I love my brides and grooms! This is me with Arlene and Jacob right after I got done photographing their beach wedding.
I was on the phone with a new bride and groom yesterday answering their normal questions in the inquiry process.
"Ok, cool, well, we want to book you as our photographer!" they told me at the end of the phone call.
"Great! I'm excited!" I said with a big smile.
"You want to know why we are choosing you?" they asked further. "We call it 'The Scarlett Lillian Experience.'" I just laughed and continued to listen as I questioned myself, "I have an experience?"
"We have a wedding planner who referred us all these photographers on her list," they continued. "We spoke with a lot of them, but honestly, you were one of the only ones who gave us such a good experience in just the booking process, that we are confident you will take good care of us on our wedding day. And oh yeah, we love your photography too."
Sniff, sniff... inside my heart, it let out a big "awwwwwwwww." So apparently, I have an experience that I'm not quite sure I had. To me, being a girl and a bride, I just naturally love weddings and I naturally love hearing people's love stories and celebrating with them the day that God is bringing them together as man and wife. But I guess, that in itself is part of the experience.
It got me thinking a lot about how the experience is just as important as the final product! Though they liked my photography, it was the experience I provided that built that trust with them. For those in the wedding industry, the experience, and genuine interest in their day, that you give your brides and grooms from the very first contact inquiring is sooo crucial. I'm learning that as a bride myself too. There have been some vendors I've hired for Stephen
and I's wedding because of their promptness in providing information and answering all my dumb questions. And because while I know they have a ton of other clients, they treat me like I'm the only one.
Vendor A & Vendor B for a certain category.
When we got engaged, I scoured the internet to find the best vendor for this service I was looking for. This particularly category was super important to us and I knew would take a good chunk of our budget. I ran across the website for Vendor A and I TOTALLY fell in love with their work. They were even in a different country but I thought their product was A-MAZING and would sacrifice something in my budget to afford to fly them from another country. So I inquired.
One day passed. No response. Ok, I get it, I get busy too.
Two days passed, no response. Still, I get it, I get swamped.
Three, four, five days passed, and nothing.
In the meantime, I got frustrated and because I wasn't hearing anything back, not even an away message letting me know their normal response time, around day 3, I started scouring the internet for other options.
That's when I discovered Vendor B, who I thought was just as amazing, and inquired. Within a few hours, I heard a response. I was super impressed with their promptness, but was secretly holding out to hear from Vendor A. When the next week rolled around and still no response, I decided to go with Vendor B and book them. About 2 weeks after my initial inquiry with Vendor A, yes, 2 weeks, I finally got a response back, which confirmed I was glad I booked Vendor B. What annoyed me was not only did they not apologize for taking so long to get back to me, but their prices, as expected, were double what Vendor B was. I'm sorry, but for vendors who prices are more expensive than the average joe, they should provide even more prompt service for the investment. Would the Ritz Carlton be the Ritz Carlton if their reservation assistants took 2 weeks to book your room?
One tip to help set expectations:
Use an automatic response message for your email. Anyone who emails me gets this message: "Hello! Thanks so much for writing me!
Due to a high volume of emails, I will get back to you in the next 2-3 business days. I appreciate your patience! You can always stay up to date about the latest happenings in my world and recent weddings I've shot on my blog at scarlettlillian.net."
I do this to let potential clients know, I've gotten their email, I do care, I will get back to you really soon, I promise. But personally, I always try to exceed their expectation by getting back to them within 24 hours, not the 2-3 days they think they have to wait.
Point of the story, the experience you provide your clients is just as important as the product you provide. Now as a bride myself, I realize that more than ever.
Labels: For Photographers