A few days ago I received an email from a bride asking me if I could tell her whether a Spanish bridal shop I mentioned in a real wedding feature still existed and if yes, if I could tell her where their branch is.
I confess, I read it in a hurry and didn’t give it much thought as I was rushed off my feet. Last week, however, I finally decided to track it down for her. It took me a while, because as it appears, their site’s SEO is not optimised for English keywords. I nearly gave up and wrote her a note saying that as the site is not coming up in search, I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to track it down. I’m so glad I didn’t give up, however, because just a couple of hours later not only I managed to find the website, but I also got a local photographer to speak to the owner of the shop and confirm their contact details for me to pass on to the bride.
Now, I’m not one who likes to boast, and the reason for publishing her reply to my email is certainly NOT to show off, but I simply want illustrate how beautiful and satisfying it is to when you realise that your help has made a difference to someone.
Did I know that she was going to reply to me with such a heartfelt email? Not at all, and frankly I had no expectations at all. I don’t know this bride and as far as I know, she might not even be UK based, so I didn’t help in the hope that she might book my wedding planning services as a direct consequence of my being helpful to her. I simply figured that if she had taken the time to approach me asking for information, the least I can do is acknowledge her email. After all, I am a wedding planner, and being helpful and approachable has to be second nature to me. It reinforces and validates my brand values, and when you get thank you emails like this, it makes me happy and satisfied because I know that’s the reputation I want to build for myself and my brand.
I’ve recently written a couple of emails to people that haven’t got back or even acknowledged me and it made me sad and a frustrated, but most of all it made me realise that as a business, if I cannot reply within 48 hours to my clients or fellow colleagues, no matter how busy I am, I should at least have a system in place that sends out an acknowledgment (whether automatic or in person) so that the person who’s emailed me knows that their email is not stuck in the ether. Last week was an exceptionally busy one for me, so I’ve found myself in the situation where I received a couple of emails I knew I was unable to answer immediately. Eventually I had to send a quick acknowledgement letting them know when I expected to get back to them. I say ‘I had to’ because to be honest, I felt that my conscience would trouble me if I went more than 2 days without replying. So I genuinely don’t understand when people, not only don’t acknowledge an email (48 hours, 1 week or ever), but just decide to ignore someone’s email. Even when something is not worth your time, pinning a quick note back saying ‘Thanks for your email, unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to help‘ does make a difference, and makes you come across as a professional and approachable person, which I’m sure is how we all want to be perceived, particularly in such a customer focussed industry.
So, I’d like to ask you brides & friends, what are some of the customer service mistakes you have experienced when dealing with a wedding supplier? And equally, was there anything that a supplier did that really exceeded your expectations?
Wedding suppliers, I’d like to hear from you too. Do you have an acknowledgment system in place to help with your emails? What do you do when you’ve left it so late that you realise that replying to an email is border-line embarrassing (yes, it has happened to me)?
And lastly, there was supposed to be another picture here stating: “The grass is greener where you water it”. Unfortunately the image uploader was refusing to cooperate with me today, but I still wanted to mention it, as I think this is a really fitting quote. We often compare our business to others and think that for some reasons unbeknown to us, they seem to be doing a lot better than us. However, if you water YOUR grass, if YOU do your best, even in the smallest of things, to build a brand reputation that is strong and recognisable, your grass will be greener.
Credits: Quote via Mind Body Green