Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vendor Etiquette 101: Response Time

A tip to wedding pros: you should respond to emails/calls within 24 hrs, no exceptions!  
Even if you just send a short message that lets the sender know that you received the message and will be back in touch later when you can devote your attention to the response they need.  This was drilled into me during my experience in the hotel industry and I now understand why.  There is nothing more frustrating than trying to give someone your business and it takes days, or even a week to get back to you.  It's such a turn-off!  As a wedding planner it makes me not want to do business with those vendors, no matter how great their product is.  I can only imagine how frustrating it is for brides when this is their first experience with the industry.  When I worked as wedding/catering sales manager at the hotel, once in awhile we got "shopped" - meaning the higher ups in management would call the different properties and test the sales managers.  Not only on their phone/communication skills and how well they knew their stuff, but also on their response time.  You could get in serious trouble for messing up shop calls - some even got fired.  While that may seem extreme to some, there's no reason that a small business, that wants to be professional shouldn't take their cues from larger successful businesses and corporations.With todays technology, there really is no excuse.  Between your desktop, your laptop, your smart phone and your ipad...there really is never a time that you can't check messages.  This is not a 9-5 folks, it's a lifestyle job.  I'm not saying give up personal time or family time - not at all.  I know it's hard on the weekends, and I know it's hard during wedding season.  But if you're so busy that you can't even acknowledge receipt of a voicemail or email - it's time to get an intern!  That, or be prepared to lose a lot of business.

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