This post was written by Jennifer Taylor. Jennifer Taylor is the owner of Taylor’d Events Group, a planning firm that specializes in celebrations of all kinds in the Pacific Northwest and Maui.
Time is money – we know this to be true because it’s one of the worst things you can waste as event professionals. But, what happens when we’re the ones wasting our own time?
From disorganized routines to missed appointments, we’ve all found ourselves wishing there were 25 hours in a day. Chances are, there are a few minutes here and there that you can shave off of your current schedule with simple procedures – and those minutes can certainly add up!
Not only do policies and procedures put time back into your pocket, but they also make things much easier for you and your team. Your day-to-day processes will not require lengthy explanations once clearly mapped out. It’s also a great way to ensure quality control of the client experience, keeping your team consistently on brand.
While putting policies and procedures in place can seem like an intimidating task, it’s certainly manageable if you begin with baby steps. Start as early in the process as when a prospect reaches out to you and look through the different touch points of working with a new client.
Email drafts are a great place to start and are a key time-saver – they’re easily customizable so they’re still genuine, but you won’t have to worry about writing each email from scratch. So what to tackle first? Consider some of the following:
- Responses to initial inquiries
- Follow ups with inquiries
- “Best of luck” emails if they book with someone else
- Email to let someone know you’re already booked for a date
- Email to let someone know if you don’t offer a certain service
- Welcome email after booking
- Out-of-office response
- Post-event wrap-up email
- Post-event review request
While planning ahead, think about how the inquiry process would feel if you were the interested client. What does the flow look like? How can it be improved upon? There’s no better time to assess how you’re doing than the present.
What I’ve found to work is a monthly email that goes out to each of our clients, sharing my calendar and a program that allows them to book their own appointments directly in my schedule. It makes it easy for them, as well as for me. I also let each client know what I’m working on that month and what they should be working on as well. This sets expectations upfront so everything gets finished at the right time. However, sometimes people don’t respond – it’s just the way it is. In that case, be sure to have streamlined follow ups, leaving the next move up to them.
In addition to streamlining your own processes, there are also a number of automated ways to keep up to date with where you are at any given time. We use an automated billing system which is a lifesaver – that’s just one less thing on your plate, freeing you up for more meaningful things. Another tool that keeps us going is our project management software, which allows us to manage our clients easily. These tools are certainly something you’ll want to embrace – you’d be surprised at how much time being organized can save!
Last but not least, be sure to have a regular meeting with your team at least once a month. This open line of communication ensures that you’ll stay on the same page and, if anyone finds a better way to streamline procedures, you’ll be sure to know about it!