On Tuesday, I attended a NACE monthly meeting where we had a great dinner and had the opportunity to hear a panel of brides and their moms talk about some of their perceptions, frustrations, and enjoyable moments with regard to planning their weddings. Although there were several great things that came from their comments, there was one theme that stuck out to me as the most important way in which we as vendors can stand out from our competitors…communication.
We all have to communicate as a part of our lives…with our families, our friends and neighbors, our employees, and our clients. Communication takes place in so many more forms than before and the expectation of being responsive is so much greater. My dad always jokes (he hates email communication) that in years past, people would get bent out of shape if you don’t return a phone call in a couple days. Now, they get upset if you don’t return an email in a couple hours or a text in a couple minutes. The people in our lives expect us to constantly be on and accessible as do our brides.
Now I’m all for setting boundaries and refusing to communicate after hours or on certain days…we need lives outside of work. However, within those boundaries, it is imperative that we are monitoring all of our communication channels and being as responsive as possible. If you’re on Twitter, you need to check it and pay attention to those alerts that come up on your phone. The same goes with other social media applications as well as email. Here are a couple notes from comments made from this panel of brides and their moms about communication:
“When I send an email, I don’t expect an immediate response but I am obviously in the mode and do expect an answer to my question reasonably quickly.”
“Many vendors never bothered to get back with me.” – boy wouldn’t I like to be so busy that I can just let leads slip through the cracks so easily. I can’t tell you how many brides tell me (and some even book because of this) how nice it was that we got back to them, got them in for an appointment, and had a tasting before another caterer even responded to their initial inquiry.
From a mother of the bride – “If I send an email with a question, don’t respond back to my daughter unless you copy me. I don’t see her every day and end up feeling like you are blowing me off.”
“If you have a vacation email alert that says you’ll be back in the office on the 30th, I will expect you to get back with me on the 30th or even the next day, not just wait for me to call again.”
One mother of the bride had a terrible experience with a wedding planner at a venue for a destination wedding. She was so disgusted by the lack of communication that most of her comments were geared towards this. She said that she needed her vendors to provide positive and reassuring communication. She wanted to know that things were being accomplished and that moving forward. She wished that her destination planner had updated her periodically on their momentum instead of her having to just pull information from her as if she was pulling teeth.
We get busy and caught up in so many things that many times we just don’t even think to get back with people or we run out of time. Sometimes this may just be a priority issue…things that seem urgent but may not be all that important have a tendency to take up most of our time. A client and their need for updates and open, solid, consistent, responsive communication should be the priority. Maybe communicating in this way will help keep some of the fires we work so hard to put out from even starting in the first place. What do you think?
Featured image by MelissaMarieFarley