Ever since I was little, I have had a strong aversion to going to the dentist. You can imagine my discomfort when I had to find a new dentist after moving to a new city. After begrudgingly Googling “Atlanta dentists,” I read some reviews, made an appointment, and hoped for the best. During my first appointment, the receptionists warmly greeted me and took my picture for the system. It was clear that they weren’t overbooked because my wait time was short, and their office had a sleek, modern design and comfortable furniture in the waiting room. They were equipped with a fancy tea and coffee machine and magazines that I would actually have on my own coffee table. During the service, they offered me sunglasses for the intense light and lip balm before they got started with my cleaning, and at the end of my visit they offered me a warm, lavender scented cloth to refresh my face. Either I actually enjoy the dentist now, or they tricked me into thinking so – they have nailed the patient experience.
I want the same experience for my couples. I like to anticipate their needs before they know them and ensure that it is very easy and pleasurable to work with me. I want them to feel cared for, invested in, and delighted whenever we have a touch point. I am by no means an expert, but I work hard to deliver a top-notch client experience. Today, I have compiled three easy guidelines for improving your client experience that you can begin today.
Communication is Key!
As a wedding planner, I have noticed that most of my clients expect quick and thorough communication. One of the easiest ways to show your client you care about them is to respond promptly when they have questions or concerns. That being said, as wedding vendors, our office hours may be variable and inconsistent – many of us make our own hours or participate in projects that can put us out of the office for hours and days at a time.
There can be a disconnect when your clients work in industries where a 24 hour response time during business hours is typical and expected. To bridge the gap between the wedding world and your couples:
- Post your office hours in your email signature so they know when they can expect a response from you. If it is difficult for you to honor a standard 24 hour response time, put your typical response time in your signature as well (and stick to it).
- Set expectations in your client welcome materials about when and how you will respond to their questions. Over communicate your policies and procedures so that their expectations will match your delivery.
- Set up an auto-responder letting your clients know when you will be away from your computer.
Consider Each Touch Point
Think about each touch point with your client and how you can make it special or unique. After all, this is a tender and vulnerable time in a couple’s life, and they hire their wedding vendors with one express aim – they trust that you will make their wedding wonderful, enjoyable, and unique.
For our couples, a wedding vendor is often more than just a person they hire to do a job – it is all about relationships. As a planner and business owner, I am regularly evaluating each touch point I have with my clients and thinking of ways to build trusting and professional relationships. For example:
- As soon as a couple signs a contract and pays their retainer, I schedule a call to onboard them and familiarize them with their personalized Aisle Planner board. Aisle Planner keeps wedding planning as manageable as possible and provides a professional and beautiful platform where we can communicate with each other, track our progress together, and stay organized.
- I bring bottled water and note taking supplies to each meeting so that they can just show up without much preparation.
- I send thoughtful client gifts to my couples to give them a delightful surprise and let them know I am thinking about them.
Simplify Your Processes
Most of my clients lead busy, hectic lives and want to spend the little spare time they have between work and wedding planning doing the things that they love with the people they love. For this reason, I do everything in my power to make the logistics of planning a wedding as simple as possible. My advice would be to look at what processes you have in place already, and assess whether or not any of your processes could be simplified and improved.
Here are some examples of ways that I have simplified my processes for my clients:
- My contract is in terms that they can understand–there is no complicated legalese that will confuse them!
- I allow my clients to pay me via credit card online. I don’t assess a “processing fee” from the client – if you are finding that those fees are not allowing you to meet your revenue goals, you can readjust your pricing accordingly. If your goal is to improve client experience and make it easy to work with (and pay!) you, adding in the option to pay with a card is a no-brainer.
- I have my clients complete questionnaires and surveys prior to our meetings so that I am prepared and we can get more done during our time together.
Developing an amazing client experience is such a crucial aspect of maintaining a successful business in the wedding industry. Providing effective, simple, and enjoyable practices and processes helps keep your clients happy and increases the likelihood that they will use your services again in the future or refer you to their friends.