Happy Monday! In the past few blogs, I have been addressing one of the requests from my readers and been reviewing various things I have learned in the process of acquiring, securing, and pleasing clients in regards to the design process.
We have already covered how to deal with the initial call, estimates, and contracts. This week, I will get into the detail of the actual presentation process. Before I get to the aspects of design, I would like to address an even more important topic: What it means to give good service. I truly adhere to the saying, “The client is always right, even when they are wrong.” I hold this as a mantra and try and instill it in the mind of every person who works for and with me.
Now, I know how it feels when a client is dissatisfied, and even insulting. I have been fired, told that my work lacked elegance (I believe the actual word they used was “tacky”), and I even stood there as a client explained that I was the worst designer they have ever worked with. Ouch.
Each time, I felt like going home and crawling into bed and crying. I actually did just that a couple of times. The good thing about these situations is that they have helped me to understand my clients better. The more I paid attention and learned about them, the less those painful and uncomfortable moments occur. Giving good service is more than serving a nice cup of tea and sending flowers; it’s about really listening and not just dealing with the needs of our clients’, but caring about them. Sometimes these needs can come off as demanding, others they are very emotional.
Here are a few things I sometimes do to get it wrong.
Not Getting The Vision Of My Client: I now give three different presentations showcasing three different concepts. Yes, it is a lot more work, but it has proven an effective tool. I will share more about this on tomorrow’s blog.
Not Understanding Their Financial Situation: I am embarrassed to admit that I often make the horrible mistake of showing clients designs they cannot afford. I never want to make anyone uncomfortable so I have learned to manage this one, though I will admit that it is still a struggle.
Not Dealing Directly With The Person Who Is Paying: I have learned that there is a lot of confusion about money with dads, moms, partners, or others who are footing the bill if they don’t understand what they are being charged for.
Not Understanding The Family Dynamic: Brides, mothers, stepmothers, grooms…It’s important to hear them all out. I do my best to sit down with all of them and listen to what they want, even if they are having a conflict. I do my best to help them find a resolution that suits them. Perhaps the bride has the ceremony she wants while the groom helps design the cocktail hour and the mother has a say in the reception.
I am happy to say that most of my clients are a dream to work with. Still, I always approach clients with the same adherence to high quality service and I try to create a great experience for all who come through my office door.
Question: Have you encountered any of the issues I mentioned above? How do you deal with a mother of a bride that tells you, “It’s her wedding, but don’t forget that it’s my party?” I was stunned when this was said to me. If this were said to you, what would your response have been?
(Photo courtesy of Pinterest)