Success as a video production business could look like many things. The usual suspects are often creative fulfillment, increased profits, or employee growth. One tried-and-true measure of success in any video production business, no matter what size, is nailing repeat business — it’s five times cheaper to retain a customer than get a new one. While your creative skills are crucial, your video production business is just that — a business — and as such, requires the necessary knowledge in customer relationships and retention. Here are five things you can do, and avoid doing, to keep your clients happy and the jobs rolling in.
1. Deliver value, not just another video
As creatives, we can all too often get caught up in the creation process and forget that the product we’re making (in this case, a video, or series of videos) needs to succeed in its business objective. The more you can work with your customers by asking yourself the right questions — “What is this video’s job? What does success look like? How can I create a video that accomplishes their goals?” — the more they will trust and understand that you have their best interests at heart. If they feel you’re only creatively fulfilling yourself, they may trust you less, which in turn could make the review process harder, and ultimately undermine your entire project.
Professional videographer with gimbal by Korjakin
2. Communicate the good and the bad
Open communication builds trust and understanding. Even with the best-laid plans, mistakes happen, schedules get mixed up, and files get lost. If you avoid telling clients about things that aren’t working or that have failed, they may come to believe that they’re not getting the full picture about your production progression. Make your communication consistent and regular. Daily updates are great, even by email, and when there’s a problem, pick it up early and explain it to them, along with your top two or three options for moving forward. Things always go wrong — use this as an opportunity to get closer to your clients. The more they trust you, the more they’ll want to work with you on the next project.
3. Your client’s experience is 50% of the transaction
Although you’re a provider of a product, and that product needs to create successful outcomes for your customer, never forget about the experience of your customer buying from you. Imagine if you and another video production company created a similar level of production quality, but the other company made the process of working with them enjoyable and efficient, while making sure they take care of the details. Who would the client work with again? What if your work was slightly better, but you weren’t as attentive? If your product is far superior and creates outstanding results for a customer’s business, but the entire process is difficult and lacks communication, they may make an exception, but the work would have to be extremely exceptional.
4. Underpromise, overdeliver
This is an age-old adage, and is as true today as it’s ever been. A key strategy to keep customers coming back is to promise slightly above what they expect — and then deliver above and beyond. This may feel like a cynical trick of psychology, but who wouldn’t be happy with an already promised great product ending up being even better? There is no trick here, just hard work to create great results and not overselling the project before you’ve even begun.
Man Blowing Smoke Off Film Camera by CarlosYudica
5. Be delightful
This covers all of the above, and is the touchstone of keeping your clients happy. Think about the times in your life when you’ve had a delightful experience: a free drink because you weren’t seated in a restaurant quickly enough; a free upgrade on a flight; an extra scoop of ice cream. These things cost the company real money to provide, but what they get back is worth ten times anything they spend, because now they have a delighted customer who will return and refer others. This is absolutely feasible within your video creative business. Think of something that relates to what you’re delivering to your customer, and add something more on top. It can be as simple as designing and printing a fake film poster alongside the delivered final video. They’ll hang it in the office and smile every time they see their efforts, your efforts… and your logo!
With the right combination of creative skills and business acumen, your clients will keep coming back for more.
Rollo Wenlock is the co-founder and CEO of Wipster, a New Zealand-based tech startup that is revolutionizing how video is created.