Oh yes, you read the question correctly. The question is not what happens IF I get a compliant, the questions is "what happen WHEN I get a compliant.?" Gasp, right?
Reading this now, I giggle. Reading this back when I started my business, I would have been horrified, terrified, confused. You mean, I’ll get a complaint?!? There’s no way, I give my business everything.
Friend, I feel you, completely.
Over the years, I defined, re-defined, organized, re-organized every system imaginable for my photography company, Ashley Strong Photography. Many are back in systems, but many, many are in direct relation to the connections I created with my clients. The more time went on, the more thorough my systems became, the more personal the experience was shared, the more I did. I did this, simply because it’s what resonated. Yet, even with doing so. The first complaint came.
I opened my email. “Did you do ANY editing to ANY of these photos?” That was it. Ouch. Really? What do you think I’ve been doing with these time capsules since they’ve been captured? My heart broken, tears in my eyes. But, how? I spent so much time finding the perfect location, helping her with her outfits, encouraging supportive poses, even staying 30 minutes longer than what I was paid to shoot. I was so proud of the gallery I had delivered. My client, I thought she looked radiant, youthful, happy. Due to me being so upset, I wanted to call right away. I wanted to defend myself. I wanted to explain myself. I knew, that was not the solution.
What did I do? I put on my running shoes (advantage of working from home), grabbed my headphones, put on my favorite playlist and ran. I ran and cried. Ran and cried. The tears came from feeling defeated, from feeling so confused, from feeling like this very soul had understood me and my craft.
After sometime I replied, replied again, and again. What I soon came to realize was that very question, that very question WAS NOT a reflection of my talent, my work, my dedication to the client experience. It was a reflection of the insecurities that resided within her soul. The time capsule I had documented enhanced her feelings. She had wanted one of those flawless instagram filter type images. The ones, I quite frankly don’t believe in as they’re not an accurate representation of you. They are a “perfected” reflection of you, but is that the real you?
What lessons did I learn from this?
My reply, their reply always differed depending on the situation at hand. The common thread? I was always able to answer, “Yes, I did the best I could in this situation.” Their reaction quite frankly has nothing to do with me as a person, it has everything to do with what resides within their internal reality.
Friend, please, please, I’ll say it one more time, please DO NOT let complaints discourage you. Use these situations as moments of growth. Although it may feel devastating in the moment ( I hear you there), it will soon be a feeling of the past. One in which, you and your business have grown from.
I’ll leave you with one last helpful exercise :
For example :