‘When it comes to personalized service, you can’t find an industry that does it much better than the wedding industry.
From event planners to dress designers, wedding professionals know how to give their clients exactly what they want—or at least, they did until the pandemic struck.
Like all of us, Covid-19 forced those in the wedding industry to rethink how to create those customized experiences. Now that in-person dress fittings and wedding cake tastings are happening far less often, the most forward-thinking wedding professionals are embracing a combination of creativity and technology to offer clients the best possible pandemic-era service.
One of those is wedding dress and couture fashion house Galia Lahav with an eponymous line. The company has been creating personalized, couture gowns for clients for the past 30 years, and they had their system down to a science.
Once Covid-19 struck, however, Lahav and her team had to devise a way to still offer clients the kind of luxury, one-on-one service that they’d become known for—without meeting their clients in person.
Here are a few tips Lahav shared with me on how to maintain, or even improve, the level of personalization you traditionally offer clients during the pandemic.
LEAN INTO WHY AND HOW YOU OFFER PERSONALIZED SERVICE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
When you’re trying to devise ways to personalize your service virtually, it’s important to go back to the basics.
Instead of trying simply to translate your in-person services to a virtual format—the “just add Zoom” approach—ask yourself why you offer personalization in the first place, and what benefits it brings your clients.
From there, you can start coming up with ways to offer virtual personalized services that may not actually look the same as your traditional ones.
For Lahav, personalization has been integral to her brand from its very inception. “We believe in tailoring an experience for each and every client,” she says. “When a bride walks in for an appointment, she can allow herself to envision whatever fantasy she has in mind. Our job is to identify what the client wants and direct her in the customization process.”
So one benefit that Lahav’s brand offers clients is the ability to make their fantasy dress, whatever it may be, a reality.
YOU MAY NOT NEED NEW TECHNOLOGY—YOU MAY JUST NEED TO FIND WAYS TO USE IT MORE CREATIVELY.
The pandemic has given rise to plenty of new apps and technologies, and it can be tempting to try and build your virtual offerings around one of them.
However, new technology shouldn’t be what leads you as you continue to evolve your pandemic-era offerings (which may very well end up becoming regular offerings once Covid-19 has waned). In fact, you may already have technology you’re using behind-the-scenes that you can lean into further in order to craft a customer experience.
Lahav’s fashion house is doing this with a digital pattern technology that they’ve been using since before the pandemic.
“Usually when a client asks to customize a garment, the head pattern maker of the fashion house works on adjusting the pattern or even creating it from scratch, which results in many hours of work.” Lahav says.
“We’ve developed a technology that allows us to digitize our patterns. This technology allows us to streamline the process and expand the customization possibilities, while maintaining a perfect fit—which is what we’re most known for.”
IT IS POSSIBLE TO CREATE A VIRTUAL OFFERING THAT’S EVEN MORE PERSONALIZED THAN YOUR IN-PERSON SERVICE.
As the pandemic stretches on, it’s becoming clear that the way we’re doing business today is going to continue to play a huge role in how we relate to customers for the foreseeable, and not-so-foreseeable, future.
The good news is that this time has opened up a well of creativity that’s resulted in some exceptional new products and services.
Some boutique retailers, like independent bookstores and wine stores, now offer personal-shopper type services, in which clients tell the store the kind of book they’re looking for, or the mood they’re in, and the staff selects products tailored to that client’s preferences in the moment.
In Lahav’s case, that creativity has taken their traditional consultations to a whole new level of customization.
To make up for the lack of in-person service, Lahav and her team engineered an intimate and personalized virtual experience. “Clients get to meet our head designer, sit with him one-on-one, and have him customize their look,” she says. “Our brides can describe in detail what they are looking for and have it sketched on the spot. This is a level of personalization we cannot offer in-store.”
As businesses continue to adapt to the new reality, it’s important to look at how you can make your brand’s services more personal and customized in a meaningful way—not just by adding video to the mix.’
Read the original article in full here.
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