When you think about what’s most important to your client experience, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s replying to your clients in a timely manner. Maybe it’s your onboarding process. Whatever thoughts you had, know there is no right or wrong answer though there is something your experience needs to be more than—and that is more than just being nice. Sure, being a pleasant person is an important variable in creating an experience that leaves your couples thinking, “You were so awesome to work with,” but there is more to it than that. So today, we wanted to dive into just some of the other variables that add up to a memorable, high-touch, and reputation-building client experience. Read on to learn what they are so you can level up on your own.
Creating a safe and welcoming environment
The foundation of a great client experience is creating a space where your couples feel a sense of calm, comfort, and confidence in what they are working with you on. And, when you take a step back to think about it, your client experience is an extension of both your core values and marketing messages (think: the descriptions on your Storefronts and all those social media captions you wrote to get them interested in learning more). So, when it comes down to it, there needs to be continuity between what your couples read online about working with you and what they experience when you actually welcome them.
For some pros, this might boil down to the actual studio space you have and work with clients in. But, even if you do most of your client collaboration remotely or only in-person on occasion, you want to make sure the space feels inclusive as well as a place for your couples to come and be themselves. You should have samples of your work that include couples that look like them, have recommendations for other pros with common values, and use inclusive language to let them know all ideas are welcome.
Pro-tip: Learn more about how to help your couples be an ally throughout the wedding planning process.
Anticipating your couples’ needs
When it comes to winning over your clients, the key is working to be two (or ten) steps ahead of them—because presenting people with what they need before they even ask for it is not just a sign you are listening but that you know what you are doing. Now, sometimes anticipating your couples’ needs is purely a proactive measure to impress them with your skills but sometimes it is about presenting them with a solution to a hiccup you might see happening. Regardless, if you work to provide excellent customer service, you’ll be building a great client experience as well.
You might often read or hear about empathy (the ability to share the feelings of others) and this skill is important to your client experience as well. Because, if you want your clients to feel seen, heard, and understood, you need to be an empathetic person. Now, you might be reading this and thinking, “Yes—of course,” but here’s the thing, it can be easy to forget when you are feeling frustrated when you’ve been in the industry for a long while and have seen or heard it all.
“Enhancing your client experience goes beyond just treating people nicely in many ways, and one is actually understanding what your clients are going through when planning a wedding. When you truly understand what your clients are experiencing during the wedding planning process, you can not only help them better navigate that process, but you can meet them with empathy and compassion at the times they need it most. Imagine what would happen if you lean into emotionally challenging moments with your clients instead of running away from them and thinking to yourself, ‘That’s not my job.’ Some of the key points I hope vendors get out of my book is (1) a deeper understanding of what the wedding planning process looks like for our clients, (2) identifying their own level of emotional intelligence, and (3) tools and resources they can implement in their own lives and businesses and also use to help their clients navigate wedding planning.” – Leah Weinberg, owner of Color Pop Events and author of The Wedding Roller Coaster
Continually being empathetic is easier said and done. But if you are a wedding pro who uses any marketing messages centered on understanding or being someone who has seen it all, remember to support your clients in this way to give them the experience they turned to you for.
Doing the hard thing when it’s the right thing
Which brings us to our last variable and maybe the toughest pill to swallow—because we know we’re talking to a room full of perfectionists. But, as much as you don’t want to hear it and perhaps hate doing it, making the decision to do the hard thing is important to the big picture of your client experience. Sometimes the hard thing is taking the blame for something you didn’t do. Sometimes doing the hard thing is agreeing to something you aren’t super excited about. And sometimes doing the hard thing is having a hard conversation with another pro. Regardless of what hard situation might come up, maintaining a great client experience can rely on you being the consummate professional and following through on the more difficult parts of your job (contracted or not).
Interested in digging deeper into the topic? Read this piece about how client experience can help increase your customer satisfaction.
Photo Credit: Pen Carlson Photography