Hassle-free Customer Service - How?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by stereomaus, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. stereomaus

    stereomaus Guest

    Greetings to one & all!

    I want to put my little studio on the map this Spring. I have a done a few small projects with smaller, local bands & was disappointed in the lack of trust that the bands showed me. I know that I cannot whip out the 48-track Neve console and the 500' room and have them all get weak at the knees. I wish I could.

    Specific "plans of attack" are what I need.

    Communication is huge in the music business and I know that a certain amount of that is unspoken. What I would like to hear are some major tips in this area from more experienced owners/engineers that have met with success/progress.

    Customer service points:

    1) I want the prospective client to fill out a questionnaire for me so I know their expectations and goals - good idea?

    2) I do not want to have 2 or 3 hour meetings with people who want to do no preparation & have a "their way or the highway" approach when they arrive at the studio.

    3) I want the client to understand that I am really their ally and that when I address an issue it is in their interest to really listen & think about their project.

    4) I want the client to understand that recording is about a productive process, not about saving $100 whenever you can.

    Please fire away with point-by-point comments , general resource ideas, Sales pitch ideas, anything you think could win the customer over and make for smoother sessions, and better results.

    Thanks!!!! :)
  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Distinguished Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    To stay in business you have to listen to what the client wants. If what most of your client base wants is cheap prices and fast turnarounds and you are offering reasonable prices and detailed custom work then you may not attract those clients. But there are others you may attract. Getting the clients in the door to begin with is always the hardest part. Keeping them happy once they are in the door is entirely up to you and how you treat them.

    You have to reach out the clients you want and there is no better way to do that than "word of mouth" advertising from satisfied clients and referrals from others in the business.

    You have to put yourself in the client's shoes and ask yourself what is it that they want or as you suggested ask them. When you can satisfy those needs then you are on your way to making a go of your business. (The problem with asking people what they want is that they may tell you what they THINK you want to hear instead of what they really think. )

    There is a studio near here with a really good room setup and really good equipment. The engineer is really talented and he has all top quality equipment but to date he has no returning clients and has many problems with the current clients he does have.

    He is not really doing anything wrong but he wants to be part of the creative process of every project he records and sometimes acts as the DEFACTO producer which some groups and artists find annoying. He will stop a take in the middle of the song and ask them to tune up and this happens more and more as the session goes on. Most people will not mind this one or two times but when they are on the sixth take of the song and have not gotten though it completely one time they tend to get upset. He will also comment on the quality of the playing which also annoys some groups. He also has a thing about creating the graphics for the CDs he records and wants his logo displayed on the CD case along with the record companies logo and this has created friction. He is a great guy but he is turning off clients BIG TIME. If you ask his clients what they think of him they will tell you in no uncertain terms but to his face they say nothing but great things to him.

    Your attitude from booking the session to the pleasantries at the beginning of the session(s) will go a long way to tell your clients what you are like and what you are willing to provide and what your expectations are. It is their money and they are spending it doing what they want to do. (If they want to play in the nude covered in sun tan lotion and have sunlamps on them I guess it is up to you how far you want to go to please them.) You can't have "rules" that will cover every situation. You can have a list of do's and don'ts such as no drugs or alcohol at a session or how many hangers on are permitted but these are things that should also be covered in the pre production meeting you have with the group. You should be a good listener and a good reader of body language so you will know how much of what you are relaying is hitting home. You are providing a service for a fee and the client is always right even if they are not. What you want to do it to guide the client into making all the right choices that will please both them and you at the same time.

    I myself have tried lots of different forms of advertising from direct mail to ads in the local musician newspaper to some upscale ads in a publication that goes to upper middle class YUPPIES. The best results I have had were from word of mouth referrals from satisfied clients and referrals from others in the business.

    You are preparing to offer a service and that service maybe looked upon as costly by many musicians even if you are charging $20.00 per hour.

    Many people today buy their own equipment because they want the flexibility to be able to record when they want to even if it is at 2 am in the morning and they are in their underwear in their front living room. They also see the equipment as a long term investment where your services are a one time cost so when they are done recording they have nothing except a well done CD to show for it. (which of course is valuable but cannot be used again and again like the equipment)

    What you have to do convince them that you can provide what they cannot have in their home. The varied types of microphones and processors, the physical space, your monitoring system, the knowledge you will bring to the sessions and your expertise in solving all types of problems as the session progress and then sell this all to them at a reasonable rate. If you can convince them of this and meet their needs you are well on your way to making a go of your business.

    Hope this all helps.

    Best of luck!!!!!!
  3. stereomaus

    stereomaus Guest

    Top 25 Customer Service tips

    Hey Tom,

    Thanks very much for your well-reasoned and generous reply. As you point out, there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach for customers. Cuing off the client's body language and interpreting the client's tone is going to pay dividends as well. When experienced people like yourself refer to reaching out to the client and finding my market, that's great stuff.

    I know that other professionals out there can help me to highlight a top 10 (or 25) points that I should discuss with a band in pre-production. I would hope that I will show the good sense not to make a client's recording session into something like a trip to the dentist. If you're reading this, (and selling services) let me know some of the key points and strategies you use with your clients.

    Thanks bigtime!
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