Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Clients are My Friends

“You talk about your clients like they’re your friends.”
It had been a while since I’d seen this friend and we were catching up on where we were and what we’re doing.  He’s way smarter than me, lives in the world of finance, makes more money, works less, etc.  He’d asked how things were going at work and I’d told him a series of fun stories.  The company’s doing fine.  Let me tell you about our members and some fun stuff they’ve been doing.
I told him about our member, Paul Morse, who so generously asked us to help deliver something very special to the wounded warriors who road in this year’s W100.  I told him about the chance we’d had to deliver some albums earlier this year, nearly overnight, so a newly married bride and groom could enjoy their wedding again on the night before he underwent life threatening cancer surgery.  I told him about our members who shoot for charities like Operation Love Reunited, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and so many others.  I told him we’re so deluged with amazingly beautiful imagery that the images that grace our walls, submitted by our members, are not their most beautiful, but their most meaningful.
I told him about the conferences I go to and the people I see there and the stories I hear.  He said, “you talk about your clients like they’re your friends.”  I thought about it for a minute and said, “more like family.”  
You see, the unique thing about Pictage is that more than any business I’ve ever run there is a symbiotic relationship between the company and its members.  Our success is tied together.  If you are failing it means we’re failing.  If you are succeeding we all celebrate together.  There are times when I get pretty frustrated with our clients.  There are times when I know they get pretty frustrated with me.  Some get fed up and quit.  I don’t blame them.  We’re far from perfect and we can’t serve everyone.
I get notes all the time from photographers who say they can’t believe that I stepped in myself to help to resolve a situation, make sure they’re taken care of, provide some general business help, etc.  I always tell them the same thing.  It’s my job.  It’s true.  It’s also my privilege. 
I may be the CEO of the company.  I may have a big desk and sometimes I feel like I have a big job.  None of that compares to the dedication that my clients have to have to their business.  If they don’t get up in the morning the work doesn’t get done.  Sometimes it feels like it’s all on my shoulders.  It IS all on their shoulders.  How could I not want to help someone who’s chasing that dream succeed?
My clients are my friends and I couldn’t be more honored to serve them.  I know many of them feel the same way about their clients.  I think that makes us all pretty lucky.  Even if we do bicker every once in a while.

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