Like it or not, we’ve found ourselves smack-dab in something customer service gurus like to call “the relationship era.” When it comes to customer service, it’s all about relationship-building.
Can you say, without one second of hesitation, that your wedding business is excellent at building relationships with customers or clients?
For an example of bad customer service, I’ll (unfortunately) dive into one of my experiences in the wedding industry. My sister got married two years ago, and prior to her wedding, she, my mom and I hit up all the bridal shops in a two-state region. I’ll never forget how detached some wedding shop personnel were.
After we took our shoes off (a thing at most shops, right?) we browsed around by ourselves before someone asked us in a voice as quiet as if there were ten babies sleeping, “Can I help you?”
Really? That’s the best you can do?
The relationship era has evolved, and it’s fun to look at what has happened over time:
- 1900-1960: The product era
- Businesses simply Informed customers of the products they sold.
- 1960-2000: The consumer era
- Businesses persuaded customers to buy their products.
- 2000-present: The relationship era
- Relationships are key.
#1 – Hone in on workplace culture.
What’s the best way to make absolutely sure authentic relationships are being built with your clients?
Easy. Hire the right people to work day in and day out with your clients.
Culture matters because the assumptions and beliefs of your employees drive behavior. The behavior of employees determines results. The results measure performance and indicate if strategic business objectives have been achieved.
According to Gallup, three types of employees exist:
- Engaged: This employee works with passion and feels a connection with his/her company. He/she moves your wedding business forward.
- Not engaged: This employee is a zombie. He/she puts time in—but passion is zilch.
- Actively disengaged: This employee acts out unhappiness and undermines what his/her colleagues—and you— accomplish daily.
Which type of employee do you employ?
I hope, for your sake, you’ve got the sunniest ones who genuinely care about every single client sitting right at your front desk. Hopefully, they have a magical quality and that clients can’t help but want to talk to them all day long.
#2 – Define your workplace culture.
Did you know that 80% of all organizations fail to intentionally craft or enhance their company’s culture?
Does this apply to small businesses, too?
If you have not laid out expectations for your employees of what type of customer experience you’d like your clients to have, you’ve done your wedding business a major disservice.
If the employees are not carefully trained on delivery, you’ve effectively created the possibility of brides (or whomever your clients are) going back to their friends and saying, “The service I received at [YOUR ORGANIZATION] was… meh.”
Oh, you don’t want that. Remember, social media is watching!
Now, I realize your wedding business may not be publicly traded, but take a look at what happened with United Airlines’ stock this past spring (remember when the doctor was pulled from the plane?)
Social media was watching—and that’s why UAL tanked that day.
And you only want social media to generate money for your business, right? Not the other way around.
Ask yourself (and be honest!) Are you very carefully and intentionally delivering your wedding business products in a way that’s special? In a way that’s:
- Caring and friendly?
- Carried through in a timely fashion?
- And effectively problem-solved and solution-oriented if necessary?
Quality customer service is an organization’s ability to exceed expectations, making the encounter truly an experience.
You’re a consumer. Think of the times when you’ve had amazing customer service, and emulate your experience in your business. Have your employees emulate that experience in your business.
If you had a wonderful experience at Disney, or Ritz Carlton (both companies actually are the cream of the crop when it comes to customer service) then for the love of all the things that are good and holy, emulate that!
#3 – Hire well and train for personalized service.
The next time you have an opportunity to hire someone for your company, look for people with high EQ—emotional quotient. You know what that means. We’ve all encountered people with high EQ.
Then, make sure your employees know how to exceed customers’ expectations. (Think Bob, in the ice cream cartoon.)
If all of your employees are like Bob, and you’re like Bob, and you employ an innovative marketing strategy, you’re going to have no trouble at all.
What do you think?