“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates
I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Gates on this one. On Monday I shared a story about a happy bride and her very unhappy maid-of-honor who seemed intent on making my job more difficult.
My first instinct was to give the woman a piece of my mind. I thought to myself, “This is nuts. Here I am suggesting a solution to the problem she’s addressing and yet she continues to be extremely rude. I decided I needed to try another tactic and offered to get her something to drink. She angrily replied that she didn’t want a drink, that I better get out of her face and that I owed the bride a refund.
Suddenly, it occurred to me that she might be jealous of the bride. (Later, the bride confirmed my theory!) I realized that she might be feeling invisible and somewhat lost on her friend’s big day. She needed some attention. So, I said, “It sounds like you know a lot about flowers. May I show you the bouquet I made for you?”
Unfortunately but perhaps unsurprisingly, she hated her bouquet, and I spent the next forty-five minutes with her and one of my floral designers redoing it. However, in the process, she also calmed down.
Weddings can be very emotional for not only the bride and groom but also their guests. That day I learned an important lesson: I need to pay attention to both my clients AND their guests. You should always be aware of the dynamic of every wedding you do. What tensions do the families have? Are any members of the bridal party unhappy? How can I make everyone relax and feel good?
And you know what else? This story has a happy ending! Recently, I ran into the maid of honor, and she told me that she is dating someone special now. She said, “The moment I get engaged, I’m calling you!” Well, my first reaction to that was, “Are you kidding me? No way, no how, lady!” But then I remembered Mr Gates’ words. I learned a lot from that woman.
Dear Readers, if you were me, would you do this woman’s wedding? How do you deal with potentially problematic clients?