Business Series Part 2: The Client Experience
If you haven’t already, check out the first part of our business series, Building a Client Base!
As an event planner you’re in the business of people. Making your clients comfortable from start to finish is what they pay you for.
Providing a great service means being attentive to all your clients’ needs. Below you’ll find suggestions on how you can guarantee a pleasant client experience from the first time they walk through the door, through the conclusion of the event.
Be on time, always
This should be a no-brainer. Even if your clients are habitually late, that doesn’t give you an excuse to do the same. Whether you’re meeting with a client face-to-face, have a scheduled a phone call, or have told them you’d answer their email by a set time, make sure you honor that commitment.
If, for any reason, you believe you’ll be late, give your client notice of this as quickly as possible. Don’t give them the chance to wonder why you’re late.
Be a professional
We’ve previously written about the importance of keeping a professional front. This ranges from how you dress to how you speak to the way you write your emails. Your clients hired a professional, so be that professional with your clients at all time.
Meet in an appropriate setting
This is particularly important if you work out of your home. Clients can be very uncomfortable visiting you at your house, especially if you have family, children, or pets running around. When you arrange to meet with a client, arrange to meet at a quiet, appropriate location.
If a client is interested in discussing a luxury wedding, for instance, you can meet in the lobby area of a high-end hotel nearby. For a corporate event, consider meeting at a chic coffee bar.
Wherever you meet your client, make sure it’s somewhere quiet where you won’t be bothered or rushed by the staff. Try to avoid a busy Starbucks, for instance, and opt for a quieter location.
Keep your clients in the loop
People are least stressed when they know exactly what’s going on. This is why you should strive to provide your clients regular updates throughout the planning process.
A common rookie mistake is to avoid contact with one’s clients during the planning process. I’ve often heard professionals complain “My clients should trust that I’m doing my job.”
Well, yes they should… but they also trust that you’ll keep them in the loop. On top of meeting face-to-face with your clients, regular email reports are a great way of keeping them informed and increasing their trust in your abilities.
Don’t only share the positive
If a problem arises or something goes wrong with the event or planning thereof, you should inform your client of this as well. Not to stress them out, and not to have them solve your problems for you… but simply so they are fully aware of what’s going on.
Let your client know there is a problem, exactly what the fallout is, and your action plan to resolve it. Trust me, your client will love this amount of insight into your job, and you’ll feel better not having to hide anything from him/her.
Set expectations, and stick to them
This goes back to keeping your clients in the know. When you first sign on your clients, they should be provided with a set schedule of what you expect to accomplish, when it will be completed, and how often you will be communicating with them. Be sure you stick to that schedule. Otherwise you’re giving your clients reason to stress!
Make sure your client is aware you appreciate their business. Don’t look desperate, but do convey your appreciation through thank-you cards or small gifts. This will not only make your clients happy, but they will be more likely to recommend your services or hire you again in the future.
This is probably the most crucial point you can take away from this article! Whatever we’ve mentioned above, you should gauge your client’s personality and decide how to best approach each situation. For instance, not every client will be comfortable meeting you in a public place. And likely they won’t say it, but you should be able to gauge their reaction when you suggest a location.
Same with keeping clients in the loop. While 95% of your clients will appreciate status updates, some clients will be uncomfortable with that level of information. Be open to scaling back if that’s what your client prefers.
Remember, the key here is to put your client at ease, not to stroke your ego or to boost your own confidence. If you approach every situation from the point of view of the customer as opposed to your own, you’ll not only improve the customer experience but will also increase your bottom line!
If you want to learn more about taking your business to the next level, check out our Achieving Business Success series!