048: Melissa Ghionis – Why Customer Service is More Important Than Great Photography in Business

To hear Melissa Ghionis, wife of one of the worlds best wedding photographers, say “customer service is more important than great photography” was a real surprise to me. In this interview, Melissa dissects what both Jerry and she do in regard to their clients and customer service.

From the initial contact to album collection and after, you'll learn what one of the best wedding photography studios does. I try to leave no stone unturned, down to how they present water to their clients in an attempt to learn what you can be doing better in your studio.

Here's some more of what we cover:

  • Running two separate studios for two separate markets under the same roof
  • Running a contest for clients to help choose a studio name
  • Is it possible in todays market to have a saleable photography business?
  • Why the biggest asset for any business today is your data base
  • How to cope with going from a primary shooter to a second shooter at weddings
  • Working with your spouse and the benefit of having clearly defined roles to enable a happy and successful working relationship
  • What you don't have to do in your business, you shouldn't do… outsourcing is the key to success
  • If your client can't tell the difference between your work and the outsourced work, there is no reason not to outsource
  • Why customer service is more important than shooting
  • It's always cheaper and easier to rebook existing clients than chase new ones
  • The best way to reward your good clients
  • The right way to handle the very first client contact, whether it be via email or phone
  • A phone call trumps an email every time if you're aiming to make a great first impression
  • The key focus at the first meeting is to have your clients as comfortable as possible when around you
  • There is a definite right and wrong way to offer your clients a drink that could be costing you bookings.
  • Having different albums to show, depending on the clients you are meeting with
  • Customer service is so much more than under promising and over delivering
  • Dealing with unhappy clients… the best way to deal with them

When suggesting this topic to Melissa for an interview, as enthusiastic as she was, I was a little concerned there just wouldn't be enough good content to fill an episode… how wrong I was!

One surprising thing I  know you'll come away with from this episode is you can emulate what Jerry and Melissa are doing in your workflow right away. Although your prices may not be on par with theirs, there is nothing outrageous that Melissa and Jerry offer or do in their customer service that you can't.

Melissa Ghionis Interview_02

What's on Offer for Premium Members

Premium Members, in the interview, Melissa talks about “The Wedding Works” which is a collection of modifiable word documents that you can customise for your studio and start using right away.

This collection has recently been updated and never been discounted… until now. And for Premium Members only, you will receive a whopping $90.00 off by using the promo code found in the Members area and only till February 28th 2014.

In the download, you will receive a collection of documents including client letters, phone scripts, sample email responses, contracts, order forms, sample price lists and more.  This collection contains all of the documents you will need to run a successful wedding studio and all of the necessary tools to educate your clients for better communication and increased sales.

ICE Society Promo Code for All Listeners!

Melissa and Jerry wanted to offer something special to all listeners of the podcast and have kindly created a promo code to save you $100.00 off an annual subscription to the ICE Society.

Not only is this a fantastic offer but the ICE Society is a great resource where you will learn more about being a better wedding photographer. You get monthly videos teaching you how to shoot better, understand lighting, posing, camera settings and creating amazing photos in every part of the wedding day.

As a member, you will have access to all previous episodes plus the next 12 months. As a previous member myself for a few years, I have never regretted spending the money I did to improve my photography.

PROMO CODE:  “photobiz” to save $100 off membership to Ice Society (normally $299).
Melissa Ghionis Interview

What is your big takeaway?

How is your customer service? How does it compare to what Melissa is doing for her clients? Is there anything you're doing in your business that Melissa didn't mention that is working well for you and you're happy to share it?

Following this interview with Melissa – what is the one thing that you'd like to implement or remember from what she had to share? Let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.

If you have any questions for Melissa that I missed, a specific question you'd like to ask or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them below.

iTunes ratings, reviews and Shout-Outs

Each week before recording the podcast, I check iTunes for any reviews but this week is a little different – I'm on holidays so I've prepared these show notes ahead of time and there aren't any new reviews to report.

If you haven't already, please don't let that stop you leaving a rating and review though!

The iTunes reviews make a big difference to the podcast being ranked well and found in the iTunes store. If you have the time and are happy to leave an honest rating and review, head over to iTunes. Don't feel your comments have to be long, involved or gushy, an honest opinion is all I ask.

Don't be shy about leaving your business name in the review either – that way I can add a link in the show-notes and show my appreciation with a proper thanks and a Google loving back-link to your website.

If you'd like to get in touch, ask a question or make a suggestion for the show, you can email me andrew@photobizx.com, find me on Twitter https://twitter.com/andrewhellmich or on Facebook at https://photobizx.com/facebook – I'd love to hear from you!

Melissa Ghionis Interview

Is part of the reason Melissa and Jerry are booking clients like this in locations like the one in the photo due to their customer service or photography?

Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:

Melissa Ghionis on Facebook


Melissa on Twitter

The ICE Society

The Wedding Works

Professional Photographers of America (PPA)

The Resources Page

Remember the ever expanding resources page that has a listing of products, programs, hardware, books and directories mentioned in each episode of the show. If you're looking for something that a guest has mentioned on a previous episode but just can't remember who or what it was – you'll find it listed in order on the resources page.

Jerry Ghionis Studio

If you've been enjoying the podcast, I'd love for you to tell just one other portrait or wedding photographer about it – it could be in a Facebook Group you're a part of, a photography forum, a photographer friend or on twitter. Any help in growing the audience of the show means a better show for you in the future with bigger name guests and a higher quality podcast.

If you do have a twitter account, simply click here: https://photobizx.com/tweet or use the share buttons below to help spread the word.

That's it for me this week, hope everything is going well for you in life and business.

Thanks and speak soon


By |2017-02-13T18:04:07+00:00January 13th, 2014|Podcast|28 Comments