Unhappy brides can make your life a misery; you need to deal with complaints and threats carefully before they escalate
Own a bridal shop? Have a virtual high-five and hearty congratulations… You’ve made it through another summer!
With the glut of wedding dates still falling between May and September, it’s only now that the rollercoaster ride we’re all on begins to slow down enough to allow us to take stock of what we’ve just gone through. No doubt, for us all, there will have been many thrills and, of course, the occasional fright along the way.
Every year the customer service bar sets itself higher Expectations get increasingly impossible to meet and seamstresses all over the land go into mental melt-down and turn to drinking and rocking in corners.
When your brides decide you’ve got it right, five-star reviews, flowers, cards, presents, beautiful pictures and recommendations come flooding your way. When a bride decides you’ve got it wrong, the gates of hell open up before you. It’s all your fault… And what are you going to do about it? (Please notice the deliberate use of the phrase ‘when a bride decides’.)
I don’t believe that there’s a shop in the land that was opened with the intention of displeasing or mis-selling to its customers. Equally, I don’t believe that the majority of brides start off their journey actively looking for a bad time; or hating their dress, or the shop they bought it from, or the seamstress who worked on it for them; or whoever else they end up hating.
However, somewhere in between the tears of joy on the day the gown was ordered and the day the bride (or maybe her mother, or her sister) threatens to leave a stinking review on social media, there will inevitably have been a hiccup of some kind.
It has coloured her perception of your integrity to the point that it has led her to think that she has been mistreated, or misled, or mis-just-about-anything-else and, therefore, entirely cheated of her right to her princess moment.
This hiccup may or may not have been caused by you. Probably not. But it will most definitely be up to you to sort it out, one way or another. And so, the sleepless nights and working out of hours commence. You feel sick to your core, and there’s a sense of panic when a private message pings up on Facebook at midnight.
Years ago I read an article on research done in the US that suggests that the human brain will remember negative situations over positive ones. Once that bride has decided she’s unhappy, it’s an almighty uphill struggle to win her back. If she’s not happy with one aspect of your business, she’s likely to be increasingly sceptical about it all.
The same applies to we retailers; despite having countless numbers of wonderfully happy customers, we remember the one bride who found a bead missing from her gown and completely lost the plot; or the one who couldn’t fit into her dress and blamed the dress, rather than her diet.
How do we get through the stress unscathed? Firstly, don’t ever take it personally. Try to imagine that the anger is directed at a situation and not at you. Acknowledge the problem.
Clearly, something needs to be resolved, however silly or minor the problem may seem to you. Also, keep in mind that family relationships don’t always run smoothly – especially in the build-up to a wedding. A mother calling to say that her daughter isn’t happy could be a cry for help. Be kind; be the one who concentrates on the positive and offers a solution. Smile.
Have a written plan of action for any situation that may arise and refer to it often. Don’t be bullied into agreeing to do things that go against your ethos.
Remember, you are the expert. You’re good at what you do, or you wouldn’t still be here. In fact, you’re great at what you do. You’re a superstar. Get out there and shine!
Have you experienced something similar to Laura Daly’s views and advice, here? To hear the thoughts dealing with tricky customer complaints from those within the various trade associations, click here.