While customer service has always been at the forefront of our minds as event pros, we’ve never experienced a collective career shift quite like this. We went from in-person planning to virtual nearly overnight – not to mention all of the stress and unknown waters that came along with a global pandemic.
Despite finally getting back on our feet, the customer journey has completely changed forever as we once knew it. The idea of a bespoke experience has new meaning, especially as we navigate major obstacles in the way of safety precautions and postponements. So, how can we further adapt to provide clients with top-notch service and peace of mind?
The evolution of customer service
Before we begin, it’s important to note the ways that being in a customer service role has evolved since pre-COVID. For almost everyone, it goes without saying that priorities have remained the same, but how we approach the planning process is quite different. Communication is almost entirely virtual, with the exception of in-person planning elements such as walkthroughs, venue tours, etc.
For Nora Sheils, founder of Bridal Bliss and co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, her idea of service is
evergreen. “Customer service is anticipating a problem before it arises and surprising and delighting. Catch your clients off-guard with unexpected gifts, thoughtful gestures, and being
one step ahead of them. Communication is king. Respond and respond quickly.”
Dixie Bagley, owner of The Farm in Rome, GA, adds, “It’s going to be essential that you train your staff to be professional at every turn. Consistency is key, as is your presentation. If you show up to a meeting with wet hair or wrinkled clothes, it can go against what you’re hoping your business’s aesthetic will achieve. Clients want to know exactly what to expect on their big day, so you need to put your best foot forward and show up for them appropriately.”
Top tips and tools for a seamless client experience
Luckily, there are several things that you can do to elevate yourself and your company when it
comes to communication.
“Tech is going to be your friend here,” says Kevin Dennis, owner of Fantasy Sound Event
Services. “Making everything easy for your client and giving them a clean presentation is going
to boost their confidence in your services. For example, Grammarly is a great tool for ensuring that every email, proposal, or written text of any kind has proper spelling and grammar. And Square is an incredibly easy mobile payment app that allows you to process credit card payments regardless of where you are. No more writing checks!”
Shannon Tarrant, founder of WeddingVenueMap.com, notes, “You’d be surprised at just how instrumental your team is when it comes to virtual assistance. Ever since I hired a virtual admin to handle the customer service side of my business, I’ve been able to grow my business in ways I didn’t think were possible. I have peace of mind knowing that everything is streamlined and organized when it comes to my clients.”
What you shouldn’t do when providing customer service
Unfortunately, there are also a couple of things that can hold you back in terms of giving your
all to your clientele.
Dennis continues, “Going virtual has thankfully eliminated the things that used to slow the
customer journey down tenfold. In-person meetings sometimes meant that days would be
spent on a proposal, coming to an agreed-upon meeting date and time, printing contracts, and
then ultimately waiting for those contracts to be signed and mailed back. Virtual consultations
have cut down this back-and-forth considerably – now, it’s much easier to send a Zoom link,
make changes via email, and then e-sign contracts with tools like Adobe Document Cloud or DocuSign. Prioritize this communication and automation to avoid keeping your clients waiting.”
According to Sheils, it’s also important to be succinct. “Don't over-communicate. Customers want a streamlined process, and if something goes wrong, they want accountability and to move on. Don't bring up the issue over and over – fix it and move forward!”
Oftentimes, the best thing you can do is roll with the punches. Your customers will ultimately
know when you’re putting forth a genuine effort to go above and beyond with your services,
but it’s crucial that you do so authentically and with intention.