Thoughts on Customer Service

As we head into the first weekend of May, and a super-duper busy week ahead (another destination wedding coming up - this time at Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, NC!) I'm forcing myself to take a moment to slow down and smell the roses for a minute. 

Friends, here's the thing: this work that we do is a beautiful challenge. Day in and day out, we juggle the thousands of details swirling around in our heads, as well as the deadlines, the opportunities, and the inevitable setbacks.  Yesterday felt like a day when setbacks reigned supreme. It was a day of shipping delays, horrible customer service experiences on the phone (we were the customer in those exchanges - not the service provider!) and big letdowns that just really made our jobs a lot more difficult. We depend on so many third-party suppliers to help us bring event ideas to life. The envelopes for the invitation suites we design don't fall out of thin air... we have to order them. The specialty treats that are packaged into the custom guest welcome boxes we create don't bake themselves... we have to order them. The ink that runs through out professional grade printer doesn't come out of a faucet... we have to order it. When these ordering processes hit snags, it can cause a chain reaction of problems. 

Today I was yelled at on the phone by one of our suppliers - and they were the ones who had let us down. Today I cancelled a previously scheduled meeting with an industry partner in order to meet with one of our suppliers - and then that supplier was a no-show and didn't even call. 

Whoever you are, wherever you are - I know you can relate to this, right?! Some days, the rest of the world just Big time. And the reason its such a nightmare isn't just that you were let down, it's that you fear these setbacks will cause you to let others down in return. Such is the nature of the world, and small business. 

But in the midst of this day of seemingly endless nonsense, I had a moment of clarity. These unpleasant interactions serve a purpose. They remind us to never ever:

  • be the person who makes someone on the other end of the phone feel like they aren't worthy of your time or kindness, 
  • fail to show up for a meeting without bothering to let the other person know,
  • refuse to help right a wrong, even when you know that doing so would be require little of you and mean the world to someone else. 

Customer service isn't just about call centers and help lines, or cash registers and drive-through windows. At RRE, I serve customers. We serve customers. We operate a business that is worthless without authentic, meaningful, joyful customer service, so we each strive to do our jobs with a servant's heart.

To all our readers, friends, and fellow colleagues in the wedding and special event industry: don't let the setbacks get you down. Use them as fuel to re-ignite your passion for great customer service. Even when you're tired. Even when you're busy. Even when it feels like others have let you down. Do your best work to gain and keep your clients' trust and make their happiness your genuine priority. I promise, this will change everything. 

Until next week...