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Thread: Client Satisfaction...

  1. #1

    Default Client Satisfaction...

    Could someone offer a bit of advice about how to deal with clients who are never happy, or who constantly ask for more above and beyond what was provided for them? My wedding DVDs are, on average, 90 minutes long, and usually contain the service (trimmed to 20 minutes), the full speeches (approx. 40 minutes), the first dance (10 minutes), a trailer (3 minutes) and a short form (10 minutes).

    My clients are fully aware of what they are getting as I have tried my darndest to manage expectations. They love the trailer and short form (which I post online) and there are rave reviews for them, but when it comes to the actual DVD I have people freaking out 40% of the time. I have worked out a pretty decent business model which allows me to take on 25 weddings a year. I spend about 1.5 weeks editing each wedding. What I cannot do is offer a draft review (I am presuming most companies don't do this. Time is money, and what they get is a distillation of the day, all of the best footage on the disc - presenting them with a "draft copy" will slow things down and I'm not charging enough (but still an average, fair price) to be able to spend time correcting wholly subjective "errors").

    When I have all of these clients coming back to me with (often inane) requests for re-edits, I feel like pulling my hair our. "During the drinks reception we want to hear what the people are saying." Requests for more footage of X, Y, Z. Uproars about minor errors in continuity. I had one come back to me this week who was upset I had taken out one chorus from one of the five songs sung during the one-hour service. I had another client come back to me this week because she had watched a friend's wedding I had produced, and complained that they had TWO discs whilst she had one, forgetting that the friend had specifically asked for a bulkier amount of coverage. I have changed my contract to deal with these issues, but still they come back, and still I feel like a heel if I were to refuse.

    My style is "cinematic" and I always try and produce a creative, artistic distillation of the day (but still, that "distillation" is about 90 minutes; I don't like to short-change them with just a 20 minute short-form).

    There are two mindsets I have played with:

    a) Get tough with your customer, or:
    b) Bend over and, ultimately, they will refer you.

    Of course, 60% of the time people are either never heard from again, or get in touch to say thanks - for the same quality and amount of coverage provided for a person who will bitch and moan.

    Am I attracting the wrong clients? Should I throw everything and the kitchen sink onto the DVD CCTV-style? Is what I am encountering normal or am I doing something badly wrong?
    Last edited by andrewthevideographer; 11-29-2012 at 07:20 PM.

  2. #2

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    I sympathise with your situation but Im surprised that the comeback rate is 40%? We produce a draft and offer creative changes for an additional cost. Beyond that we cant legislate for someones vision of how the edit should look especially keeping in mind their lack of production knowledge. Most couples accept the draft as is, some pay for additional changes to suite their own taste which I am happy to do. Maybe look at your procedure for managing your customers and see if theres anyway they could misinterpret what you offer, from initial contact right up to final delivery.

    Steve

  3. #3
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    I have very limited experience in wedding videos, but many years working with clients. In my experience, clients will always love what you do, except for...

    I echo the advice already given. i would add that no matter how good you are, clients will always feel they can add something more. Provided you have a clearly defined scope of work, you can charge for that "something more".

  4. #4

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    Do you think when presented with the wedding photos they ask the tog to do a bit of photoshop in this one and that one, clone out uncle Joe, take the sick off the babies dress etc....

    They hire you based on what they think you can produce based on samples they have seen. Ok the odd tweak here and there is fine but they will take the piss if you let them. As you say time is money and there is only so much you can do if your quote to them was based on a particular number of hours for post work. You have to keep them happy that is the nature of business but they have to be brought to a realisation that it's going to cost them more for the extra work you have to do, find a happy balance with them.

    You are the expert you know if it's a good product or not, if you are happy with it, make them happy with your product. There will always be the odd one or two who never seem satisfied but 40% is a bit high so you may need to look at the way you communicate your service.

  5. #5

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    Hi Andrew. Reading your concerns and clients responses makes me think your video edits and clients expectations are poorly managed.
    As a photographer, you would of course only ship out the best shots of the day, doing this as a videographer only works as short form/highlights, but not in the main DVD, hence the continuity complaints.
    Like yourself our videos are approx 90 min long too, but in over 400 wedding DVDs produced, I have only had around 2 requests for alterations. Why are you getting 40%?
    All our clients, before they book, are shown clips from a complete wedding day, as close to their big day scenario as possible.
    It's made very clear (to bridezillas especially) verbally and in our contract that any specific shots they request/don't want must be made clear in writing before the wedding day.

    In the edit, the continuity is paramount and for your clients to notice the drop in continuity, it must be glaringly obvious, so this also needs tightening up.
    Apart from that, thay have to trust our integrity and artistic interpretation of the day as to our choice of shots and editing to their choice of music.

    I have never refused to re-edit a wedding DVD, especially if it's our mistake in spelling/wrong music used etc. Otherwise any re-edits are charged at 45 ph and they must also sit in the studio to confirm the alterations. Up to press no-one has taken this offer up.

    My advice, is to tighten up your contract and edits and be firm but polite when discussing alterations. If you need further advice or a copy of our contract to cherry pick just pm me.
    My opinions are just that . . . Mine. It's not personal, but is based on my emotional and professional reaction to requested critique. If you choose to ignore constructive comments, I'll just assume you're a vanity poster and not posting to improve your filming and editing skills.

    Ex A.P.V Videomaker of the year - Ex M.M. IOV Come join my EXclusive club

  6. #6

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    Thanks for all the replies. There has been some great advice offered. In my contract I state about extra charges and creative control, and I also try my best to manage expectations, but I still have a large number of people wanting more of X, Y, and Z. I think what I need to be doing is giving a full DVD to potential clients showing them what they are getting. But even in this case, since every wedding is different and as long as a piece of string, how do you curb client demands after the fact?

    I'll give recent examples.

    The speeches were one hour. I had two cameramen with me. I edited out two minutes from someone's speech (second cameraman's battery had died, and my memory card needed to be changed, simultaneously). Result: a total freak-out. "Half the speeches are missing!"

    Footage from a beach shoot was abysmal because it was extremely windy and I was not happy with what was captured. Left some of it in, but took the majority of the shots from a shoot in another location. Three months later the email comes about wanting ALL of the footage from the beach.

    I have another client ATM bugging me for more footage of just people talking without any overlay music during the drinks reception.

    Another gets in touch last week because her friend's DVD has two discs and she only has one ("So disappointed!" which comes three months after the email stating "So thrilled!")

    It's seriously demoralising when you feel like you have failed to meet a client's vision even though you have spent so much time and energy on each DVD as a labour of love. The complaints are, to me, completely arbitrary (after all, they're not complaining that the camera work is shaky or the sound is out of synch, or the image is out of focus).
    Last edited by andrewthevideographer; 11-30-2012 at 03:43 PM.

  7. #7

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    Would it be preposterous for the punter to request the Videographer's services to also include the final professionally edited DVD; *and* all the original raw footage; which would enable the bride and groom to make their own cut? What loss would that be to anyone?

  8. #8

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    Your recent examples illustrate the problem you created for yourself.
    (1) "I edited out two minutes from someone's speech" - There's no reason, ever, for this to happen. 2 operators that weren't watching each other for card changeover/ battery warnings? Get a grip of filmingwith 2 cams! One doesn't move or do anything until he's sure the other has it covered with a stable shot.
    (2) "Footage from a beach shoot was abysmal" - Why? - You were obviously paid to cover this professionally and you didn't. P*ss.P**r.P****.
    (3) "more footage of just people talking without any overlay music during the drinks reception" The original is your artistic interpretation and a chargeable re-edit!
    (4) "her friend's DVD has two discs and she only has one" = This is simply explained - "her friends wedding was slightly longer".

    Clients expectations? Just explain or illustrate with DVD that yes, every wedding is different, even at the same locations. Some guests have a lot of fun and some are more sombre affairs. It stands to reason that the more excitement there is to film, the more exciting shots you'll be able to use and vice versa.
    Wer'e not there (as in tog) to help people have fun, were there to reflect the atmosphere of the day and edit it into a watchable memory packed DVD.

    To be honest, if you have a lot of (1) and (2) you need to tighten up your filming techniques to make sure you capture the essentials. That way there can be no crib about - "you missed this really important (speeches/ceremony) bit" - Leaving yourself wide open for the added " can you also edit this which I'm not happy with".

    My opinions are just that . . . Mine. It's not personal, but is based on my emotional and professional reaction to requested critique. If you choose to ignore constructive comments, I'll just assume you're a vanity poster and not posting to improve your filming and editing skills.

    Ex A.P.V Videomaker of the year - Ex M.M. IOV Come join my EXclusive club

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimAndrews View Post
    Would it be preposterous for the punter to request the Videographer's services to also include the final professionally edited DVD; *and* all the original raw footage; which would enable the bride and groom to make their own cut? What loss would that be to anyone?
    In over 400 weddings I've had that request only once. Yes it is preposterous. Why? Someone, someday will edit the footage into something horrible, and someday someone will watch the horrible version and ask ' Who did the wedding video? - The operators name then becomes mud.
    What loss would it be? = "Oooh, I've just seen an incredible shot that isn't in the main DVD - Could you just slip it in to the edit?" = More, unpaid work!
    No photographer in his right mind will hand over every shot taken on a wedding day either for the same reason.
    My opinions are just that . . . Mine. It's not personal, but is based on my emotional and professional reaction to requested critique. If you choose to ignore constructive comments, I'll just assume you're a vanity poster and not posting to improve your filming and editing skills.

    Ex A.P.V Videomaker of the year - Ex M.M. IOV Come join my EXclusive club

  10. #10
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    Maybe OP is creating over-expectations. As to the cutting a speech - I'm guessing most viewers would be happy with more cuts . . . they don't want the Wedding minute-by-minute, rather a dreamy fly-thro' with some close-ups of the important bits.
    Didn't someone say Less is more?
    If a couple really complain, then maybe suggest they hire your workstation per hour and compile their own DVD . . . . after some general failures in the first hour I suspect they will take what they've got.
    As to the "hearing what peole say" I'd counter that with sensitive conversations and copyright etc.... few people will want to have their chit-chat available for World Distribution . . . esp. if they are running-down a guest's dress-sense.

    ---and two-discs? Presumably you were paid more, if not, why not it was more-work.


    . . . Hope that helps . . . .

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