By Andy Ebon, “Wedding Marketing Expert”
Communicating effectively, with customers, and within your company is a critical aspect of wedding business marketing and operations. In an Olympic relay, the 4-person team involves 3 attempts to pass-the-baton, and finish the race.
Drop-the-baton and the race is over. It is the ultimate critical error.
Train, Role Play, Systems, Empowerment… stand back
The complexity of a DJ entertainment company involves multiple levels of communication. Those companies having thoughtful systems in place have far fewer issues than those that don’t. With proper positioning, the processes become team-building, not ‘getting it off your desk’.
The Ritz Carlton model
Any staff member who is dealing with the customer, directly, should be cross-trained to handle issues that arise, in their context (such as: In the office – on the phone. At an event, directly with the client, their guests, other wedding professionals).
For the longest time, maids at Ritz Carlton hotels have been trained to handle issues, brought to them by a guest, and resolve them… up to a limit of the cost of a room night. That limit may well be $500 and up.
The hotel believes customer satisfaction and repeat business are the linchpin of marketing mission. When a regular customer of the hotel experiences anything needing addressing, the last thing they want, is to be passed up the food chain.
The first staff member to communicate with the guest, owns the problem, and makes every effort to address and solve the problem, themselves. It does not become a bureaucratic nightmare, It becomes a positive story on Social Media, not a train wreck.
Quality Control in Communications
The digital process of inquiry forms, generation of agreements, in-bound client email (or other media), all handwritten (then transcribed) notes from face-to-face meetings all need to converge in a client file, accessible by all.
And with a tight process and communication system, most challenges are averted. Certainly, there are times you must protect the client from themselves… It maybe annoying, but it’s a necessary part of the business, and one has to take it in stride.
Pareto’s Principle – The 80/20 Rule
If you make a list of all the ‘client issues’, forgetting the cause for a moment, you’ll likely find the 80% of the activity come from 20% of the possible mistakes. While you’re thinking about it, make a list.
Where have you dropped the baton?
A few examples
- Slow follow-up to a lead
- Misspelling a prospect/client’s name
- Not having all the proper contact methods… phones, text, email, etc.,
- Challenges working with a particular wedding professional or venue
- An event sheet, containing mistakes or omissions, causing DJ miscues
- Reconciling the timeline for all elements in the entire process, including:
- Office/Warehouse Arrival and load-the-van process/time
- Projected drive time to the venue (Does EVERYONE have smart phone with GPS map features)
- Buffer travel time for traffic jams, bridge issues, etc.,
- Set-up time and time for changing clothes, with a ‘ready time’ of 30 minutes (Set your preferred company policy) before doors open.
- … and the list continues.
Laying out a clear flow chart, just for these logistics, let alone the event entertainment detail is not bureaucratic; it is not fool-proof. However, when a DJ/Emcee or any team member (i.e. dancers, etc.) has all the job information, relevant to them, the chances of making ‘the big mistake’ or even a smaller one becomes far less likely.
Explaining your thought process
It’s important to explain the reasoning behind guidelines for new staff, and modifications in existing process for ongoing staff. They must understand, and take pride in, your company, serving the client and their guest, and being team-friendly with other wedding professionals.
“A solid process helps bypass avoidable mistakes and enables your crew to enjoy its work. There is nothing more enjoyable than entertaining a crowd and satisfying the client. Creating the right mindset for your DJ/Emcee-Entertainment teams makes that possible at every event.”
Pretty important, don’t you think?