Regardless of how much you plan for this, plan for that (plan for everything), there comes a time in every wedding planners’ career that it hits the fan. From miscommunication, acts of god, and things that are just out of your control, your job, then, is to provide the best customer service you can. So today, 3 members of our community shared stories of situations and experiences that could have gone from bad to worse and how they worked through them! Read on for some expert customer service survival stories that might be all too familiar!
We once had a client whose venue closed down exactly 6 weeks before the wedding. They had given no notification except the measly “out of business” sign on the door that we saw when we arrived for her final walk through. It was a nightmare for everyone involved, and our sweet bride was absolutely devastated. We immediately called her whole vendor team, found her a new venue, and they had a better wedding than they ever would have had at the original location (bride’s words)!
My advice: think on your toes! Our clients have told us so many times that things never would have come together had they not hired us. As a planner, you learn how to handle these types of crazy situations and will be able to mediate the mishap and solve the problem while saving your clients tons of stress!
I once had a couple fail to mention until after we had already begun the quoting process that they expected their wedding to go until 2:00am. When I explained that for a weekday wedding, that was not something we could do without a large after-hours up-charge (and the venue they already booked wouldn’t allow that at all), their entire attitude towards me changed. I was accused of not sticking to the budget, not respecting their requests, and not being flexible with them. Soon thereafter, they started dodging all communication from myself and the vendors (who were holding their date as a favor to me since we work together a lot) – things clearly had gone to a bad place.
I was so distraught.
So, I went back to my contract. I always have my clients sign a communication clause within the contract agreeing to pre-determined communication parameters. Being that the couple stopped replying to myself and all vendors no matter how many times we followed up, per my contract I had legal grounds to send a notice with a 2 week window to rectify the situation or else their contract was to be terminated and no refund would be issued. Within one hour of me sending this notice, I received a call from the groom.
We are now back on track, the couple has officially booked and paid their deposits with all of the vendors, and they have been responsive and positive with me thus far. The lesson here is prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Have an iron-clad contract that clients can’t take advantage of. There may always be little annoyances or ways a client might try and get around a clause, but when you have prepared for the worst possible client, you are doing the best thing for your business and your peace of mind.
One hot and humid summer day (94 degrees to be exact) our planning team was on site doing what we do best – producing a beautifully planned wedding, starting early with set up. As usual, we get stopped to answer questions, help with load in, re-adjust the details so they are just right. And then, the power fails. The transformer for the entire city block goes out and I (the lead planner) am stuck in a small musty elevator with 2 other service professionals. On top of that, the ceremony welcome reception was set to start in about 45 minutes!
So, what did I do? I jumped on the radio to my team. I directed over radio what needed to be completed until I could get out of the elevator. Staying calm, having a team, knowing how to delegate and a radio was the life saver here. Once I was “rescued” from the hot elevator, I jumped into problem-solving mode. Over the years, I’ve dealt with a variety of wedding day issues but it’s my duty to ensure they are handled professionally, quickly, quietly, and with my couples’ best interest at heart!