Life has certainly taken a turn, especially for the wedding industry. Spending habits have changed, more people are shopping online or not shopping at all due to job insecurity and fear of economic collapse. Many businesses, especially those in entertainment, travel, and events, are unable to offer their services due to COVID-19 protocols. Due to this, businesses are receiving increased numbers of disputes. As a weddings and special events pro, it’s important to consider how you can avoid, offset, and be as prepared as possible for potential incidents like these so you can provide your best services while protecting your business. It’s this kind of care and preparedness that'll leave a lasting mark on your clients and the wedding community as a whole. You’ll come out with stronger relationships and a more stable foundation.
Adapting to the environment is something all businesses simply have to do all the time. Amidst all the challenges surrounding us, now is the time to flex your adaptability muscles and get informed on ways that you can adapt, what you can expect, and how to prepare. Chargeback has compiled a thorough article detailing what major card brands are doing to help inform merchants of the types of disputes that can be made. The article, “All Major Card Brands Postpone April Release and Change Dispute Monitoring in Light if Coronavirus Pandemic,” is an informative and helpful read for any business owner to have in their arsenal.
The following major banks are highlighted:
- American Express
From Physical Goods Disputes to Disputes Involving Cancellations by the Merchants (that’s you!) and the programs that each bank is spearheading to help inform business during this time. If you're being affected by COVID-19, banks have procedures that can help you if you need an extension for compliance. Learning about what you can do and what your clients can do will help inform your preparedness plan.
Once you’re well informed on disputes, the next step is to think about what you can do to smooth your process and ensure that this pandemic - or any disruption in your isn’t the reason you lose a couple.
Many couples had their wedding dates in March, April, May, and on, so what can you do during this time? How can you and your clients work through this to make postponements and the appropriate adjustments? It’s time to take out those contracts. What did you actually put in them? You have to know what's in writing and what you've legally promised to do. Depending on your contracts, decide your game plan. This might be a great moment of enlightenment that'll inform the way you write future contracts.
Pro Tip: Your Legal BFF takes the guesswork out of contract drafting with contract templates for your wedding business. Learn more here!
Keep all of your documents in order and catalog everything. Everything. As Chargeback says, during this time many disputes will be handled by businesses and clients, given the situation. With the proper documentation, you'll have a much easier time navigating through any disagreements or disputes.
Be transparent and clear about what you can and can’t do. Communication will go a long way in maintaining positive interactions and a positive reputation. You may not be able to provide the exact service you planned or concede to your clients' exact wishes or expectations, but you can provide a measure of support and realistic options on what you can do with them and for them, both through the postponement and when couples are able to have their wedding celebrations again.
This is a great opportunity for you to look at your services to see where there may be some space to build in reduced-engagement options. None of this was planned, and everyone has had to adjust, making it all that more valuable for your business to be understanding and provide more options. While we may not see the likes of a global pandemic for another hundred years, this should serve as an example for any kind of forced "pause" to an event or project process such as natural disasters, unexpected military deployments, or employment changes. Aisle Planner, for instance, provides the flexibility to adjust your subscription plan so you can tailor it your changing business needs. Additionally, since AP is cloud-based and built for collaboration, your tools are accessible to you, your team members, your vendor partners and your clients, from anywhere, at any time. You always have access to work with your clients through this time, maintain planning momentum (as much as you can), and keep them informed. In their most vulnerable moments, your clients will feel lifted up and be thankful for the access to the details of their big event no matter what the winds of change may blow in.