» Mistakes Happen, Here’s How to Recover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Elizabeth Fogarty

We all make mistakes. And, since we can’t reverse time, we have to deal with those mistakes, and their corresponding consequences. In this article, I will be discussing recovering well in the context of business mistakes, and, in particular, a mistake made by you or your staff that affected a couple and their wedding. To be honest, the ability for you and your business to be able to handle mistakes properly is actually a very important attribute. They say you are not tested until something goes wrong, and in many ways, they are right.  

If your wedding business is running in the right way, you have identified your ideal couple, created a customer journey and experience that meets or exceeds their expectations, and every couple is taken on relatively the same customer journey. But sometimes the journey can go awry… it could be your mistake, it could be a mistake by someone else you are responsible for, it could even be something out of your control but within your perceived realm of responsibility. There are many ways and options when it comes to next steps after a mistake but below are 4 keys which I think are really important.

Be prepared before it happens –
It may seem like this piece of advice doesn’t belong in an article about recovering from a mistake, but trust me when I say it does. Having well-developed and properly working systems and processes in your wedding businesses helps reduce mistakes, but no matter how good you are, mistakes can happen.  Determining what the biggest and/or most common and/or most likely mistakes for your type of business, and having a plan of action if they should happen, will help immensely.

Here is a basic example that I am prepared for in my Officiant business. Failure of my iPad (my ceremony delivery tool) – I deliver my ceremonies from my iPad, and although it has not failed yet, there is that possibility. I have the ceremony in both Dropbox and Evernote, to be sure that I’m not relying on a single app on my device. Plus, that means I can also access it on my phone and I could access and print it from almost any computer (e.g. the business office at the wedding venue or a nearby Office Depot). 

Being prepared is even more important if you have employees (or are one yourself).  It provides a course of action, or multiple courses of action, that can begin to solve the problem even before a boss or owner is reached.   

Immediate action –
When a mistake is made, something usually needs to be done to correct it or move forward from it. Of course, sometimes a true solution is not possible, and sometimes a solution that is possible is not practical.  We’ve already agreed that you can’t reverse time and redo that wedding or avoid the accident. However, there are very few things that can make the mistake worse than when there is no action, or no perceived action. You also want to quickly determine the real impact and the perceived impact.  Maybe the mistake seems bigger to you than it really is, and once you discuss it with the couple, they are cool with just moving on. Show that you have it under control and that you are looking for or implementing corrective action.

Empathy, understanding, and be nice –
The first thing I want to mention is that although there may be a difference between the actual issue and the perceived issue, you will most likely have to deal with both. Yes, the missing sprinkles at the ice cream sundae bar is, in the overall scheme of things, a minuscule mistake, but I am sure there is a couple out there who would perceive it as a bigger deal.  Which leads us to empathy and understanding. Maybe it’s a big deal because the bride’s father who recently passed away loved sprinkles, or the couple’s first date involved discussing the difference of sprinkles vs jimmies. By listening, not dismissing the issue as small or petty, and attempting solutions, you are showing the couple that you understand that it is important to them. You also need to be nice in your response, no matter how big or small, real or perceived, the mistake was. This doesn’t mean you can’t state what happened, but you should not be mean, snarky, snappy, or vindictive. This advice applies if you are responding in person, via email, or even responding to a review. You may get blamed for a mistake that wasn’t your fault, but it is your response that shows your character to the couple, other couples who may read it or hear about it, and other wedding vendors. I cannot emphasize this last part enough – your public responses on reviews are more for future couples and potential vendor partners reading those reviews than for that one specific couple who wrote it.

Plus, while it might seem odd to hear, I suggest that you also be nice to yourself. As business owners who are in the very personal business of weddings, I know that we tend to beat ourselves up for a mistake more than our couples could even beat us up.  Learn from the mistake and from the situation, figure out what you might need to change to avoid something similar in the future, and then let it go.

Respond dis-proportionately
What do I mean?  The idea is that you want to impress upon the couple how seriously you take the mistake by impressing the couple with your response. This could mean a refund for the item that is above what the couple paid or a refund plus something additional (like a future family shoot or a cake for their next birthday). Responding with a very thoughtful and generous response will go a long way.

And, although not a key to recovering well, just remember and understand that you won’t be able to turn them all around. Some mistakes can’t be rectified “enough” for some couples. Some people will not care that you are trying to rectify it, and care only that you made a mistake. And in some cases, even time does not heal all “wounds.” But, as long as these kind of mistakes or issues are rare and not your norm, learn from them, deal with them as they arise, and respond disproportionately to take care of people and of your business.

Bethel Nathan is a San Diego based wedding officiant, business coach, and industry speaker. Combining her years of corporate and small business experience with a love for marrying awesome couples, Bethel built Ceremonies by Bethel, a successful and award-winning Officiant business. And although still officiating, Bethel now has another love… helping others turn their passions into successful and sustainable businesses. Learn more at www.elevatebybethel.com.

» WeddingWire Networking Night Tampa

This Monday, we had the pleasure of hosting our WeddingWire Networking Night Tampa for local wedding professionals at the urban wedding space, The Vault located in the heart of downtown Tampa.

The exquisite event space was a harmony of luxurious architecture and historic design. The room was dotted in poinsettias while wreaths hung above the floor-to-ceiling windows creating a festive ambiance.

Guests relaxed over delightful hors-d’oeuvres and wine while networking with other local vendors across all service categories and members of the WeddingWire team. The evening’s education included email etiquette and local-industry statistics, presented by Alan Berg, one of WeddingWire’s Education Expert’s!

Thank you to all the wonderful wedding professionals who joined us!

We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, the latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the lovely evening below. Check out the full gallery of photos!

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

» WeddingWire Networking Night Philadelphia

This Tuesday, we hosted our WeddingWire Networking Night Philadelphia for local wedding professionals at the turn-of-the-century Ballroom At The Ben – Finley’s Catering.

Wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy this event in an exquisite space with a striking European ambiance.

Guests relaxed over delectable hors d’oeuvres, sipped wine, and networked with other local vendors across all service categories as well as members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned local-industry statistics and pricing tips, presented by WeddingWire’s Education Expert, Alan Berg!

Thank you to all the wonderful wedding professionals who joined us! 

We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, the latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the lovely evening below. Check out the full gallery of photos!

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

» WeddingWire Networking Night Chicago

This Monday, we hosted our WeddingWire Networking Night Chicago for local wedding professionals at the art-deco Walnut Room at the Hotel Allegro.

Wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy this roaring 20s inspired space that fulfilled our Gatsby decor dreams!
Guests sipped on wine and enjoyed delicious appetizers including a shrimp cocktail bar and pork loin carving station! Guests met with other local vendors across all service categories as well as members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned local-industry statistics and tips for improving your SEO, presented by WeddingWire’s Associate Director of SEO, Mike Anderson!

Thank you to all the wonderful wedding professionals who joined us! 

We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, the latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the lovely evening below. Check out the full gallery of photos!

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

» WeddingWire Networking Night Boston

This Tuesday, we hosted our WeddingWire Networking Night Boston for local wedding professionals at the beautiful Boston Park Plaza Hotel‘s Avenue 34 space.

Wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy this unique and sophisticated new space that gives off a loft-like vibe with exposed beams and an industrial feel.
Guests sipped on cocktails and enjoyed delicious appetizers at the start of the event and ended with a mini ice cream bar! Guests met with other local vendors across all service categories as well as members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned local-industry statistics and tip for handing pricing conversations, presented by WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg!

Thank you to all the wonderful wedding professionals who joined us! 

We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, the latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the lovely evening below. Check out the full photo gallery on our Facebook!

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

» WeddingWire Networking Night Milwaukee

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at The Covenant at Murray Mansion for our WeddingWire Networking Night Milwaukee!

Wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful venue, originally a church, it has been newly renovated into a contemporary ceremony and reception space filled with beautiful stained glass windows, massive vaulted ceilings and 14-foot pipe organ bar. Guests met with other local vendors across all service categories as well as  members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned local-industry statistics and how to better reach engaged couples through social media, presented by Regional Manager of Customer Success, Katey McBurney!

Thank you to all the wonderful wedding professionals who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation,  the latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the lovely evening below.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

» WeddingWire Networking Night Raleigh

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at Traine for our WeddingWire Networking Night Raleigh!

Wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful venue space, fit with exposed beams and white brick walls. Guests met with other local vendors across all service categories as well as  members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned local-industry statistics and email etiquette tips to help you turn leads into bookings, presented by Industry Expert and WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg!

Thank you to all the wonderful wedding professionals who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation,  the latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the lovely evening below.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

» WeddingWire Networking Night Asheville

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at The Venue for our WeddingWire Networking Night Asheville!

Wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful and unique setting reminiscent of a french cottage with exposed brick walls, barn ceilings, and vintage tile floors. Guests met with other local vendors across all service categories as well as  members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned local-industry statistics and email etiquette tips to help you turn leads into bookings, presented by Industry Expert and WeddingWire Education Guru, Alan Berg!

Thank you to all the wonderful wedding professionals who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation,  the latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the lovely evening below.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

 

 

» WeddingWire Networking Night San Jose

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at The GlassHouse for our WeddingWire Networking Night San Jose!

Wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy a stunning modern venue while meeting other local vendors across all service categories. Guests also had the chance to meet members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned local-industry statistics and the Six Keys to Better Your Business, presented by Business Coach and Speaker, Bethel Nathan!

Thank you to all the wonderful wedding professionals who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the lovely evening below.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

» WeddingWire Networking Night Long Island

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at The Crescent Beach Club for our WeddingWire Networking Night Long Island!

Wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy a stunning beachfront venue while meeting other local vendors across all service categories. Guests also had the chance to meet members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned local-industry statistics and tips on using social media for business, presented by WeddingWire’s Regional Manager of Customer Success, Megan Hayes!

Thank you to all the wonderful wedding professionals who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the lovely evening below.

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

Thanks to all that came out to see us!


» WeddingWire Networking Night Boston

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at Alden Castle for WeddingWire Networking Night Boston!

Wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy a stunning event space fit for royalty! Guests met other local vendors across all service categories as well as members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned local-industry statistics and how to better reach engaged couples through social media, presented by WeddingWire’s Regional Manager of Customer Success, Megan Hayes!

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the lovely evening below. For additional photos from the evening, check out our gallery!

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

Thanks to all that attended!

 

» WeddingWire Networking Night Dallas

This week, local wedding professionals gathered at Tower Club for WeddingWire Networking Night Dallas!

Wedding professionals had the opportunity to enjoy an elegant event space complete with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Dallas skyline while networking over light fare including roasted lechon, elotes and adult root beer floats! Guests met other local vendors across all service categories as well as members of the WeddingWire team. Plus, they learned local-industry statistics and insights on working with millennial couples in the wedding industry, presented by WeddingWire’s Regional Manager of Customer Success, Katey McBurney!

Thank you to all the wonderful pros who joined us! We’re excited to share highlights from the event including the educational presentation, our latest issue of WedInsights, and photos from the lovely evening below. For additional photos from the evening, check out our gallery!

We would like to say a special thank you to the amazing event partners who helped make the evening possible:

Finally, we’re excited to announce the winner of our WeddingWire Prize Pack give away – congrats to Heather of Donnie Brown Weddings and Events!