When a client comes to you with ideas for an event, there are certain expectations that are already set in place. Generally, you’ll be expected to be communicative, present and skilled at what you do. However, meeting those standards simply means you’re a basic contender. Instead, it’s those gestures that go the extra mile that solidify your value and keep clients coming back for more.
The quality of your service has a direct impact on your industry reputation. It should come as no surprise that word of mouth spreads, whether good or bad.
Go for the surprise factor.
Good surprises are always a nice touch and show a client that you put some extra thought into their event. Surprises also keep the expectations low. Setting expectations early may set you up for higher demands and less appreciation. Instead, keep your thoughtfulness to yourself, and save the special something to add to the exciting event experience.
Lynette Dow of Amy Abbott Events recalls one special couple that her team took by surprise. “We had a couple who used a Baja California coffee-table book for their guestbook, but it was purchased secondhand, so the existing cover was well loved,” Dow explains. “We had a graphic designer create a custom cover using the existing one as a template, but color-coordinated it with the wedding decor and added the couple’s logo. They had no idea, and now it serves as a constant reminder of the amazing week that they had!”
Be there when they need it.
You surely know that many events come with not-so-great surprises of their own. Sometimes, life gets in the way and throws an obstacle at you or your client, and it’s up to you to react accordingly. While something like this may stress out your client, your job is to be their trusted resource who can help them weather the storm. By being prepared and ready for any situation, you can set yourself apart as a professional who truly goes above and beyond expectations.
Bill Tzizik of Classic Photographers shares a story from one of his team's weddings where the limo broke down 40 minutes from the wedding venue—with the bride and bridesmaids inside. Instead of scrambling to figure something out last minute, the photographers (who were there to shoot hair and makeup) squeezed everyone in their SUV and saved the day.
How did it pay off? “Within three years of that wedding, we shot almost every bridesmaid’s wedding,” he says. “At one point or another, every single one of them brought up how the photographer calmly saved the day like it was just another part of what she did.”
Treating every client like they’re your only client will speak volumes to them. Not only will it make for happy clients, but it will keep you on your toes, too.
If you do just a bit more than what you’re paid for, rest assured that the client will notice that your service is a great value—no matter how much you charge. Remember: A happy client is the first step to bringing in solid referral business.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.