Many wedding industry educators talk about the need to “immediately” respond to a couple’s inquiry and I thought I would throw in my 2 cents, since I believe that immediately is not always necessary. Before I get into this in more detail, I do want to say that as a general rule there is no doubt that the faster you respond, the better. However, there are some factors you can evaluate that will help you determine proper response times for your inquiries, while making sure you don’t lose business, and at the same time gaining you back some sanity. Since your personal life, family life, etc. should be most important, I wanted to help you change your thinking from the “I must respond to every inquiry immediately” to one where you base your inquiry response speed on a combination of understanding your ideal client and the evaluating the type of inquiry.
Which leads us to the know your ideal client mantra, which I chant often. For example, if you are in the middle, or lower end, of the price scale and find that you tend to be a choice based on price, you do probably need to plan to respond back more quickly than if your ideal customer is looking for the best in business and not as worried about price… as the latter are inquiring with you because it is you, and they will wait a bit longer for a response. This is a general example, but the decision-making process of your ideal clients definitely can factor into how quickly you need to respond.
The other factor you should consider is what is the content/tone of the inquiry. For example, if the inquiry talks about how they were referred to you by one of your previous couples who could not stop raving about you, and they are dying to talk with you, you probably don’t need to respond back immediately vs. a more general inquiry that looks like it was sent to multiple vendors and is asking for general details and/or pricing, which might be making their decision at least partially on who responds first.
Obviously, there is no need to wait to respond if you are able to answer the inquiry immediately – you’re already at your computer and can easily do so, for instance – but there is also not always a need to drop everything to answer an inquiry, especially if you prefer to give a longer or more complete answer than you are able to at that exact moment (midway through dinner with family, at an industry event, late at night, etc.). The key is knowing what factors to take into account and how to apply them when determining your inquiry response time, and so much of that is determined by your specific business and client journey.
Truly, this is step one of your specific Customer Journey, and one I love focusing on for many of my coaching clients, as there’s no doubt that it is step one toward that client relationship and their experience working with you.