Hello Aisle Planner Fans!
My name is Rhiannon and I’m the owner and creative director of Hey Gorgeous Events, a boutique planning, design and floral firm located in the Midwest. Our approach involves servicing a very small handful of clients each year with a firm dedication to a remarkable client experience. I’m also the founder of The Trouvaille Workshop, a four-day luxe retreat for multi-faceted and creative wedding planners and designers. My goal with both brands is to love others well and always provide a memorable and one of a kind experience. With that being said, I’m so thrilled to be sharing more today on what that client experience means and how this is such an integral part of what we do specifically as wedding planners. For the past six plus years as I have grown my brand and business, treating my clients in an above-and-beyond fashion has always been my top priority. Even when I first started out in the industry coordinating events and doing only a fraction of what my team and I take on now, striving for excellence on a client experience level was always a crucial part of how I operated.
And here’s why.
How You Treat Others Leaves a Lasting Impression
. . . And a good lasting impression is always great for business!
Someone wise once said that it’s easy to forget what people say but impossible to forget how they made you feel. I would say this holds true for my own experience as a bride when to my horror my wedding gown came in three inches too short. And just a mere two weeks before my wedding to boot! As a 5 foot 1 gal with a 6 foot 4 husband to be this just wasn’t going to work.
While I don’t recall all the exact details surrounding this particular fiasco, I do remember feeling like an annoyance to the bridal salon when I finally found the courage to politely ask for a new dress; a reasonable request given my gown’s $2,700 price tag. Yet I was brushed off and told, ‘But flats would look so lovely with this gown!’ I wasn’t even offered an apology. Talk about a poor client experience!
Over five years later, even though I ended up getting a new gown in the right size just in time for our wedding, I still feel like I could have been given a much better experience. Because while the gown was just one part of the equation, the emotions associated with selecting it, trying it on, making the purchase and then wearing it on the big day, all amounted to a specific and lasting experience than far outweighed the actual product. And this bridal store really missed the mark.
Your client experience approach should be so fined tuned that any mistake can be carefully fixed as graciously as possible. This includes knowing how to apologize and knowing how to make things right in the event when they go wrong (because they will!). It also includes knowing how to delicately tip toe around sensitivities involving your clients (e.g. a recent loss of a parent, a bride who didn’t lose those last 5 pounds to feel her best, or hey, a dress that is over-altered by mistake!), because long after a wedding comes and goes your clients are going to remember how you made them feel. Your client experience lives on forever.
Weddings ARE An Experience In and Of Themselves
. . . And to do your job well, your client experience should be a priority!
Most couples hire a planner, designer or even a coordinator to assist with their wedding day for a multitude of reasons: their schedule is very busy so there’s little room to manage the process on their own, their ideal wedding is a bit more complex than the average and they need help making it happen, or the number one reason couples hire us at HGE: they want not only their wedding celebration but the process leading up to it, to be an experience. And that’s an understatement.
From my discussions with past HGE clients I’ve found that couples (and more specifically, brides) want to celebrate the small things as much as the big. Milestones like going gown shopping for the first time, signing on the dotted line with the venue or starting a registry with their partner, are all things that carry weight. Clients want someone else involved in the planning process to be just as invested in the work leading up to the big day. They also want their guests to feel as special and celebrated as they do on the big day. There’s many reasons weddings are a big deal and the amount of work that goes into them is certainly a testament to that.
Remembering how monumental the planning process is for your clients and how special not only their wedding day but also their marriage is to them puts the client experience a bit more into perspective. Perhaps this means not going to more meetings with your clients but making fewer meetings more meaningful. Or maybe this looks like memorizing your client’s bridal party names ahead of time so on the day everyone feels valued and special. A wedding is an experience so naturally the way you do your job so revolve in some form around a solid client experience.
Your Client Experience Is Unique To Your Brand
. . . And focusing on personalizing your own only strengthens your business!
In addition to the service part of what we do at HGE, there’s the part that I call ‘loving well on others.’ And for me that includes doing things that aren’t unheard of in the wedding industry but very much unique to our process; like showing up at a gown appointment with fresh flowers for a bride that recently lost her mom, or flying all day cross-country to surprise a bride and groom at their engagement photo session, or remembering to send a client an anniversary card five years later, a gift for a new baby or a card when a father passes.
The client experience as a whole looks however you decide but it’s essentially a reflection of how you treat others and ultimately how you want others to perceive you. It’s how you talk to your clients, how you respond to their needs, and how you explain things that aren’t so obvious to your client but very obvious to you. And it’s also leverage for how you can price yourself! A company with an above average client experience can charge a premium and not surprisingly will attract the right kinds of clients time and time again.
There’s a million ways a planner can plan and design a wedding but only one way you can offer an exceptional client experience that’s unique to you. Devote some time today to think about how you treat your clients and what your client experience looks like. See if there’s anywhere you can improve!
Your clients and your brand’s reputation are worth it.