What sets bridal retailers one step ahead of the high street? Delivering the level of service and the ‘experience’ that only small independents can. We asked those vying for the Best Retailer Customer Service of the Year title in the Bridal Buyer Awards what they feel got them to the finalist line up
Diana McMann | The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique | Pickering, North Yorkshire
Customer service is at the heart of everything we do. From the moment a bride gets in touch with us to even after they have said their I Do’s.
No request is too much trouble for us, whether that be changing a dress at the very last minute, making bespoke pieces for a gown, opening outside of normal hours or taking a bride’s dress to her on the big day.
One thing I think does make us stand out from the crowd is that every bride who visits us has the whole boutique to themselves, with our undivided attention – whether it be for a bridal, bridesmaid or accessory appointment. Our brides always comment on this and how important it is in their dress shopping experience, and we listened.
What customers said:
“Not only is The Little Pearl Bridal Boutique a beautiful shop, but Diana is just fantastic – nothing is too much trouble. Her manner and customer service are second to none. I was made to feel welcome, comfortable and excited about the whole experience from start to finish.”
“Diana is so kind and very helpful. I was quite nervous as well as excited, but she put me at ease and made the experience a million times better.”
“A huge thank you to The Little Pearl, for giving me the most amazing first-dress shopping experience. Although I didn’t find ‘the one’ with you, I want you to know how much I appreciated the time you spent with me and the patience you showed throughout my dress shopping experience. You provide a service like no other.”
Rachel Scott | Rachel Scott Couture | Edinburgh
I’ve being running Rachel Scott Couture for 14 years. I must admit that initially I was concerned that I didn’t have the stereotype ruthless competitive nature to be successful in business. I realise now that my nature – reflected in my brand identity – and the way I run my business are the attributes that have made Rachel Scott Couture successful. The emotionally-driven clients, colleagues and designers I work with respect and respond to my honesty and empathy.
It’s this business success, by being true to myself and genuinely putting customers’ first, that continues to drives me to develop my brand concept further.
We offer a luxury experience and luxury products, but it is important to me personally, and to my business model, that we provide this in a relaxed, unpretentious environment.
Our brand personality is built on approachability and we are welcoming to all, whether they are buying or not. I believe that truly excellent customer service is not flashy – it’s not about extravagancies or add-on gifts, or even glasses of bubbly (much as we love those!).
It’s about having empathy for the bride and her family and the huge life event they’re working their way through. Understanding the unique stresses planning a wedding can bring to a bride and by putting that at the forefront of every personal and business decision I make, I can guarantee to go above and beyond any client’s expectations.
It’s about warmth, friendliness, making styling decisions for a bride based purely on their likes and dislikes, not on sales targets or my personal preferences. Understanding what the bride really means (rather than perhaps what they’re saying!).
My discerning clients appreciate the extra effort we put into adding value through our expert knowledge, attention to detail and a perfect balance of ultra professional attitude with light-hearted frivolity.
It’s in my nature to be open and make a client (or indeed anybody) feel important to me, because they are that important. Truly great customer service is about wholehearted trust – and my clients are never in doubt that I will do whatever it takes to provide them with exceptional memories.
Lisa Farley | Mousetrap Dress Boutique | Havant, Hampshire
Customer service will always be the most important aspect of our job; going above and beyond for our brides is second nature.
We are so proud of the reputation we have achieved within the industry, and the heartfelt cards and reviews we get on a daily basis from our lovely brides reminds us why we do what we do.
From a bride’s first step through our door, right through to their wedding day, we are on hand to help. Just last week we received a distressed call from one of our brides whose dress had split on her big day. It was closing time, but our girls rallied together, picked out a selection of gowns and delivered them to her so she had a stunning dress for the rest of her day. We would never abandon a bride in need, regardless of the situation.
What customers said:
“It really is lovely, the staff make it such a nice experience with no pressure and plenty of help. Would recommend Mousetrap to anyone.”
“What fabulous customer service! So friendly and welcoming, and they made us feel so at ease, answering questions with patience and kindness. The place to go for any bride.”
Rob and Andrew Pearce | Creatiques | Southsea, Hampshire
Creatiques is a multi-award winning bridal boutique based in the heart of Southsea, Hampshire. Home to over 140 sample gowns from leading designers including Justin Alexander, Maggie Sottero, Sottero and Midgley, Eliza Jane Howell, Sincerity, Mark Lesley, LouLou Bridal and Sweetheart, our small team offers an appointment-only service to each and every one of our brides.
With over 28 years in the bridal industry, Andrew, Rob and Kayleigh ensure that each bride receives a completely unique and bespoke service tailored to her personality and needs, focusing on their longstanding company ethos: ‘From the first step through the Creatiques door, to your first step down the aisle’.
Creatiques has become a destination store, not only offering its exclusive service to brides, but now also to bridesmaids and mothers of the bride and groom in their beautiful Southsea Boutique.
What customers said:
“What can I say? An amazing experience from start to finish… The experience and customer service at Creatiques is second to none and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to any future brides. Thank you!”
Debbie Cook | The Bridal Collection | Lancaster, Lancashire
Our customers are at the heart of everything we do; they are the lifeblood of the business, so our service to them has to be our highest priority.
As a team, we have high expectations of ourselves and the service we provide. We continually ask, what can we do that will makes us stand out, and how do we make a bride’s experience with us so amazing that she tells all her friends about it? We don’t aim for customer satisfaction, instead we aim for customer delight!
Going the extra mile is part of our ethos. It helps having and keeping the right team. Our staff are fully involved in all aspects of the boutique; they have ‘ownership’ and the ambience in the boutique that this exudes is evident and commented on by our customers when they visit. Look after the team, and they will then look after the customers!
We have a reputation for sorting out any problems brides are faced with without fuss – for example, swapping gowns for brides who become pregnant, or who have dramatically lost weight and have fallen out of love with the silhouette they chose when they were bigger.
It’s a poor show if we, with all of the gowns available to us, can’t sort this out for them. Life happens and situations like this that were once thorny issues are more and more commonplace – we see them as part and parcel of everyday life.
Some clever person has already coined the phrase, ‘We won’t make a drama out of a crisis’, but it’s an approach that we take, here.
Mel Storer and Claire Jackson | Wedding Belles of Four Oaks | Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands
The moment a bride makes contact with us – whether that be by email, phone or social media – we ensure that we make her feel very special and celebrate this magical moment with her. This same high service continues throughout her appointments, including fittings and then, finally, her dress collection.
Over the past couple of years we have introduced some special touches, such as sending birthday cards to our brides to celebrate and a congratulations card for their big day from all the team.
Our shop is filled with those all-important and much-appreciated extras – like pamper boxes that include perfume, deodorant, hairpins and so on in each changing room – and we have a lovely refreshment bar for everyone to enjoy. Our shop is filled with a signature scent from Connock London and we have some of their gorgeous products on offer for our brides, so that they can remember that special moment when they found ‘the one’.
Our Facebook page is filled with lots of amazing reviews and we feel grateful that brides take their time to write so many lovely and kind words…
What customers said:
“From the first point of contact by telephone with Hester to book an appointment, they went above and beyond asking about me, the wedding, the theme – this really did put a smile on my face. I had my appointment with Kate and she was very welcoming; we felt very comfortable in the shop. Kate instantly knew what vibe I was going for and picked out some gorgeous gowns. Kate also let my mom pick a dress for me with Kate’s guidance. I finally said ‘yes to a dress’ and was given some bubbly to celebrate – staff were very excited for me. Would definitely recommend this bridal shop – I just wish I had come sooner.”
Melisa McKenna | Sophie Grace Bridal | Wokingham, Berkshire
At Sophie Grace Bridal, we are proud of our reputation and our genuine passion for helping brides find the wedding dresses of their dreams.
We have built an excellent customer service reputation and we are delighted to say that we have more than 80 five-star reviews on Google and that we won the Guides For Brides Customer Service Awards in March 2018.
We have more than 6,000 followers on Instagram and a successful wedding blog on our website, featuring real weddings, inspiration, ideas and useful planning advice.
We provide our brides with a beautiful array of quality designer wedding dresses, while maintaining an exceptional level of customer service. This means that brides and their guests have a truly memorable and enjoyable experience from the moment they step through our door to the time they pick up their wedding dress.
We offer a unique and bespoke dressmaking service on a range of our gowns, which enables brides to create their very own wedding dress by changing features on some of the beautiful dresses from our designers. Ultimately, we want to make our brides’ experience be the best it can, which is summed up in our reviews!
What customers said:
“The team are extremely friendly and put you at ease straight away. I didn’t feel embarrassed or judged, I actually loved the whole experience and that is down to how lovely the ladies here are. They listened so carefully to what I was looking for, and created a wedding look that is absolutely perfect.”