Okay so this is a second attempt…I had already written this blog post and published it, and then for whatever reason it was deleted!! Grrr. So let’s see if we can do this again….Communication + COVID-19 2.0.
One of the most important things you can do (at any time) is communicate, especially now. Right now is the time to not only communicate, but over-communicate. This is a time of a lot of uncertainty, and it’s your time to really show up for your clients. While we will all have different rescheduling and cancellation practices, it’s crucial that whatever your practice is, you need to remind your clients of it.
When I book clients, I meet with them in person and we sign the contract. This way I can read the full contract to them, see if they have any questions, and make sure we’re all on the same page. I take the time to actually meet with my clients because I believe it is so important to start that client-professional relationship on a strong basis of communication + clarity.
My contract spells out exactly what happens if a client needs to postpone (or even cancel) their wedding. And because I take the time to read the contract with my clients, I know they know what my practices are. However, (and this is important) it’s not their job to know what to do next. It’s not their job to know what to do in the face of COVID-19. It’s my job to reach out to my clients and let them know next steps as per contract.
I can’t stress this enough: if you have an event coming up in the next few months, it will most likely be rescheduled and you will need to contact your clients before they reach out to you. Your clients are dealing with the same stresses as you right now (job instability, financial issues, pandemic anxiety) PLUS planning a weddings.
So now, what you need to do is reach out to them before they reach out to you, and you should do this for two reasons.
- Because you’re the professional. You will save yourself a lot of time if you start the communication train before your client does. And this is so simple…just send them an email letting them know what to expect as per contract moving forward. Include the contract clause(s) in the email if you want. Let them know you’re happy to work with them and that you will give them all first priority in rescheduling. Also offer to share your calendar with them so you can plan on a date that works best for everyone.
- You need a paper trail. If your events starts to unravel, if your clients want to cancel, or you can’t agree upon a new date, you need to have a paper trail. You need to be able to prove that you were proactive and you communicated with them what the next steps were so they were best prepared. You want to make sure that you did everything you could to not only help your client, but protect your business as well. And that might feel kinda sleazy (I know I hated typing it), but it’s true. At the end of the day, you and your clients have a contractual agreement to honor.