My business specializes in destination weddings, by which I mean my customers come to me. Usually when I say, “I specialize in destination weddings,” ﬂorists ask, “Where do you travel?” and “How do you get the ﬂowers to the location?”
That’s not what I do; rather, I am the destination.
For engaged couples, planning a wedding can be stressful, but planning from afar can feel especially daunting. This is why I’ve spent years working toward perfecting my customer service experience when it comes to destination planning.
Destination clients come to me in search of more than ﬂowers – they need guidance. They don’t know that peonies are actually in season in June or that it’s easy to source beautiful linens from a local rental company. They also don’t know that the baker just down the road from their venue is not only nearby but also the best!
Lucky for them, I do know these things. (That’s why they hire me.)
Because my customer is far away and securing wedding vendors promptly feels critical, I don’t often meet clients in person before booking; we consult and book via phone and email. The long-distance booking process requires a lot of trust from the client and transparency from me.It’s important that out-of-town clients feel conﬁdent that I understand their needs. I want them to experience the value of my services before booking because once clients see what I bring to the wedding team, I become an easy choice for them. (And if they don’t end up booking, at least we had a good chat.)
I consider it my job to offer expertise with a mostly giving heart – while not giving away all of my best ideas and suggestions before we’re under contract.Here are seven tips for working with destination clients.
1. Reply to email promptly. Email is the main customer-service experience for out-of-town clients, and prompt replies can feel like excellent service. We want to meet the client’s expectations all along the way. (There’s no need to wait until the wedding day to wow them with good service.)
2. Confirm the time zone for phone consultations. It’s easy for wires to get crossed when someone is planning in another time zone. I’ve learned to remind them where I’m located to ensure that we’re on the same page.
3. Write it on your website. Include a “Destination Weddings” page on your website where you speak directly about the services you provide for out-of-town clients. Tell your customers what you do so they can ﬁnd you!
4. Make it easy for the customer to get to “yes.” It’s our job to make it clear to clients that we’re an asset to them. We can suggest the best ﬂowers, we can streamline the process and alleviate any concerns they may have before booking.
5. Share pricing. Whether sharing an itemized quote or presenting an “estimated total” to clients, there must be a meeting of the minds regarding the budget and the minimum spend (if required). When we’re clear with our terms, the customer can feel at ease, and we can all move forward with conﬁdence.
6. Meet once. Usually there are short windows where my clients are in town for a weekend full of meetings. It can be truly exhausting for couples sometimes, which is why I try to be accommodating when they do request a face to face. I’ll ask what other meetings they have planned so I can point out that it’s more time efﬁcient to come here after their tasting than to drive all the way back at another time of day. I want to help them have a good experience with my business. If this is our only meeting, I want it to be a good one.
7. Deliver as promised. After meeting expectations with prompt customer service throughout the months of planning, it’s our duty to deliver what we promised and (ideally) wow them.
My customers always come to me, and I make them pay me before we even meet in person. Then, they pay for their ﬂowers in full a few weeks before the wedding date. This requires a lot of trust. As ﬂoral designers, we must always honor that trust and deliver what we promise. (No matter your destination!)
Keep doing beautiful work!
Find my free proposal training video “How To Book More Weddings More Quickly” at realfowerbusiness.com/welcome.