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Customer Satisfaction

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  • Customer Satisfaction

    I am planning to start my own restoration business soon, and one of the problems that is going through my head is "what if the customer is not satisfied with my work?" I guess you could say I don't have a whole lot of confidence in myself. Has anyone had any experience with a customer telling them that they aren't satisfied with the work? Aside from offering to make further changes to the image, which I will of course do, what have you done to try and please the customer?

  • #2
    Being a good business person requires a touch of tempered arrogance.

    1. If you feel there's the slightest possibility your work might be substandard, don't go into business.
    2. You know (or should know) much better than any customer what makes up quality retouching. Work on their project until you think "wow, that's good!" and you'll never have any trouble with a customer.
    3. Never ask "what do you think?". It puts them on the spot, daring them to say something intelligent, which usually means they'll feel obligated to say something bad (which sounds smarter than praise). And never admit to weakness up front (ie: before they complain) like "I had trouble with the eyes".
    4. If, after following the above ruthlessly, the customer still has even the slightest quibble, the only correct response is "yes, you're right, I'll take care of it immediately".
    Learn by teaching
    Take responsibility for learning


    • #3
      The only time you will have a real problem is if you promise more than you can deliver. I never tell a client that the job seems easy, even if I really do think so. The client wants to feel like he's gettign his money's worth -- and you better provide that or don't go into business.


      • #4
        Doug gives some excellent advice!

        Just by the fact that you are worried about customer satisfaction tells me that you are probably a perfectionist incapable of substandard work!

        In my experience, it typically isn't a question of a customer not being satisfied but more of the nature of the process. Image restoration is subjective, so getting an image to look like what the customer envisioned is sometimes a challenge. Understand you may not get it right the first time.

        If you treat every customer's work as if it were your own, then you will do just fine.

        Milkay Photography


        • #5
          Thanks for the advice guys. It's true, I am a perfectionist, and I can't ever get anything "perfect" in my eyes. I'm really not worried that most of my customers won't be pleased or anything like that... it's just that there are certain people in the world who can never be satisfied with anything, no matter how good a job you do. Does anyone ever run up against someone like this?


          • #6
            While the very large majority of people will be happy with the job *if you are*, there is always the guy who can't be satisfied. I'd say a good approach to this would be to tell him if he wants to have it done by another *reputable business*, he can do that. If he can get a better job for the same price or less than you've given him, you should give him a refund. Of course, he'll have to show you a receipt and the finished restoration. If you don't agree the other is better than yours, no refund is needed. Just be careful in your assessment of the other's work. If it is better, it's in your best interest to give a refund, and chalk it up to experience. That's my opinion, and it should keep your reputation intact.


            • #7
              From my experience, customer's who seek restoration work, are not usually difficult individuals. Unlike many types of sales, they have sought you out.
              They are always optimistic, and hoping for the best. Unless you've exaggerated your abilities (and thus their expectations are then exaggerated), most are happy to pay for the work.
              If you provide "before and after" examples of your work so they have an idea of what they can expect, and are truthful about your capablities in regards to repairing their photo, you are less likely to encounter problems.
              I've always offered a 100% money back guarantee, and never had to use it.


              • #8
                I allow for a few revisions in my estimate. The customer knows that. But after a while I'll tell the customer we can go at this as long as he wants, but the revisions from then on are billed at my hourly rate. At that point I give him the opportunity to cancel the order for a full refund. However, if he accepted any materials (CD or prints) I will keep his 50% deposit. I don't take returns. BTW, it's never happened.


                • #9
                  The idea about the money back refund sounds pretty fair. I just figured if I offered something like that people would try to abuse it. Glad to hear thats not the case.


                  • #10
                    Many times the customer has no idea how good something can can look and quite a surprising number are wholly satisfied with pure mediocrity. I think they're called the 'lowest common denominator' and there's more out there than you can shake a stick at.

                    After spending a couple of hours on an absolute disaster, I called the customer and told him, "this image is crap and there's virtually nothing I can do to help it."
                    I did my best ... still looked like crap ... printed the job and he loved it.

                    Don't be overcritical of your work. Odds are you will do fine but you must first generate confidence. There's always somebody that is better than someone else. I get junk for art lots of times and these people work at sizeable ad agencies, etc. I figure if THEY can keep their job putting stuff like that out the door then ANYone can.

                    my 2 cents


                    • #11
                      Don't forget. A money back guarantee is a great confidence booster for your client. Use that and testimonials in your marketing and you'll do alright.


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