Ask any bride or groom the most important part of selecting their wedding professionals and they whole-heartedly agree: Customer Service! The best product or service is only as good as the people who handle it from start to finish and the worst single thing that a business can do is to drop the ball when it comes to this (most) critical element.
So, without being vague, what makes a company’s customer service great? Attention to detail, follow-up, communication and the willingness to settle for nothing less than perfect.
I remember a bride from many years ago who inspected her gown upon arrival and there was a giant fabric flaw directly in the front of the skirt. There it was, right in the middle, completely visible without a magnifying glass- a huge slub of silk! She immediately asked the store manager to get another gown and was told this was not possible. She was then offered a discount of 20%. This did not sit well and she left the store in tears. Later that day she came in and spoke to me, I was working in the alterations department and she asked what I could do. I suggested that with the owner’s permission we could replace the front of the dress with an entirely new skirt panel of the same exact fabric. It would take several seamstresses many hours to complete this task and it was going to cost the store hundreds of dollars in materials and labor but, the owner decided it was worth it. Melinda picked up her gown the day of her wedding and it was perfect, we completed the task to her satisfaction and were able to recoup some of the loss from the manufacturer due to their lack of quality control. She was thrilled, she referred us to dozens of her friends and the story had a beautiful ending. I think of Melinda often because of her calm resolve and her unwillingness to compromise quality for a 20% discount. Her words haunt me, “I am not unhappy about the price of the gown, I am unhappy about the quality. I have paid a fair price and I would like the product I ordered.” The fault fabric was not of her doing so, why should she have to suffer? As wedding gown professionals it was our job to deliver that product, and as experts in customer service…. we did.
-If the customer has needs you cannot fulfill, refer them to another professional. It is better to say no to a job too big than to make a promise you can’t deliver.
-Remind the customer that they do get what they pay for. Your company may not be the cheapest but, you’re worth it.
-If they have selected you from dozens of bakers, florists or DJ’s to handle their event, they deserve to be spoken to as soon as possible. Even if it is a call to tell them you are very busy and wont be able to handle a consultation at a later date, you need to manage your time well enough to handle every customer as if they were the last, or they might very well be just that.
Great customer service is putting your customer’s needs first, identifying any problems, addressing them immediately and being accessible. Great customer service is not just making promises but, keeping them.
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago