Thursday, December 15, 2011

Business Day Thursday: Ramp Up Your Customer Service With Expedited Delivery

Good Morning Everybody,

Cabo Days2I can't believe our travels to San Jose Del Cabo wrap up in just two more days :~( It's been a great trip but, like they say, there's no place like home. We sort of been removed from the holiday rush while in Mexico, and I can't believe we have only 7 days till Christmas after we touchdown on Saturday evening.

And then, YIKES, it's right back into the swing of things. "No "problemo", it will still be fun to jump right into the season's festivities, listen to the holiday music, and connect with families.

And speaking of the holiday rush, I've got a quick tip for you today that may just ease the craziness of your studio's holiday deliver schedule.  Here we go.

Ramp Up Your Customer Service With Expedited Delivery

Any photography studio owner knows that this is simply the busiest time of the year.  Clients want everything in time for the holidays. And, you can't blame them, you would too, right? The problem also arises that not only do you have a huge volume of orders to complete, you also have to get them delivered to your clients!

Let The Insanity Begin!

Crazy LR - Fotolia_25858311_Subscription_XXLI know what you're thinking, "What's the big deal? Just set an appointment for the clients to come in and pick up their orders." You know, that might work for a very small studio without much to deliver.  But I can remember when we had stacks of albums, extra photographs, framed portraits, etc. still to deliver during that week before Christmas.

The on time delivery issues were further exacerbated by the fact that our clients were super busy too and could not find a time in their schedules that synced with our studio schedule. Nor did we want to work 24/7 to get everything delivered on our client's schedule.  We had families too - we wanted to enjoy the holidays as well.  I still remember those awful early years when the client came first, yes, even before families DURING CHRISTMAS!!!

Hell No! I’m Not Taking It Anymore! (just like the line in the movie, Network)

I was not in a good place back then in the early days of my business and was determined to put a stop to the insanity.  The first change we made was to establish a Christmas cut off date that allowed us to guarantee for us, at least, that we would be able to deliver everything at least one week before Christmas.  This may sound crazy, but it brought sanity back into my life and put my family first where they should be, especially during the holiday season.

OK, that solved a BIG part of the problem, but I was still faced with getting the large physical volume of orders delivered to our clients during the time before Christmas.  The solution was right before my eyes - the clients didn't need to come to my studio to pick up their orders, we just needed to get the order in their hands in time for Christmas.

DAZNOTE: I have to admit, part of my problem was the fact that I wanted to personally deliver every order.  I still do, BTW.  But, with the Christmas rush, I had to make a few exceptions.

Here’s Comes The Sun – and Our Solution

Delivery Service LR - Fotolia_23967144_Subscription_XXLHere is what we started to do.  Back in the earlier days of my business, I set up an account with a local delivery service.  The cost to deliver a package across town sighing an eight hour time frame was about $20 as I recall.  Granted, I could have shipped it UPS and save quite a bit of money.  But, I just didn't want the client's expensive wedding albums bouncing around the UPS delivery system and arrive damaged to the client.  

Using the local delivery service solved any potential problems of items arriving damaged because everything was "hand-delivered"  from our door to our client's door. This personal service touch also made us appear very customer service oriented to all our clients receiving the personally delivered orders. Heck, it was great customer service!

The bottom line was this.  Our delivery costs increased slightly during that short stretch before the holidays, but our clients certainly appreciated the personal touch and we got our lives back - a very nice trade!

DAZNOTE:  We eventually replaced the delivery service with some of my team members’ high school and home-from-college sons and daughters, filling in as our delivery drivers.  They were happy to get the extra cash and we were able to save a few more bucks on the expenses.

Holidays LR - Fotolia_27929687_Subscription_XXLYou know, I am so glad I learned to take control of my business early on and not have it "beat me to death" during the holidays. We found the solutions and have finessed them over the years and have made them work very effectively every year since. I sure hope a few of my insights can help you save the holiday season for you and your families. May your holidays be fun, exciting, and joyous as we get closer to Christmas.  


Hey gang, that's it for me today.  We're heading to Costco to get all of our Help-Portrait images printed and picking up a few additional frames.  We want the images to look great when we deliver them tomorrow.  Have a great rest of the day and I'll see you for a short post tomorrow.

Adios everybody,  David

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