Even if it costs money to wow your customer, then it will come back to you with other clients.(ie: we try and add décor to our clients wedding, it makes the photos look better and surprises our couples, both get us more clients in the future).
As part of my series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Borgh, the owner of Borghinvilla Wedding Venue.
Specializing in destination weddings in Jamaica, Jennifer Borgh and her team ensure every single detail of your wedding is taken care of. Jennifer is also the owner of Destination Wedding Venue(www.borghinvilla.com).
Her extensive background in weddings and travel has taken her all across the Caribbean and has made her an expert in her field. Being Certified by The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, The Jamaica Tourist Board, and Travel Industry Council of Ontario leaves destination wedding parties completely worry-free in her capable hands.
Jennifer’s devotion to planning weddings and her knowledge of the latest industry trends has had her featured in numerous publications, including The Wedding Co Blog, CBC News, The Toronto Star, Canada.com, National Post, Metro News, Toronto Sun, Economist and Sun. She also appeared on Slice Network’s Rich Groom, Poor Groom, Global news and Daytime Toronto. As seen in Jamaica Experience Magazine, Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaican Observer, The Wedding Opera, Destination wedding details, Belle the Magazine, The Coordinated bride blog, Black Bride Magazine, Munaluchi Magazine, Jet Fete, Wedding Essentials and more.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Over 10 years ago, I took my Wedding Planning Certification(www.wpic.ca) and started by assisting other Toronto Wedding Planners. When I felt that I had enough experience, I opened my own business “ Jennifer Borgh Events” . After a few years, I started to get inquires about destination weddings. I had been travelling for many years, so I added destination weddings to my offerings. 5 years ago, I decided to move to Jamaica and open “Borghinvilla Wedding Venue” and only offered Jamaica to our clients.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
My biggest lesson(that still sticks with me) was from one of the first weddings, I coordinated. I learned not to assume that my couples want to deal with an issue the same way as I do. The couple had hired a musician for their ceremony. Everyone was in place and the musician still hadn’t shown up. I was finally able to get a hold of him and he said he was stuck in traffic and wouldn’t make the ceremony. I sprung into action and put on the back up music I had prepared with their selected songs. The ceremony went on and was beautiful. The Musician arrived during cocktails, set up and started to play, he stayed longer than booked to make up for the ceremony. After the wedding, I emailed the Musician(cc’ing my couple) asking for him to partially refund their payment. He refused, saying he had stayed overtime to make up for it(even though he had completely missed the ceremony!). What I had completely forgot is to consult with the couple on what they wanted or how they felt. I just assumed, they would want a refund and would want me to confront him about missing the ceremony. I think they may have been more upset at me for confronting the Musician than they were that he never showed up.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
It takes a village is not just about raising children but also about starting a business. I couldn’t possibly name everyone who has helped along the way. From family who helped get over the financial bumps to colleagues who have referred Borghinvilla, I am in debted to a lot of people if I ever get rich! Childhood friends, I haven’t seen in 30 years have shared our social media posts and let their friends know about Borghinvilla. Of course, our loyal clients who continue to recommend us to future brides and allow us to share their private wedding photos. We would be remiss not to thank our staff(even the ones that didn’t work out) who have helped build our business.
Thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main focus of our interview. This might be intuitive, but I think it’s helpful to specifically articulate it. In your words, can you share a few reasons why great customer service and a great customer experience is essential for success in business?
Happy couples is something I personally take a lot of pride in. I don’t make nearly enough money to do this job without sharing the joy of the day. Also, with a small business, no marketing/advertising can pay for itself like client referrals. Happy brides want the world to know how good their experience was. They will continue long after their wedding to send you potential clients and allow you to use their wedding photos.
We have all had times either in a store, or online, when we’ve had a very poor experience as a customer or user. If the importance of a good customer experience is so intuitive, and apparent, where is the disconnect? How is it that so many companies do not make this a priority?
I think we are all guilty of failing at the customer experience at some point. It’s happened to our team and if we agree and we think the customer is being reasonable then we do whatever we can to resolve this issue. Some companies don’t seem to care at all. They may
Have too much staff and more customers than they can handle. The volumn is more important than the customer experience and getting the customer in and out is the biggest priority. They may compete on price and not the experience.
Do you think that more competition helps force companies to improve the customer experience they offer? Are there other external pressures that can force a company to improve the customer experience?
Sadly, yes. In Jamaica(for example) we have a lot of companies that have a monopoly since it’s a small island. They still have recorded messages about how important their customers are and yet, the process of dealing with them is extremely painful. When I worked at a restaurant in high school, our paycheque read “this cheque has been brought to you by our customers” I think about this often and try and drill this theory into our staff.
Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?
We try and wow all of our couples. Not just please them, but actually wow them so when they arrive at their own wedding, they have an outer body experience that this is really all for them! How much we can wow our couples depends on their budget and of course, how many weddings we have around their date. During Covid, it’s been easy to wow our couples as we have so many ideas in our heads and are so grateful for every wedding that happens.
Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?
It’s very rare that we go above and beyond for couples and it doesn’t pay for itself 100 times over. Bride’s put a lot of weight on their wedding day so when it all comes together, they have a huge sigh of relief which propels energy and overall gratefulness that our team knocked it out of the park.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a founder or CEO should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience. Please share a story or an example for each.
- Even if it costs money to wow your customer, then it will come back to you with other clients.(Ie: we try and add décor to our clients wedding, it makes the photos look better and surprises our couples, both get us more clients in the future).
- Picking up the phone instead of going back in forth with emails can be more productive when solving issues. Clients feel better when their concerns are listened to and this can be lost in emails.
- Be easy to contact. Most clients will contact the owner directly if their contact info is easy to find. It’s like a double check for how your clients are receiving your staff interactions.
- There are many things that won’t cost anything and will create a connection with your clients. Learning their names, smiling and promptly attending to any concerns/questions.
- Replying in a timely manner can solve a lot of issues, avoid a lot of problems and draw in a lot of clients.
Are there a few things that can be done so that when a customer or client has a Wow! experience, they inspire others to reach out to you as well?
Happy clients will naturally recommend you but you can also ask for a referral or recommendation on whatever platform you use(Facebook, Wedding Wire). Some companies will also send out a customer survey that can help highlight why the clients were happy and areas to improve the customer experience.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Take as much time as you can. At least 20 mins of your time and do something for others. It can be as small or big as you want. Leave a good review for a service you used, donate some food to a local food bank, share a post from a friends business. We can all get caught up in our own daily life and our own problems and forget how others could use a reason to smile!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!