How a bottle of water builds a business…

Author Recent Posts Nicole BegleyNicole Begley, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, is a zoological animal trainer turned pet photographer and educator. She created Hair of the Dog in 2012 to empower pet photographers to turn their dreams into reality by helping them improve their craft and grow their pet photography business.Nicole has authored a book “Pet and Equine […]

Written By Nicole Begley

On October 27, 2016


I live deep in the suburbs.  There is no walking to dinner or hopping on public transportation.  Until recently, there was approximately ONE yellow cab in all of Pittsburgh.  This has all changed due to one little word….UBER. 

We all know that the “sharing” economy has turned many industries on their heads.  Think about how AirBNB and VRBO have disrupted the hotel industry.  What about companies like Netflix and Spotify?  Simply pay a membership fee and have access to EVERYTHING! 

Uber has taken the old school taxi world by storm…and it’s because of the little things. 

Obviously, there are some big differences that help them be so successful.  The app technology that makes hailing your car fun, no need to carry cash, the double review system. 

There are also little things that some of the individual drivers are doing that we, as entrepreneurs, should take notice of.  A friend of mine just took and Uber from the airport and in the car was a cooler of soft drinks, waters, and a variety of snacks. 

Simply brilliant!  If the driver picks up these items at a big box store, they are literally pennies each.  However, this little tiny thing creates huge waves!  My friend told me, I’m sure she told others, I’m telling all of the interwebs….and I didn’t even experience it myself! 

This is the type of word of mouth marketing that our businesses need. It’s not through fancy referral programs, it’s simply by exceeding our customer’s expectations. 

I recently heard this line, and I can’t for the life of me remember where….so if you know please let me know so I can give them credit! 

Meeting customer expectations is customer service.  Exceeding customer expectations is customer experience.

How are you set up to exceed customer expectations in your business? 

  • gift for the dog
  • hand-written thank you notes
  • bottle of water at the session
  • special gift with their order
  • chocolate at the ordering appointment

There are SO MANY options.  I would love if you shared what you do for your clients in the comments so we can all brainstorm ways to make our client experience extra-ordinary!

Are you ready to connect with pet photographers from all over the world?  Join us in the Hair of the Dog Community - a place to ask questions, share resources, and connect with each other.

Nicole Begley

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  1. Johanna

    Great post. I do try to remember to bring a cooler full of water bottles to my sessions during the summer months. At the end of a session, I offer them to everyone and we usually down a bottle together. If my session includes a dog, I make sure to have a bowl too. You are absolutely right, it’s the little things that sets you apart and that people remember. Love learning the special things people do.

  2. Annelie Coetzee

    Love the article!

    I also give a little “thank you” gift at the end of all my mini sessions. It’s got a printed piece of paper in with the client details, and to say thank you. It also has a business card in that says “Spread the word – the best way you can show us you like your photos is to recommend us to your friends”

    Then it has a small treat pack for the dog. I approached suppliers for these, and I got them sponsored to me, so I pay for the printouts and the gift bag, and my clients LOVE getting something at the end of their session.

    • Sharon

      I like that you are bringing in other businesses.

  3. Jo

    So true! I gift my clients a custom spiral notebook with one of my favourite images from their shoot on the cover.

  4. Kimberly

    Thanks Nicole!
    I make dog treats for the session, put them in a pretty bag and put a custom sticker on them.

    During IPS, We have an adult beverage and a tasty treat.

    I must get better at handwritten thank yous!

    For Christmas last year every customer got a gift from Tiffanys, this year they will get a box of fancy cookies, plus a cookie with their dogs face on it!

    I shoot my own Christmas Card and send those out to everyone I met that may be business related


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