I read an article today about Southwest Airlines. If I have a choice, I will always fly Southwest for a few reasons:
1. They have never hassled me about my camera gear carry on. Other airlines always tell me they need to check my gear on the plane which is very annoying. I have to take my cameras out and then check the bag, empty.
2. They are quick! I rarely ever have delays…
3. And this is the biggie: No sneaky checked bag fees. Nothing I hate worse than feeling nickeled-and-dimed. Recently I had to fly to a location that SW didn’t serve, so I was on a United flight. They charged me about $30 each way for my luggage at the counter. I don’t know if it’s that they wait to charge you at the counter or that I was charged at all that offended me the most. I think it was that they charged me at the counter. If they added the charge at the time of purchase, they know that I might switch to another airline. Its such obvious trickery. Why would you want to do that to your paying customers. I just don’t get it. I left feeling really offended.
This article got me thinking about my own customers. In fact, last year I spent a lot of time putting myself into my customer’s shoes. I live by the mantra “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. That’s why I get so mad when I hear about thievery, lying, malpractice, trickery and overall crookedness. I just HATE it. I don’t like feeling tricked and I don’t want my friends or family or clients to feel that I am out to trick them and then take advantage.
So, despite how this may make my competitors feel about me (I’m sure United and Delta have some harsh opinions about Southwest), I have made some changes for 2011. I want to become to the photo industry what Southwest is of the airline industry. My two changed policies:
1. All Cafiero Clients get a full-resolution photo CD with every package. No questions, no watermarkes, no trickery. You get the full res images, with a set of enhanced “favorite images” at no extra charge. And I am not raising my prices to afford this change of policy, either. You own the rights! The last thing I am going to do is allow a client to feel that I tried to take advantage of them. And besides, if my studio were to go up in flames, I would be much happier knowing that my clients have their full resolution images on a disk.
2. For wedding clients, I still need to collect a deposit to reserve the date. But you don’t make your final payment until the images are ready for you. I hear nightmare stories about photographers taking forever to get the final images to their clients who have already paid. That’s just not right and I don’t want to fall into that category of photographer. And it’s good healthy pressure on myself to improve the time I take to get my images out to my clients, too.
I have a new studio, new sample albums, new art on the walls and I’m also excited that 2011 is also the year of becoming the customer-centered business. I look forward to working with everyone who has booked me for a shoot so far!
No fees for your photo CD.