As experts in our field, we all know that weddings are emotional events for our customers. Though it’s an exciting industry to be a part of, it is also one of the most challenging. Expectations are high and the pressure is on to fulfill wedding-day dreams in one form or another. Therefore, it is inevitable that at some point, you will have to navigate the quagmire of an emotionally charged customer. Some of the triggers run the gamut from being overwhelmed by a plethora of choices and having to deal with a restricted time frame within which to plan for the wedding to finances and the pressure of bringing an idea of a fantasy wedding into reality. In short, your customer is frustrated/angry/sad (fill in the blank) and even though it may not be (and most likely isn’t) your fault, your ability to handle the situation effectively can make or break the sale. The key is to embrace your customer’s negative emotions and work toward a resolution that is a win-win experience for everyone.
Strategy #1: Empathy
The adage “Treat someone the way you would like to be treated” is a lesson in empathy. Think of it in this way: Based on her circumstances, your customer is doing the best she can in the moment. It is not personal. When you take this approach, it is much easier to maintain a positive attitude. Your goal is to make an emotional connection. I cannot stress enough how important it is to do so. Ask important questions such as how she wants to feel on the big day and allow her to talk it out. Actively listen. The information she shares with you is gold. As you learn more about what is going on in her heart (remember: weddings are emotional events), you can respond with yours. Share some of your success stories and let her know that she can trust you to make her happy.
Strategy #2: Enthusiasm
Let’s be honest; dealing with an irate customer is mind-numbing and exhausting at best and no one can pass blame if you don’t have the energy to be perky and enthusiastic. Except for one person — the customer standing before you. No matter how crappy, disillusioned or emotionally drained you feel, your job is to serve your customer and make connections, create relationships and build loyalty for your business. Enthusiasm is an attitude. The sooner you adopt it, the happier you will be. Use it as a tool to achieve your goals.
Strategy #3: Efficiency
The key to efficiency in an emotionally charged situation is to ask yourself “What is the goal?” Being efficient is about figuring out what the customer wants and doing everything in your power to make it happen. Efficiency encompasses keeping your emotions intact, staying focused and maintaining your standards of professionalism. On the flip side, efficiency also means knowing when you’ve reached your limits and you’re feeling emotionally maxed out. If you want to call it quits, arrange for a colleague to take over or set up an appointment to meet with your customer on another day to give you time to regroup. There’s no shame in taking this approach. At worst, you’ve successfully managed to control a situation in which you both parted cordially with your dignities intact. At best, you have the potential for a loyal customer who respects and appreciates your understanding and professionalism.
Have you had experience with an emotional customer? What tips can you share that helped you?