Kelly wrote a fantastic post on owning up to mistakes yesterday. (Go read it now if you haven’t yet.) She talked about how passing the buck makes every wedding vendor (your colleagues) have to pick up the slack. Not only is this a hassle to your colleagues, but also costly to them.
You know what else?
It’s really bad client service. Every wedding pro I know touts their client service. (“I have the best client service!”) Here’s the first rule of client service:
Solving problems is how you service the client.
That’s what we do… we solve needs. We solve problems. If your company is priding that as a core value, then you need to walk the walk and talk the talk. The clients’ needs come first and showing that you can solve a problem (regardless of who “owns” it) is a fundamental part of customer service.
Here’s a recent example in my own life… American Airlines delayed my luggage for 3.5 days on my trip to Singapore last month. (I was only there for 7 days so it was quite crushing not to have my things for half the trip.) I bought incidentals totaling $350. (You can imagine that $350 doesn’t total up to a lot of fancy splurges… basics so that I didn’t stink up the joint.) The company policy is to have the airline that was on my last leg be responsible for the charges (which was Japan Airlines). Japan Airlines reimbursed me for only $80. I am still owed $270 for this mistake.
Here’s the thing – I’m an American Airlines customer. I booked all my flights through the company. Our family flies a combined 100-150k miles each year with them. They were also the ones responsible for my 3 flight delays on the way to Singapore. And, they were the airline that had my bag sit in JFK for 3 days. Regardless of any policy that they feel entitled to pass this along to Japan Airlines, I would hope that they would help out a customer in need. TALK ABOUT PASSING THE BUCK! Both airlines are washing their hands clean of me and my measly reimbursement. And, ultimately, as a customer of American Airlines, I am not being serviced. This is a company priding itself on service and the “New American” (an image that, in my opinion, will take years to improve.) I don’t care who’s at fault. I don’t care what the policy is. All I want is to have my problem resolved. And, no one is doing that.
Who loses out? The client.
That’s going to sit on my mind for a long time… not the nice representative who gave me a $12 concession voucher on one of my last delayed flights. I have a problem and no one is fixing it.
Think about this next time you pass the buck…
The client may remember the beautiful chuppah you designed for their ceremony. BUT – they are REALLY going to remember how you saved the day when the centerpiece tipped over just before the ceremony began. This is what service is about. Be a hero. SOLVE PROBLEMS.