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Question from a Wedding Coordinator


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#1 parisianevents

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    Posted 29 September 2008 - 03:57 AM

    Hi Everyone!
    I'm a newbie on these boards, and am a WC in Paris, France. I created my company a few years ago, and so far business has been very good. I'm always looking for ways to improve, though, which is why I've joined this board. I'm interested in finding out what destination brides are looking for from their WC. One question that I have is about communication. On my follow-up questionnaires with my clients, I've received a few comments about emails not being answered as timely as they'd like (not HUGE complaints, mind- but like 4 stars out of 5...I want that 5th star!! :) ).

    When my clients sign with my agency, I send them information in their welcome pack that explains the hours that we're open for business, and also that their emails will be returned as soon as possible. Because we are between 7 and 9 hours ahead of our clients, there can often be quite a delay between their question and my answer. I was wondering if some of you could tell me your expectations from your destination coordinator as far as response-time goes. I see that a lot of the destinations on this board are Mexico and the Caribbean, so I don't know if there is a big time-zone difference or not...but for those of you who are dealing with more of a distance, how do you feel about this? Any information that you can provide will be helpful! Thanks!

    Kim
    Kim Petyt
    your american wedding planner in paris

    the site: parisian events
    the blog: parisian party

    #2 Cattie

    Cattie
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      Posted 29 September 2008 - 04:19 AM

      Well first the time zone difference would be 4ish hours depending on where they live in the states.

      Personally, for response time from a wedding planner, I'd like no more then a 2 day turn around when I ask questions. I feel anything longer then that leads to myself thinking that they haven't received my email, or I'm being ignored. I personally would rather receive an email that states, I'm checking into that for you or something to that effect. Even in the real world, I've always appreciated when put on hold for any period of time the person checking back and making sure I know I wasn't forgotten about.

      Hope this helps, and GL with your business!

      #3 trophywife

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        Posted 29 September 2008 - 05:33 AM

        My rule of thumb with contacting back anyone is 48 hours as well. Even if there is no time difference people get busy and there are so many hours in a day. And even with a time difference I think 48 hours is plenty of time to get back to someone.

        Anything else may seem like I'm just being ignored. I've had people write me really quick just to stop by and tell me basically, "Hi, got your email. I will address as soon as I can but at the moment am very busy. Please hang on and will be able to more thoroughly help you." And as long as I know they aren't ignoring me then there's no biggie. But I mean, I can only take so many of those excuse emails until I start to get frustrated. But one is fine!! GL with our business. Welcome to the forum, and I hope you learn a lot from lots of brides here and I look forward from learning from you too!! WELCOME!!!!!!!!!

        #4 Kathie

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          Posted 29 September 2008 - 08:38 AM

          I would agree with the other ladies. 48 hours is about as long as I'd care to wait.

          #5 parisianevents

          parisianevents
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            Posted 29 September 2008 - 12:48 PM

            As soon as I read their message, I do reply with a "got your message and I'm on it.." type email. But I think that, even though I try to to reiterate it as much as possible, people forget to consider the cultural differences. Especially between Americans and French (or western european, I guess?) People are sooooooooo laid back here, it's absolutely maddening sometimes.

            In the States, people come to work at 9:00, they start working at nine, take an hour lunch at 12 (maybe even working through lunch) and then answer there phone until 6 or later. In France, people arrive at 9, say hi to everyone in the office, grab a cup of coffee, then ease into work around 9:45. Lunch is 2 hours long, and it seems that people stop answering the phone at 4:30 in preparation for being closed at 5! So if I phone a vendor at 10:30, the best case scenario is that they get back to me by 4:30 that afternoon, but typically it won't be. You can't really call back the same day, and not too early the next day either, otherwise you'll come off as the "pushy american", which could get you blacklisted and then they NEVER call you back at all(no joke!). So protocol is to wait until late afternoon the day AFTER your 1st call, and if you're in luck, they'll have your answer...If not, you have to wait another day. Its really frustrating...but I do let my brides know that the answers coming, it just can't come as fast as it does in the States...

            What are some other ways that communication worked or didnt work between you and your WC?

            Kim
            Kim Petyt
            your american wedding planner in paris

            the site: parisian events
            the blog: parisian party

            #6 Mrs D To Be!

            Mrs D To Be!
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              Posted 29 September 2008 - 12:53 PM

              Being a forward thinking bride, my thoughts are it depends on the case. I contacted Moon Palace away back in January asking questions about making bookings for a 2010 wedding...they had only just opened their bookings for 2009 weddings at this point! So in general cases like that, I think maybe a week would be acceptable.

              However, when the email is regarding an actual booking, i'm with the other girls - 2 days tops!

              hope that helps :)

              xxxxxxxx

              #7 Jenn

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                Posted 29 September 2008 - 01:05 PM

                I agree that 48hr is a good time to shoot for, and it sounds like you do a good job of that, even if the answer isn't available in that timeframe. I was married at a small resort in Jamaica, and most of our frustrations were on a communication level. We ran into problems getting a full understanding of our options and what they would cost. Money was a big factor for us, so we were somewhat flexible with our vision of decorations, etc based on cost. I think pictures speak a thousand words, so if a bride has questions about flower/cake/decoration options, as many pics as possible can be helpful.

                Also, although it may be true, the answer of "we'll figure it out when you get here" can be maddening when you are in a state of frenzy over seating arrangements or arch location - lol.

                #8 Cattie

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                  Posted 29 September 2008 - 04:24 PM

                  I can totally understand the difference with the European's and Americans. I would just add a disclosure and say...

                  Being that we're in a different country that is very different then the states, it tends to take a little longer to get answers due to the culture. Please be patient and I will do my best to have an answer in the next 48 hours, if I do not for some apparent reason, I will keep you updated.

                  I think if it's explained to us, we would be ok with the answer. Most of us feel that since it's our special day we should (for lack of better words) be the most important bride. I know myself I tend to forget there's other brides out there that my planner is dealing with, along with her own personal life. However if we're reassured, we tend to be fine!

                  #9 princessina

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                    Posted 29 September 2008 - 07:39 PM

                    I'm working with a wedding planner now that doesn't seem as organized as I would like her to be. Problems that I run into with my WC are communication time frame and organization. Since most people have touched on communication time frame I won't beat the dead horse.

                    The biggest complaint I'd have is not having something solid to go by. Your situation could be different but with my WC I expect a timeline that shows what I should be focusing on right now, so many months out, and what I should be thinking of. I think it would help me to easily keep track of what's been decided on and what's coming up.

                    Ohh, something useful we do use is google docs, basically a shared document that we can make changes to.

                    #10 parisianevents

                    parisianevents
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                      Posted 30 September 2008 - 03:38 AM

                      Quote:
                      Originally Posted by princessina
                      I expect a timeline that shows what I should be focusing on right now, so many months out, and what I should be thinking of. I think it would help me to easily keep track of what's been decided on and what's coming up.

                      Ohh, something useful we do use is google docs, basically a shared document that we can make changes to.
                      Ah! This is a very good idea, and not something that I currently do. So, for instance, on the first of the month, I could provide my clients with an email that says something like," Its October, Only X months to the big day! This month I will be confirming vendors, while you and your sister finish up the favors.." or something like that? Great idea!
                      Kim Petyt
                      your american wedding planner in paris

                      the site: parisian events
                      the blog: parisian party




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