewaju · October 29, 2013

    Love this post, I am a photographer and this has actually happened to me before. A client called me up because he found out i was friends with a photographer he hired for his wedding, who unfortunately didn’t deliver at the stipulated deadline and was also avoiding the client. It was an awkward moment for me because both the client and the photographer in question are friends of mine. Anyway, long story-short; It is always advisable to keep the clients in the loop, call them, text them, email them to let them know what is happening with their wedding pictures.

    Like

  2. Paul odijie · October 29, 2013

    As a passionate wedding and corporate event photographer, i covered my first international wedding with a client from Austria. I was given just a week to deliver the job (for which i forgot to charge extra for the urgency). I shot the wedding & ran out of money. (In trying to exceed the client’s expectations, i spent more money on better lens). I tried to get the job done but could not. On the day of the delivery, i called the client & asked to come see them. They got angry when i told them the situation. I sincerely apologied & offered to pay DHL to ship the album to them. I showed them the edited images (showing them with a background song; which help to calm their anger). They were happy and even pay more money for extra prints.
    My advice:
    1. If the clients are from yoruba, appeal to their emotion by going to see them in person with an elderly person & APOLOGIZE TO THEM POSTRATING ON THE FLOOR.
    2. Offer to bear the cost of the delay.
    3. Be willing to take a lost to keep the client.
    4. Get the job done no matter what. (If you have lost the images, tell them so and offer solutions). The images can be retrieved by the way.
    5. Finally, take this advice from Mr Kelechi Amadi-obi: “NEVER LIE TO A CLIENT”

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