Are Your Tech Strategies in Place to Accommodate Gen Z Couples During Coronavirus?

Things have gotten tricky for those in the throes of wedding planning, as the spread of Coronavirus has companies shuttering their doors temporarily and people are asked to self-isolate at home. For an industry that thrives on face-to-face interactions, the special events industry has been hit especially hard by this crisis.

By the time this blows over, where do you want your business to stand? If you want to see your company through these hard times, you must adapt to the circumstances and find digital solutions to continue serving your clients and finding new ones. After all, this is a temporary situation — although we do not yet know an end date, this won’t last forever.

At this point, there are two types of clients we should be considering: those with upcoming wedding dates that will need to be postponed and those in the early planning stages who are still months (or years) away from their wedding. Regardless, all of your clients should be provided the same level of respect and professionalism through regular communication and a commitment to supporting their needs through the very end. 

Fortunately, technology has made it simple to work with clients virtually; in fact, as Gen Z emerges on the market, virtual collaboration will soon be an expectation of our industry. Although we’ve been somewhat forced into this corner, let’s flip the perspective and see this period as an opportunity to refine our tech strategies to ensure our clients’ needs are being met — crisis or no crisis.

A bit about Gen Z clients

Those born between 1996 and 2010 are considered Gen Z and, as they take over the market as prime engaged clients, we need to meet them on their level. Consider that Gen Z has never known a world without the Internet or social media; they’ve been surrounded by screens their whole lives, with answers always at their fingertips. This has created an expectation for instant gratification and, in a professional sense, immediate responses.

This could possibly be the reason why Gen Z seems to be thriving the most during self-isolation, as they naturally turn to their phones to host video calls, record dances for TikTok, and post Instagram challenges. They are already on their screens, so we need to be there to grab their attention. 

Reaching Gen Z during crisis

For those that are newly engaged, this period of social distancing opens up a lot of time in the day to research vendors, browse Pinterest for inspiration, and really dig into the details of planning a wedding. They are naturally inspired by having options, so it’s up to you to position yourself as the best option out there.

Thus, your digital approach to communications in the time of coronavirus should be two-fold:

1.    Communicate quickly and effectively

For those in Gen Z, 24 hours is a long time — we need to up the industry-wide expectation to be more relevant to the people we’re trying to reach. Aim for no less than a 2-hour response during work hours and set an auto-responder for off-hour.

The methods of communication are just as important as timeliness. While Gen Z values immediate responses, they gravitate more to screen-based communications than good, old-fashioned phone calls. Emails, text messages, and video chats are going to be your best bets for reaching them, so take the time to open yourself up to receive inquiries, schedule meetings, and hold consultations in these ways. 

2.    Make it easy on them.

In general, Gen Z is quick to avoid inconveniences and always on the hunt for solutions that save time and allow for more efficiency. It’s why smartphones keep getting smarter and all of our other devices are catching up (hello smart cars, smart watches, and smart fridges). As an event professional, it’s important to recognize how much they value convenience. If you can make their life easier, you will be rewarded for it — it’s as simple as that.

Fortunately, the digital tools that make our clients’ lives easier also tend to make our lives easier. Talk about a double bonus. Automating processes like proposals, contracts, and invoicing is a quick way to streamline your workflow, take that work off your plate, and give your clients a consistent and enhanced experience. Using digital tools like Rock Paper Coin, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Calendly is a win-win situation for everyone involved, especially when face-to-face meetings are not possible.

While it’s important to recognize that we are living in crisis mode, we still need to be mindful of our clients’ needs and meet them as best as possible during these evolving circumstances. Introducing virtual components to your client strategy isn’t just for crisis situations; it’s a strategy that will help your business for the long-haul as the new generation of couples will increasingly demand it.

Elizabeth Sheils is the co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, the first software platform to bring together wedding planners, couples, and vendors into one system for managing and paying contracts and invoices. Elizabeth is also a lead wedding planner with award-winning firm Bridal Bliss, where she manages the Seattle team. 

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