Friday, November 7, 2008

Doing Less Costs You More

One of my daily reads is Seth Godin's blog. He has a lot of good things to say, and I know that others, including Leslie Burns Dell'Acqua reads him daily as well, and she too highlighted his message for the day about mediocrity. I'll take a similar tact.

When you are not paying attention to the details, you could well cost your business a lot of money, and certainly a diminished reputation. Today, Seth wrote - The sad lie of mediocrity - "The sad lie of mediocrity is the mistaken belief that partial effort yields partial results. In fact, the results are usually totally out of proportion to the incremental effort."

(Continued after the Jump)


Here are a few examples:

1) Recently, a colleague of mine wrote to someone, and addressed them as "Mrs." The problem is, she is a he.

2) An estimate went to a client with a DC and a NYC office. The address error to someone paying attention was something like below:
John Smith
Big Corporate Client
1234 Madison Ave, 5th Floor
Washington DC 10017
John Smith
Big Corporate Client
1234 Madison Ave, 5th Floor
New York NY 10017
Because a large majority of our clients are DC based, the software we use auto-fills in Washington DC for that client, but someone wasn't paying attention when that estimate went out.

Paying attention to details, smiling when you're talking to clients, being upbeat and positive during those interactions, saying things like "let me figure out a way to make that happen..." instead of "I don't know if that's possible", and so many other variations on that theme are what differentiates you from your competition. Don't say "the problem we might run into with doing it that way...". Instead, try "we'll have a bit of a challenge in trying to make things work that way...", which suggests you are up for the challenge, and are thinking of ways to solve the problem.

Excellent customer service is key. Customer dis-service, distain, or mediocrity when cast in their direction is a disaster. You just might not realize it until it's too late.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good point. When you write or email to a client or prospect, it makes great sense to check spelling (NB your "distain") and have your apostrophes perfect, too. People do notice when mediocrity is cast in their direction.

J Sandifer said...

Good post John,
Seth is a daily read of mine as well! Mediocrity can take many forms...one that I think many people don't think about is branding. It needs to be applied across all of your marketing pieces. Everything that touches a prospective client should have the same look and feel...website, blog, newsletter, business card, estimates, billings, snail mail pieces, mass emails...the more you drive your brand, the more prospects will remember you!

John Harrington said...

Ahh, the apostrophe police are back and in full effect. Its' got to be it's, and then its' and then it is and then, of course, its, ad we're all well and well, good. Keep it up - you may well be the reason that I switch to moderated comments.

-- John

TimKnight said...

@annonymous

Obviously a looser who never has anything else to do but find ways of pissing people off. But, you would think he/she/it would tire of it finally.

Appreciate ALL of you posts John. Please keep 'em coming. And do consider moderating comments.

Anonymous said...

Actually, rather than a cheap shot it was a more serious point in tune with your post (which didn't contain any erroneous apostrophes anyway). You cite as an example how a client would not be best pleased to be called Mrs when he's a Mr, and how it may cost you and diminish your reputation. Dead right. Clients notice, and they'll not like their name to be misspelt or a "yours faithfully" when there should be a "sincerely". So shouldn't the photographer spellcheck every email or letter, and so avoid spellings like "looser" which demonstrate ignorance, or (more amusing than anything else) like "tact" when you mean "tack". Not long ago, it pxxxed me off enormously when a copy editor pointed out I had written "cemetary" not just in my metadata but also in my filenames and some copy. I suspect it never cost me anything, but the world assumes we're probably photographers because we're marginally literate, and perfect spelling and grammar is part of one's professional image.

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