It seems of late I am constantly hearing the term “Value Added”. To get the upper hand on your competition you need to have a message that shows your Value Added proposition or something that helps you stand out from a crowd. So is this just a new buzz word or is it a new way of doing business?
For many it is a new way of doing business. For far too long you got what you got and that is what you paid for. Photographers, writers, advertisers, suppliers, whoever always gave you what you ordered or contracted and that was that. The value was in the service or product they delivered. Today the idea is to add more to what you are giving your clients hence adding value to your service or product. For me this seems like customer service.
I was raised in a family business, a seafood restaurant, my first tasks were gutting fish and peeling potatoes and it was all I did all day. My father instilled the old adages of “the customer is always right” and “take care of your customers and they will take care of you.” In a family business you are expected to do twice as much work for half the pay and none of the glory. But it teaches you a lot. (That is my father in the image below. Hey it is a photography blog.)
I swore a long time ago that I would never gut another fish or peel a potato. I never stopped giving customer service though and I never will. I’m not sure how often the customer is actually right but they will take care of you if you take care of them.
I do my best to promise the right service in my photography business and I try to over deliver whenever I can. I want my clients to be not only happy with the quality of my work but impressed with how I do business. For me that is customer service.
Is customer service a value added proposition? I wish it weren’t but it seems that in today’s world it can be. Going the extra mile (another of my father’s sayings) is not a bother or even a choice for me. Doing the extra is what my clients deserve. They are paying for quality and quality comes in many forms. Quality is in the images I deliver, it is the service I give and it grows into the partnerships I have and will have.
Taking the time to grow and foster a relationship with my clients does what my father taught me; take care of your clients. In turn I hope my clients stay my clients for a long time to come. I want to build relationships with them and get to know them and their businesses so I can give them more the next time I work with them. I want them to value my skills and services as much as I value their business.
Does all this become a “Value Added Service”? Beats me. For me it’s just good old fashioned business.