According to the Greeting Card Association, holiday cards represent 60 percent of the billions of dollars spent on seasonal cards each year. Many of those cards contain photos of loved ones – and many of these photos were taken at a studio amidst long lines, irritable parents, and impatient children waiting for their turn in front of the lens.
While the coordination of these holiday photo sittings is no easy task, Ritz Camera Proex Portraits has implemented an interesting Web-based appointment scheduling technology that is removing the hassle that is usually associated with this activity. Ritz is using a technology from TimeTrade Systems to more effectively manage the holiday portrait crush – as well as sittings all year – while enhancing the service to their customers.
Ritz Camera Proex Portraits includes 21 locations and schedules literally thousands of portrait sittings – both in studio and on location – in November and December. Ritz tells us the by using the TimeTrade technology they are now able to schedule photographers, equipment and facilities seamlessly, while capturing and coordinating valuable information on customer needs. They can also now confirm and remind customers of sessions via email, and offer them tips on how to prepare for, and maximize their session – and, they tell us, the customer response to this has been tremendous. And Ritz can also now track studio activity by the hour/day to ensure everything is running smoothly and resources are being used effectively
“With 21 portrait studios in the Twin Cities area, we literally take thousands of photos every year, either in the studio or on location,” said Bryan Engblom, general manager, Portrait Studios, Ritz Camera Proex Portraits. “Our goal is to make every photo experience for our customers the best possible and setting up the appointment is the first step. Whether through our store locations or, during the holidays, through a call center, Web-based appointment scheduling has enabled us to schedule photographers, equipment and facilities seamlessly, while capturing valuable information on the customer needs. I’m able to view utilization of resources across our store locations weekly to optimize our capabilities and we’re able to confirm the appointments in email with tips on how to improve the portrait before our customers arrive. We view TimeTrade as an asset in our customer commitment to be the portrait studio of choice.”
TimeTrade brings together providers and consumers of appointments. In 2007, more than 50 million appointments will be scheduled through TimeTrade and $1.5 billion in revenue generated for customers. An on-demand service hosted by TimeTrade Systems or installed at the customer premise, the solution scales easily to handle very large volumes of appointments. The system manages and accounts for an organization’s precious “time inventory” and enables a high level of rules customization and comprehensive back-end systems integration to ensure end-to-end resource allocation, and assist in business transactions. We dare say, it sounds much nicer to put happy faces on those that begin thinking about holiday portraits.