The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings.
Growing up, there were several occasions that my parents required that I send thank you notes – birthday parties, graduation parties, and so on. Today, it’s still good advice; it’s just more complicated. How we give and how we receive gratitude is a tricky, but it’s an important element of personal and company interaction. It says volumes to others about the soul of you and your company.
Below I share some of my best suggestions for both thanking others and accepting thanks in return!
During the course of an event, most wedding professionals will respond to verbal appreciation with something like, “No problem,” “It’s no big deal,” or “Just doing my job.” I know what you mean by those responses, but as the customer, hearing responses like that can seem dismissive, somewhat clueless, and disconnected. It makes one walk away, shaking your head as to why the appreciation didn’t register.
Don’t underestimate the power of acknowledging that appreciation! Simple responses like, “You’re welcome,” or “It’s my pleasure” can go a long way towards connecting with that customer. Accepting a compliment with a warmer response shows that you are appreciative for their business.
You can also put a smile on someone’s face before you work with them to set a warm tone for the upcoming event. I suggest day-of wedding professionals send handwritten notes to the venue representative and the wedding couple. A simple note lets the couple know that you’re looking forward to working with them and will set you apart from all other wedding professionals. Whether your business is present at the wedding or reception, just know this communication, unrelated to logistics, final payment or anything else, is a ray of sunshine.
Forms of Acknowledgement
Thank You notes are great, but they aren’t the only method for showing appreciation. The level and context of service should determine how you acknowledge others. Here are some examples I’ve used in the past:
- Mega Service: When an employee has performed over-the-top service for a client (particularly a difficult client), let them know that YOU noticed. On payday, include a Thank You note with their check, being specific about their exemplary efforts and how well it represented your company. Add some whipped cream on top with a gift card, small or large, depending on the importance of their actions.
- Referrals: Highly qualified referrals are the life blood of business. There should be acknowledgement in different ways, at various moments in the process. A simple email thanking for the initial referral is the start. Letting the referrer know you have communicated or met with the prospect, by email or phone call (or message) is stop #2. When the work is complete, a final thank you with sentiment about the event and appreciation for the referral is best served by written communication in the form of a quick note or letter. And if you get a letter of appreciation or online review from the client, take a moment to share that with the referrer. It’s also a good idea to let staff members know (perhaps in a company meeting) the source of referrals, whether it’s from previous clients or professional peers.
- Facebook: Publishing a personal thank you as a status update tends to look more like namedropping than a thank you. It can be a little cheesy. If you have made a connection with the client or referrer, sending a thank you via private messaging makes it clear you are writing with true, direct appreciation.
- Sending gifts: Sending a small flower arrangement, a gift of music or book (providing you know their personal preferences) is a higher level of appreciation.
- Anniversary Cards: Maintain a long-term relationship with newlyweds. Make certain to get the post-marriage address (it often changes) and keep your database up to date. I also recommend Valentine’s Day cards, in addition to anniversary cards. A holiday card gives balance, too. It doesn’t have to be traditional holiday timing, it can be Thanksgiving or New Years. These soft reconnections lead to future referrals, with asking for anything.
- Reconnecting with old contacts: People move from one company to another, city to city. Use a LinkedIn to reconnect with people who you enjoyed working with but have lost touch. A private message can lead to a phone call. A few of these every month will lead to some revival of business relationships and friendships.
- Within your blog: Much like the professional referral, when you detail an event, and reference other companies, explain what they did, specifically, to benefit the client or assist in creating a team-environment for the event.
You don’t have to do everything, but small gestures can be very meaningful!
Create reminders on your calendar to prompt you to take acknowledgment actions. You will get into a rhythm, and will be pleasantly surprised when you receive a follow-up communication. Add your own supplemental ideas to this list, and enjoy the fruits of building and maintaining long-term relationships.