Outstanding Customer Service


February 17, 2024

Liz Viernes Photography has been in business for seven years and in that time, while I have had some client issues that needed to be resolved, I have *never* had an unsatisfied customer (really hoping I’m not jinxing myself here). Providing outstanding customer service is definitely something to be proud of and something that I strive to carry into the future of my business.

So, what does good customer service entail? What does it take to reduce the risk of having an unsatisfied customer? My husband, who works in an industry that often (sadly) produces unsatisfied customers, helped me brainstorm the qualities of a business that provides outstanding customer service and results in SATISFIED customers.

family portraits with white sheer curtains in the background


I know that, for me, being on time or early, is very important. I take pride in being where I promised I would be at the time, or even five minutes before, I promised to be there. When I schedule a consultation phone call, knowing that most people dislike talking on the phone – MYSELF INCLUDED – I clarify the date and time of the phone call and promise to text shortly beforehand to make sure it’s still a convenient time. I text when I say I will and call promptly when I promised I would. This is a quality of outstanding customer service and goes a long way in eliminating an unsatisfied customer.

I’m no longer a brand new, super eager photographer who has no chill but, when an email comes in, I try to answer within 24 hours (honestly, it’s usually well before that). I have many prewritten templates that answer the most commonly asked questions so it’s not hard to plug a personal response into one of those templates and hit send. That makes the customer feel heard and acknowledged without having to wait around and simmer.

If an issue does crop up, I handle it immediately. I recently had a client who reached out about a defect on the metal print she ordered. I immediately emailed back and then texted a few days later to make sure she got my response. It’s as important to me that you are thrilled with your results as it is to you! I never want my lack of a prompt response to be the reason for less than outstanding customer service.

mom and daughter pose for portraits at outdoor Burtonsville photo studio

Personal Touch

I am a warm, friendly person. I may be an introvert in my personal life (fun fact: I didn’t realize how introverted I was until Covid) but it’s safe to call my outward persona an ambivert, meaning that I become an extrovert when the conditions are right. Present me with an attentive, eager-to-follow-instructions new, young family and it’s Go Time. I jump right into my extroverted self and away we go.

I like to think I leave every session feeling like I’ve just made my new best friends. Maybe it doesn’t always go that way but one of my goals is to be so approachable, so personal, so laidback and easy to work with that not only are my clients thrilled with their photos, they’re also in love with the silly, fun memories from the session! It’s hard for someone to be an unsatisfied customer or to say they received less than outstanding customer service when they feel truly seen by their photographer and have such good memories from our time together!

father and daughter snuggle in front of white sheer backdrop

Listening to Customer Needs

It’s so important to me to have clients that are 100% satisfied that I have been known, on occasion, to turn potential clients away because I can already tell that we won’t be a good fit. What??! Who turns a client away? Well, I do, if I know I can’t deliver what they’re looking for… promising and then under-delivering is the #1 way to ensure an unsatisfied customer.

Need an example? I recently had a husband reach out to me about maternity photos. He wanted the session to be a gift for his wife. He admitted that she tends to be insecure about her self-image – even more so during pregnancy – and that photos tend to be hard for her. He also admitted that, while he was personally drawn to my style, he was concerned his wife might not like the light and airy look.

I fully knew that by encouraging him to talk to his wife and show her my portfolio, I was ensuring that I wouldn’t hear from them again. However, that didn’t matter to me as much as knowing that they would be so much happier with another photographer. I hate thinking that I might make promises to someone that I can’t deliver and there’s no way to come back from that without a whole lot of time and effort involved. In listening to customer needs – really dialing in and paying attention to what they’re saying – it’s so much easier to provide outstanding customer service.

family celebrates daughter's first birthday with family portraits in the grass

Clear Communication/Adequate Information

I’ve spent a LOT of time behind the scenes creating resources that are clear, concise, and full of answers to most of the questions that I’ve ever been asked (and when new questions come up, I find a way to incorporate that new information in my existing resources). It’s my goal to provide these resources BEFORE a client asks for them so they can be as prepared as possible for their session and feel like they’ve received outstanding customer service.

Sometimes a client doesn’t know what questions they need to ask and the session guides that I’ve prepared for each different session type covers it all. If the answer isn’t in the session guide, it’s probably not a detail that is relevant.

During our consultation phone call, I present the information that I’ve honed over the years that will help the prospective client know whether we’d be a good fit. The info I share about newborn sessions is different than that for maternity sessions or cake smashes. I give general information about what goes into booking and then I give detailed information about what the session looks like and how it will go.

If a session is approaching and the weather is starting to look like it will be a factor, I reach out to the client before they have to reach out to me and provide a plan B scenario. I always want my clients to be 100% pleased with the entire process and I promise that if they aren’t thrilled, I’m not finished.

I know that an unsatisfied customer is in my future…when you’re in the service industry, working with people, it’s nearly impossible to always have everything be roses and butterflies ALL the time. But with my efforts to provide outstanding customer service through promptness, personal touch, my ability to listen and respond to customer needs, and the clear communication that I pride myself on, I feel certain that any issue will be resolved to the satisfaction of the customer.

Liz Viernes Photography is based near Savage, MD, and specializes in maternity, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.

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