Misconceptions of Wedding Vendors and How to Prevent Them
Wedding vendors in the wedding industry are faced with many obstacles in every event. Some obstacles are beyond any one person's control. ie. weather, lighting, conditions, wet, 100 degrees, guests or clients being uncooperative in timing and other issues.
Nearly all of us pull through with the challenges we face and overcome the obstacles and pull off your event without a bump in the road, but what if your obstacles also included a client that is unknowledgeable about your actual duties, or their expectations outweigh their budget?
As a photographer, I have seen many clients over the years have misconceptions from questions like, ie. assuming that you deliver every photo taken; that every image turns out; that you possibly just walk around taking pictures - what an easy job you have, and that the camera does all the work. Many misconceptions of what my duties as a photographer actually are. If you are a photographer or wedding vendor and you are reading this blog post, I am sure you are feeling my vibe right about now, I laugh.
Most of us have had this experience, where a client had many misconceptions and expectations that exceed their budget and or contracts, or were in breach of contract and feel as if they had no control of their event and they want someone to blame because there wedding wasn't the fairy tale they envisioned it would be.
In response, you should remain professional, and my best advice in a response, is whether you take it personally or not, cool off and get your head together and respond accordingly, mannerly and professionally. You have a reputation to uphold, and be "better" than stooping down to the level of taking it personal, remember this is just a part of business.
In this age, you can't make everyone happy, it is not just on your shoulders to do so- but you can remain professional! Your actions are a reflection upon not only you but also your business and the vendors you work with and for.
There are some clients that you just can not satisfy. This is the sole purpose of your wedding vendor having a good contract. To cover all of those bases of problems arising from misconceptions and far outweighed expectations. A good informative website is also a helpful tool in "educating" your potential client. But you still, unfortunately will still have "the unsatisfied" client.
When you receive that complaint or concern- read it, try to put yourself in their shoes, but at the same time, make sure that you don't allow a client to push you into a corner that you don't deserve to be in.
After reading, investigate the matter of their complaint. Ask yourself - Do they have a valid complaint? Did your contract promise more than you delivered? Did the client bring up any of these concerns prior or during their event? Was this event on schedule? Did you clients abide by their contract? Did you fulfill your end of the agreement? These are some questions you may ask yourself prior to any written response.
Always keep any correspondence that you have with your clients during the duration of your contract. I personally keep messages and client files for many years, as well as any vendors we may work with.
You want to address their issues and concerns, but there will be situations that arise that you personally had no control of. If you are not guilty of any wrong doing, should you offer a discount? My answer is no, even if you are just trying to avoid a bad review. Returning funds when there is no basis, does not ensure you that the client still will not make an unfavorable review. It is also admitting on your part, that you were at some level of fault.
Over the years, we live and learn from experience, this is what makes us human. This is also the main reason for contracts and the adding of more policies to current contracts. We have all heard that saying " there is always that one person ruins it for the rest of us", and that is 100% the issue in most cases when additional policies are applied to current contracts.
So, now you have come a crossroad. Any way you go, your client is not going to be satisfied in any answer you give them, regardless if they were in the wrong, or refuse to take responsibility for their own actions that may have lead up to the dissatisfaction of oneself or their event. I feel at this point they have made the "decision" to stop using self control, so here comes a long line of excuses of "why" it is your fault, and all the excuses in the world will still not be enough excuse for you in taking the blame for your clients actions.
There are plenty of us wedding vendors that have a contract or clauses in their contracts for such behavior from a client. Some of you may have read a contract and have thought to yourself, "what kind of crazy sh*t is this?" laughing
I have spoke with other fellow vendors and some even have in their contracts if they feel threatened in any way whether by a guest or client, they have the right to terminate services and leave.
I bet there is an amazing change of attitude watching a "nasty" client regain full self control when they see their photographer or wedding vendor start packing up to leave, and understand there is only way for them to come back. Even better - anyone could get them to control themselves - bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, and others - if they would just stand up to it and say to the Bride or dissatisfied client by simply saying "I'm not participating in this if you don't control yourself." But they cowardly allow the clients childish temper tantrum continue.
In part, this feeds to the anxieties, stress and anger or dissatisfaction of your client and can make matters much worse. I have witnessed sisters- Bride and Maid of Honor gang up on a fellow vendor and speak to them disrespectfully. This is not how you want to speak to a vendor that is in charge of your big day. If you hired a good vendor, believe me when I say they have the same goals and your best interest at heart.
As a potential client, or client, ask yourself this -Don't you want them to do an amazing job? First step in helping that be a success is to treat your vendor with the same mannerism that you would respect in return.
Have you ever heard the saying, don't talk nasty to the person who is going to prepare your food, they might spit in it? It is pretty much the same concept. Not saying your vendor would do that, because then that is just hurting their future business. It is merely just a concept some may use if they feel the need to have fear instilled in them in order for them to be nice.
If you are a potential client reading this, always remember to treat your vendors with respect, and as you would want to be treated. Your wedding vendors are there to do a job, and everyone does a better job not working in a stressful situation.
As I stated earlier in this post, we have to be prepared for any weather, any lighting situations, lateness of guests or vendors, traffic, your requests, your package or purchase, your payments, your plans, we also have to plan and execute said plan during your event. So, we already have our own stress to deal with. Being a nasty client only gets everyone upset, including yourself and adds unneeded stress for your wedding day.
Tip: If you want your wedding vendor to put their feet in your shoes, you also need to give them the same respect. Voice your concerns day of, right at that moment, don't wait until later, later may just be a little too late.
Everyone works better together with a mutual respect, patience and understanding. Waiting until the last minute doesn't get anything accomplished nor will it be beneficial to you , your vendor or event. If issues are brought to the attention of your vendor immediately, many things can be changed in order to provide a better service. This may also prevent you from being dissatisfied with your services or how your event turned out. So, don't set yourself up for disappointment, inform yourself, read your contracts, ask questions, keep all correspondence, raise your concerns immediately, not later. We all have the same goal, but it takes an entire team to accomplish it.
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