No matter how the world we live in changes, there are some pillars of business that are comfortingly constant. One of those is the idea that every business has customers, and the key to any successful business is keeping those customers happy and loyal.
Check In Regularly
I started my wedding career over 17 years ago in the tuxedo business when many people didn’t yet have an email or a cell phone. Most communication happened by landline and snail mail. We reminded customers that they were on our minds by dialing them up and having a short conversation, or by sending a postcard or hand-written note to say, “We’re thinking about you.”
Today, most clients prefer to receive texts or emails, and we have adapted to accommodate. While the mode of communication has changed, however, the etiquette has not. Customers need to know that they matter and that you are thinking of them, especially in the weeks approaching their weddings and immediately after. Quick, no-pressure check-ins via text or email give them needed reassurance while respecting their time.
Invite Honest Conversation
While sometimes it can be difficult to open yourself up to criticism or feedback, establishing the kind of relationship with your clients that encourages them to talk to you can be invaluable to your business. When you communicate, ask short, open-ended questions to allow honest and full responses.
Listen Before You Speak
Likewise, pay close attention to the questions your prospects and current clients are asking before giving them stock answers. Every couple thinks their wedding day is unique, and they should. They want to trust that you are going to be able to personalize their experience and cater to their needs. Listen to their concerns carefully so you can address them and help make their day as perfect as possible.
Follow Up on All Feedback
We send a survey immediately after a wedding, and again after our clients receive their final products. The survey is offered via text and email to get the most responses possible. We follow up on all feedback whether positive or negative. Often, the simple action of following up can mitigate a bad impression and restore customer loyalty.
Keep in Touch
We hear from clients all the time that they feel a sort of letdown after an event. During planning, they may have been in touch with their vendors regularly, then suddenly, after the big event, they feel abandoned. Develop a long-term email or text campaign to help keep in touch with past clients. Follow up right after the event to ask for feedback, and send quick messages regularly thereafter. Wish your former clients happiness on their birthdays, drop a note on their anniversaries and just generally prove that they will always matter to you. If they ever have an opportunity to send a referral your way, you will be top-of-mind. The fortune is in the follow up.
Customer loyalty is earned. Demonstrate that you deserve yours by listening to your clients, connecting with them before and after their events, and always letting them know, in every practical and possible way, that you care.
Keith Phillips is the Director of Business Development for Classic Photographers, a company that provides high quality wedding photography and videography services for the budget minded couple.