Customer service in the wedding industry
I’d like to tell you a little story about penny sweets, at first glance you may wonder what has this got to do with the wedding industry but there’s a point, I promise.
Last weekend I was shopping with my youngest who is 9, we passed a traditional penny sweet shop and she asked for some sweets. As we were having film night I said yes no problem. Now the only money I had was a £10 note, (I rarely have coins because as soon as I do they seem to be spent on youth clubs!) I asked him if this was ok as I didn’t want to waste his time.
What followed was a 10 minute complaint about mums coming into his shop with notes, and why don’t they have change? When in the post office why can’t you ask for coins? On and on he went, I remained calm and said I’m happy to go and totally understand but the fact is, I rarely have cash let alone coins. Anyway I bought some sweets. But the whole experience left a nasty taste (excuse the pun) in my mouth, and even my daughter said “why are people so mean?”.
As always I’m able to look at it from a business perspective. I can emphasise with his frustration but I couldn’t help notice 2 things.
- Customer Service is key: You should make your customer feel fantastic. You should build the experience so they feel they matter. Whether that is a 9 year child buying sweets OR a couple planning their wedding
- Business and technology evolves: You can either embrace it or be left behind. Those of us that launched our business prior to 2006/7 have seen many changes in business especially social media. If you haven’t embraced the way our clients consume data or hire suppliers you will be left behind. (I’ll be covering more on this in a future blog post)
The Customer Journey
I would like you to take a moment and really think about your customer journey when they work with you. Regardless of whether they have your lowest or highest value service, do you make them feel special?
From the initial enquiry what is your speed of response? Are you sending them a standard reply or are you personalising it? Of course for productivity we should have template emails but absolutely they should be personalised and adapted each time. If they mention a venue or style give your thoughts. And how fast do you respond? Ideally this should be within 48 hours, if you’re out of the office ensure you have an automated reply saying exactly this. Otherwise the couple will think you just don’t care.
If they decide to work with you ensure you send the contract and invoice promptly, not only do you want to do this so you can “close the deal”, it also reconfirms you are grateful for their service. Let them know what will happen next, when will you next be in touch, what next steps do they need to take? Depending on whether you are a wedding planner or a wedding planner those steps will vary.
How do they feel?
In my opinion its not just about providing the service or product per se, its how you make them feel. When working with them you should make them feel like they are your only client, your focus when speaking with them should be on them and making them happy.
Let me be clear it doesn’t mean you drop everything when they call, it doesn’t mean answering the phone at 9pm. It just means when you have a meeting or phone call with them, be 100% present.
Random acts of kindness
There are also things you can do when they least expect it to show you are thinking of them, all very low cost. These are things I have done in both my businesses, I often switch it up.
- Sending a thank you notelet when you’re hired
- Starting a wedding countdown with them and randomly messaging how many days
- Sending them a random gift at Easter / valentine / birthday (pick one not all of them). This can be as simple as a starbucks gift card or chocolate bunnies
- Sending a photo via whattsapp or messenger if out and about and you see something that you think they’d like. For example table settings, shop display etc
How do you like to show your customers you care?
Oh and the sweetie shop, lets just say I won’t subject my daughter to this shop again. She’s an anxious girl and this episode left her rather upset….