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Who Else Wants to Stop Stressing Over Client Demands

Who Else Wants to Stop Stressing Over Client Demands

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Every professional I know, who is worth her salt, worships at the altar of customer service. They live to please their clients and so do I. But, there are times when the bride is not right and her actions actually prevent you from doing a good job for her.
Every professional I know, who is worth her salt, worships at the altar of customer service. They live to please their clients and so do I. But, there are times when the bride is not right and her actions actually prevent you from doing a good job for her.

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Published by: Dina Eisenberg Business Mentor on Oct 12, 2010
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05/12/2014

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Who Else Wants to Stop Stressing over Client Demands?

Every professional I know, who is worth her salt, worships at the altar of customer service. They live to please their clients and so do I. But, there are times when the bride is not right and her actions actually prevent you from doing a good job for her. Situations like…when the bride never gave you the seating chart or she delays the start of dinner because she wants one more picture or the fact that she doesn’t realize that you can’t get invitations printed in a week. That’s stressful. Never fear! There IS something you can do about those mishaps that will make you and your clients happier. What’s Your Policy? You know, my mom had a saying I've adopted as my own: Poor planning on your part doesn't make an emergency on my part. I learned to anticipate and plan first before asking for help. It’s only considerate not to waste someone else’s time (which in some cases is money). Just like a bride needs education around wedding trends and practices, she’ll also need an education on how to work with you. Like most thoughtful professionals, you're really passionate about your work and pleasing clients. You are willing to go the extra mile when things go awry. You want to give every client an amazing experience, and I agree that’s important. But let me ask you this: if you spend your all energy dealing with clients that can't or won't recognize the value of your time and assistance, what will you have left for your best clients? You know, those clients who are a joy to work with and make you remember why you got into the business in the first place. Those are the clients you want to reward with extra special service. Sure, it may be only a few brides who cause angst so it might not seem crucial to you take this step. My response: Why have those worries at all? Once I set my policy I felt so much more relaxed and focused because I knew parties understood and agreed with my method of work and as a result the work went smoother. What You Can Do: Going Forward I'd suggest that you take these steps if you want to reduce stressful situations in your wedding business: Decide when and why you'll do a 'rush order' - Take a moment to think about what situations call for special treatment, why, and how you’d ideally like to handle them. It’s your business and you get to make the rules. You might even decide to take a page from UPS and have different fees for various types of ‘rush jobs’ like their shipping rates. Once you have this ‘mental yardstick’ you can easily tell when a request doesn’t measure up.

Write down your new policy - Commit your policy to paper for two good reasons. One, you’ll want to spend time getting the wording right so that it’s comfortable for you to say and easy for clients to understand. Second, studies show that writing things down clarifies thinking and helps your memory. You don’t want to be caught stumbling through this type of conversation because you can’t remember what your own policy is, do you? Share your written statement with colleagues and friends for feedback to insure it’s clear, understandable and that you haven’t forgotten something obvious. Practice saying it out loud so you sound confident, firm yet kind Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it that matters. Practice saying it until it runs off your tongue like butter and become part of your natural conversation. You’ll feel more confident and clients are less likely to challenge you if it sounds like ‘business as usual’. (This works for your pricing, too!) Introduce your policy in your collateral materials, contracts and website - Educating brides up front during the selection process of what you expect in a working relationship sets expectations for both of you. It especially is helpful for a bride who probably has never worked with a wedding professional before. Sharing this information is proactive conflict management. Don’t worry about having it too many places. Busy brides might need to be reminded few times before the message sinks in. Enforce the rules with caring and flexibility - Nobody likes to say no, however, there’s no point in having a rule if it’s not enforced. (In fact, that can be disastrous in a teamwork situation). Do what you can to deliver the news gently, look for alternatives to offer, and be positive. Why It Works Explaining your work style doesn't have to be a difficult or awkward task. Crafting a thoughtful policy is a sign that you are a well-prepared professional who cares about and knows how to create a great wedding experience. Once you can convey what works best for you and why, most clients will adhere to the rules and be grateful for them.

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