Clear communication with event clients is key to your success and their satisfaction. The more information you have about a client’s preferences, story and personality, the more you can personalize an event.
Millennial clients in particular seek out all-new ways to make events more uniquely reflective of their stories so they can share a piece of themselves with their guests through the event experiences. Establishing methods of effective communication helps you find ways to add personal details to any event.
1. Start with questionnaires.
We begin by sending our main event contact an extensive questionnaire immediately after booking. The questionnaire is electronic and includes all of the standard questions, such as how many people are attending the event, who is included in the bridal party for a wedding, and which cultural or personal traditions will be observed.
We follow up within three to four days if we haven’t heard anything back, as this is key to our getting started on planning an event. Knowing where our clients are coming from and what they are looking for or value is key to our planning process.
The importance of gathering this information directly from the client electronically is that it enables us to share the same information with our entire team, keeping everyone on the same page.
2. Is It Big Picture vs. The Details?
If a client doesn’t fill out our questionnaire entirely, or doesn’t respond with enough detail, we accept that we might not be working with a big-picture person.
Sometimes it’s better to break the information collection down into smaller segments and walk your contact through it one piece at a time. It is a form of personalization that helps foster a better relationship with clients and a better product overall.
Some companies “stalk” clients’ social media prior to meeting with them, or after they have booked. We prefer not to form preconceived notions before creating a design or interpreting their vision, but at some point in the process, we may have a team member scan their social media for pertinent details.
3. Leverage your client’s response for greater personalization.
Use the information you gather from your clients to customize your events.
Some of our favorite personal details have included using pheasant feathers gathered from a groom’s family farm in a couple’s centerpieces, or serving tequila shooters with mini limes and salt packets for a groom from Mexico. Hobbies can be great inspiration. We once used vintage cameras as centerpieces for the wedding of a travel photographer. Find new and unexpected ways to introduce guests to a part of your client’s story that they may or may not have already known.
4. Allow for different communication styles.
Expect that some of your clients are going to be great at telling you everything you could possibly want to know about their story, giving you endless material with which to work, while others will be more close-lipped or simply unable to communicate as well as you would like.
Forge a relationship with all of your clients so you can make it as easy as possible for them to share information with you, and use what you learn to create incredible, customized events. Communicate and you will have all you need to manage truly special events.
Emily Sullivan is the owner of Emily Sullivan Events, a full-service wedding planning company based in New Orleans serving couples everywhere.