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Archive for the ‘customer service’ Category

FedEx is coming!

Friday, March 11th, 2016

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Whether you are Irish or not, March 17th will be your lucky day! That’s when FedEx becomes our primary carrier.

In a continuing commitment to streamline shipping delivery and offer the most economic pricing to you, Pounds is pleased to announce that we will be transitioning our UPS shipping services to FedEx on March 17th. If you are currently set up in our system for UPS shipping, we’ll change your account settings to use the same level of service with FedEx.

As always, customer service is here if you need us!

We appreciate your business and look forward to another great year of working together to help your business grow in 2016!

Turn Up The Volume!

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

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Volume photography is a lucrative business. In the simplest of terms it boils down to photographing a high volume of customers in one location or venue. Think about it. Photographs are taken each year of every single public and private school student for yearbooks and class photos. Parents can always be counted on to order substantial photo packages from school shoots. Add to this the ever growing sports photography field and volume business is definitely a great market.

Participation in high school sports reached almost 7.8 million last year, according to a survey released by The National Federation of State High School Associations, a record high. The Sports and Fitness Industry Association keeps track of how many kids between the ages of 6 and 17 are involved in sports. In 2011 they reported 21.47 million participants. Remember this does not include children that begin sports before age 6 so that number could easily top 30 million.

What does this mean to you? It means business and a lot of it!

High volume photography is a highly sought after service and a great way to increase your revenue. So where do you begin? Right here! Pounds is the industry expert at volume photography. Marion Hughes has been in the trenches and understands the needs of volume photography. Marion and Jim Giunta, our photo-technical advisors, have over 70 years of experience between them. Marion has trained thousands of volume photographers over the last 25 years and lectures on a regular basis for photography associations and franchises. Vickie Viera is not only a fantastic customer service representative, she is the go to expert for information on products and building packages.

Let’s get the low-down from Marion and Vickie on volume photography.

Volume photography is lucrative but can be intimidating and overwhelming for a new photographer contemplating entry into the business. How can Pounds help that photographer penetrate the field?

Marion: We’ve been fortunate to help many studio photographers add profitable school and sports business to their operations. They’ve received assistance that has sped up their workflow and improved the accuracy of their exposure and color. Besides experienced personnel, we have extensive and exclusive documentation on volume and studio operations. Manuals on school day sales and photography techniques, green screen, simplified outdoor shooting, volume family photography, spring school programs and a host of other subjects are all available to our customers.

One of the biggest challenges in breaking into volume photography is the data. Images must be matched to basic school information such as the student’s name, grade, teacher and id number. We’ve simplified this by creating an easy to use software package that does most of the work for you. Ask us about ProMatch.

Vickie: We have staff that will help with sales, marketing, capture and software. At Pounds Labs we become partners with our studios. We provide training in all aspects of volume photography from capture to package delivery. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

Ok I’m a newbie. I’m in the door at my local school. How do I add more schools?

Marion: Pounds customers have access to a wonderful resource book, “School Days Photography – A Sales and Planning Guide.” It outlines the basics of approaching the decision maker and closing the sale. Pounds Labs is also a sponsor of an excellent three-day School Day Boot Camp. This is an intensive training on all aspects of developing a school program.

What products are going to be easy add-ons that will essentially sell themselves?

Vickie: Novelty products are a crucial aspect in volume photography. Not only can they help to increase your profit, but they also generate interest in the order process, helping to drive sales to the profit packages. One of the services we offer is assisting with add-ons. We will discuss the events in your location and suggest products doing well in the area and for the specific event.

Can you help me learn how to “talk the talk”?

Marion: Booking that first school can be scary. Our advisors will help you know what to say and when to shut up!

I now have several schools and I want to add their sports teams into my mix. Am I going to be overwhelmed? How can Pounds help me with sports?

Marion: Don’t worry! We’ve already been there. We’ll show you the most effective method of shooting school sports without having to go to every game.

Vickie: We have easy to use software, training for capture and data entry. We’ll introduce you to order forms, marketing, sales and how to set up the shoot.

I heard you’d meet with me personally? Do I make an appointment? How long do you meet with me?

Marion: Absolutely! We can meet with you at the lab, by phone, on Go To Meeting or even at your location. Call to schedule a time that is right for you.

Vickie: We would LOVE to see you! It is a joy to meet our partners. We love to show off our facility and introduce the people that produce our products. Depending on your needs, such as green screen training, marketing or software usage, a visit can take a few hours or we can arrange multi-day training. Please call me at 469.341.6719 and we will schedule a tour and training.

I’m an old pro at this and know a lot. What can Pounds do for me?

Vickie: Pounds Labs has partnered with studios for 40 years. We can suggest products to increase sales, marketing and volume training. We know the products that work in your area and for your events. We’ll help you train your employees to streamline your workflow.

Marion: How about free software that will speed up your data entry several fold? Then there is the fact we have one of the most completive print prices in the industry and we offer free shipping. Don’t forget our fast turnaround!

Are there any new products that are particularly suited for volume?

Vickie: We recently added new press trader cards. The cards are always favorites with events from sports teams to school clubs.

Well, how do I really know you can help? Do you have proof?

Marion: You bet! Here’s a letter from one of our customers:

From: Greg Lamb
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2015 10:00 AM
To: Pounds Labs
Subject: Praise

Good Morning,

As a professional photographer for over 30 years I had watched as my volume had steadily decreased over the past few years due to the increase of digital and cell phone cameras. I had originally tried school day pictures 30 plus years ago with a split 70. I hated it. It was hard to focus.

As we “tried” to get into school day pictures again, I met Marion from Pounds Labs and was blown away with his knowledge and likability. He has made a couple of trips to my studio to help get us started and he AND the Pounds staff have been on the phone with us as we started this past fall with eight schools. We will double that number this year.

This has been a very profitable decision on our end and could not have been possible without the help of Marion and the staff at Pounds Labs.

Are you ready to get started in volume photography? Give Marion and Vickie a call at 469.341.6719!

Print What You Want to Preserve

Monday, September 15th, 2014

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Guest blog by Missy MWAC
#whyweprint

[The discussion recently arose on my Facebook wall about giving clients digital files because that’s “what they want,” and I’m glad it did, because it’s an important discussion to have. This is my response to the “digital only” conversation. Warning: I took it waaaay down. So far down, that I became exhausted and had to watch SNL reruns on Netflix to counter the effects...]

I may be out of touch, it’s true. And while I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, I really do try to stay on top of what is trending and what is about to trend. It’s kind of my thing.

As you recall, back in the days o’ film, the phone would ring and the caller would ask that question that made many a photographers’ eyes roll: “How much is an 8×10?” If I had a dime for every time, right? And, we knew…just knew… that what they were asking was not really the price of an 8×10 (although I’m sure there was a percentage for whom that was ALL they wanted to know.)

No, they asked “How much is an 8×10?” because it’s all they knew to ask. They wanted to know price, sure, but what that question really meant was:

“Why should I pick YOU?”
“Am I going to love these?” “What if I don’t?”
“Are you right for me?”
“If I pick you, will I be happy with my choice.”
“Tell me why YOU are the right photographer for me.”

Of course, they didn’t come out and say that. Instead, they asked, “How much is an 8×10?”

Now, that question could be answered according to the “what clients want” theory: they WANT the price of an 8×10, so give it to them and be done with the phone call.

Or…we could dig deeper to find out what they REALLY want.

Fast forward to now and the digital age. I happen to love it. I really do. Digital photography has made possible things that have stretched the imagination and broadened the mind. Heck, you and I are talking because of digital communication. And, for many photographers, digital technology has changed their final product.

Why? Why did it change? Were clients banging down the door demanding digital images only…or were we quick to hand them over, stick a fork in it, and say, “I’m done.”

Personally, I think it’s the latter.

Again, why? Well, with digital only, we don’t have to sell. And selling, well, the thought produces tremors in a lot of people. And then, having sold, we have to produce a product. And then, we have to hope the clients like the product. And then, we have to deliver the product.

All that…when you could slap ‘em on a CD, grab a little pocket change and be done? Well, it’s easy to see, at least to me, why that became attractive and “the thing to do.” (Not to mention this was advocated and promoted by those who stood to profit from the shift to digital only. Of course, that’s a whole other conversation.)

But…I submit it is not always what clients want…even when they say it is. Like the 8×10, they think they need to ask: “Can I get the CD?” That’s what their friends did, right? And that’s the offer they are getting everywhere they turn, so they figure it’s “what’s done.” And, having received the CD, or USB drive, or online gallery, the images will be shared for a week or so, and then, the excitement will wane and the disk will be placed in a drawer.

And it will be forgotten.

Sure, a handful might, just might, print them. Will they look how YOU intended them? After all, your name is on them, so you better hope so. I say the odds are doubtful.

The bottom line, at least, to me, is that we have devalued many things in this industry: the work, the final product, the relationships between client and photographer, the way we market…(examples are happily given for all of these upon request) and it’s time we get back to making things MEAN something again.

I believe we do that by creating a print for our client…something that lasts. I might give a social media copy to share online, but I believe my job isn’t done until I place a paper photograph in their hand, because I believe that the ONLY tangible thing we give our clients shouldn’t be a USB drive.

And, I believe their grandkids will one day be grateful.

xoxo

Hand-Holding To Hand Delivering: Cheryl Wemp Does It All!

Monday, September 16th, 2013

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Cheryl Wemp holds down our Fort Worth operations. She not only manages the office but is also in charge of customer service and accounts receivable. She’s been a part of the Pounds family since the very beginning. Born and raised on the west coast, she arrived in Texas 35 years ago and has 3 beautiful grandchildren!

POUNDS What do you like most about your job?
CHERYL Sitting down with a client and showing them how we can help them grow their business. One tip I always tell photographers is to show 16 x 20 prints and larger. If you show small prints you sell small prints. If you show large prints, you sell large prints and make a greater profit!

POUNDS How do you think Pounds differs from other labs?
CHERYL Personal, one-on-one communication with customers. We take the time needed to solve individual situations. We hand-hold to hand deliver if needed!

POUNDS Customer communication is important at Pounds. You come into contact with clients on a daily basis. What is the thing you most often hear that is reflective of how we serve their needs?
CHERYL We solve problems and that saves the customer money! For instance we look carefully at each order. If there is an out of focus image in their $300.00 album we contact them the minute we see it and that saves the customer time and money.

POUNDS What is one thing you’d like your customers to know about you?
CHERYL I will do whatever it takes to get it done

POUNDS Tell us an “above and beyond the call of duty” story.
CHERYL I answered the phone one afternoon and it was a panicked Austin photographer. He left some equipment in the mid-cities area where he was shooting over the weekend. He was trying to retrieve his equipment but could not physically get out here to get it and wanted to know if I knew of anyone going to Austin that could bring it to him. After talking with him for awhile I learned where the equipment was located and told him I would stop on my way home and retrieve everything package it up and send it to him via UPS. He would have it the next day. I called him with the tracking number, he received the package and he was very happy!

POUNDS Do you ever get to meet the people at the other end of the phone/email? If so what is it like?
CHERYL Sometimes you create relationships with people over the phone. When you meet them in person it just makes that ‘bond’ stronger. It’s exciting to put a face with a voice!

POUNDS What is the most important thing everyone should know about customer service at Pounds?
CHERYL We are here for you!