“You can talk with someone for years, every day, and still, it won’t mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known the person for forever…. connections are made with the heart, not the tongue.” -C. Joybell C. (author)
MY AHA MOMENT
Before we were ever engaged, Andrew and I went to his sister’s gorgeous wedding in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. It was right on the river, the decorations were phenomenal, the food was delicious, and the music was perfect. As you know, there is always a “but”…
But… there were hundreds of people everywhere. Hundreds of people for the couple to talk with and say hello to. It was at that moment in which I knew we could never get married in the Midwest because his family is absolutely gigantic.
YOU’VE GOT MAIL
Fast forward two years to when we become engaged and we happily agree to have a destination wedding for close friends and family. We researched locations and decided on a resort in Tulum, Mexico. After sending out our save the dates, we began working with the resort and coordinators.
Since our coordinator was in Mexico and we were in the United States, we worked solely via email. Every question we had was answered with “Do not worry, it will be taken care of” or “We will discuss that when you come down here.” When something of substance was sent to us, it made absolutely no sense. It was a mash up of information and numbers.
The whole planning process was very stressful because we did not know anything about this type of wedding and we were not receiving valuable answers. We truly were second guessing the resort and second guessing going forward with a destination wedding.
BIENVENIDO A MEXICO
Before getting on our airplane, we did not have answers and our friends and family did not have answers. We were just trusting the email correspondence.
Upon arrival at the resort, we were greeted with attention and love. I cannot describe the moment we met our coordinator, Estefania. It was a huge relief getting that first hug from her and hearing that everything was going to be perfect.
We sat across from her in the boutique and she went through everything, every detail. She talked about the route my father would walk me to the ceremony, she talked about the garnish on the chicken, and she talked about who would give the champagne toast on the beach. When I had questions, she could see on my face that she needed to explain further. When I was happy with details, she could see how important it was to me.
FACE TO FACE, MAN TO MAN
Absolutely nothing can replace the experience of meeting face to face. The interaction during this time is the most effective type of communication.
When working with a family who is pre-planning, you need to remember the impact of your presence to them. Do whatever possible to get them right in front of you.
If someone wants information only, volunteer to bring it right to their door instead of mailing or emailing it. Better yet, get them in the door by seeing if they will come pick it up in person. More often than not, they will sit down at a table as you clarify the information.
If someone submits their information online or by email, pick up the phone to call them. By hearing your voice, it makes you a real person. It makes you more trustworthy and it makes them more likely to come to the facility.
Without a doubt, it is very hard to make a stranger feel welcome simply through written correspondence. Meet in person whenever possible, and settle on talking by phone when needed.
My favorite commercial about customer service is from Nationwide Car Insurance. They are spot on with their commercial about the impersonal nature of today’s world. When referring to customer service today, the commercial voice over says “It happens so often, you almost get used to it” as a drone haphazardly drops a package in front of someone’s house.
The commercial ends with a man hugging the insurance representative who is looking at his car in an accident because it is so uncommon to have face to face service anymore.
Be that stranger that person that someone hugs because they were not expecting an interpersonal interaction.
STAND APART FROM THE REST
You can never replace human interaction with written correspondence. Let your face to face meetings be a core element to your job and strive each day to improve yourself within those face to face meetings. There are so many resources on how to become a superior service provider, utilize these resources daily.
Our wedding day would not have been the same without Estefania’s guidance and kindness when we got that first hug in person. However, you will never understand exactly how I felt in that moment so make sure to find your own in person example of when someone made you feel special. Use your own happy moment to drive you as you move forward in your career.