| A MATTER OF TASTE Catering & Event Planning

  • “ARE COMPUTERS A SUBSTITUTE FOR HUMAN INTERACTION?”

 I still remember vividly when my office phone rang throughout the day as prospective clients waited at the other side eager to discuss their wedding or other event’s details, exchange ideas briefly, then proceed to schedule an appointment to visit our office to meet in person, face to face……ahhhhh, that was then, before  emails and  text.  I also remember when hiring an office assistant, one of my requirements was, they must have a great phone personality and ability to comunicate with our prospective client. To let our client know our professionalism just by the tone of her voice. I believed it was important for the client to get that very important ‘first’ impression during that first phone call.

Times have changed, and please, don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy with modern technology and all it’s benefits, including this post and almost any other form of communication via technology,  but you have to agree that with this technological advantage comes a high price to pay, it is the loss of human relations, and interaction with one another face to face. I have a very nice office, because of the delicate nature of my business I decorated it just like if it was a home, it has warmth, charm, it is confortable, spacious, conveniently located, etc. Well, since the ease of access for potential clients to email instead of calling, (by the way, I do understand, and agree that it is somehow convenient for my business, the fact that brides and clients in general can email me while they’re at work or school rather than to talk on the phone) that my phone has ceased to ring all day to be substituted for multiple email inquiries. I had ordered two phone lines (cost me more money) with additional cost for roll over just to handle the influx of calls more efficiently and message on hold system, we even have a toll free number, at this moment I’m considering removing one line and staying with just one line and save the money.

I do honestly appreciate the email inquiries as much as the calls, after all…..still, they are clients trying to hire our services, what  frustrates me is that since I enjoy what I do so much and I am a people’s person, I much rather enjoy a personal meeting to talk about everything and anything about their special day.  I’m always eager to hear interesting stories if it’s a wedding, on how they met?, how he proposed?, how do you envision your perfect day?, etc . Or if a Corporate event, I want to meet the person who is in charge to make their event a success by choosing the right company to produce it,  so I need to have the opportunity to present my company and show them with facts why WE are the unquestionable choice, and the only way to do that is in person.

Sometimes, I have to explain in the best way possible that the purpose of having an office which I may say, costs money to keep open, is for clients to visit and see who we are, and what we offer, face to face, in person, that is the only way to get a first impression which is crutial in every business deal. We are not getting the opportunity to present ourselves and what we are about by communicating online. I receive requests for pricing online everyday,  if you ask me, and no offense to anyone, anyone can send you information from any greasy hole in the wall business from the other side of town which in fact is not what you are looking for at all. Reality is, technology as convenient as it may be, is ruining human relations.

I do understand the convenience of my out of town clients who prefer to have some preliminary info till they can take a trip to come see me,  but locals?…… we offer flexible appointment times, we try to accommodate your schedule as best we can, and still  it’s almost impossible to have them take the time to visit. I also understand we live in such a fast paced world, we are used to instant gratification with almost everything we do, we want to see it now, believe me I’m used to this myself too, but I also believe that it is important for a future bride to meet the person who will become a significant part of her wedding by planning all her details. It is also very important to see if there’s a good ‘vibe’ between client and planner for all the time they’ll spend putting together all the details of their wedding or event.

No matter how much times have changed in many aspects, human contact and one on one interaction should always prevail. I truly enjoy the time spent with my clients exchanging ideas, options, sometimes even just carrying on a conversation non related to the wedding but interesting and fun, this is what the thread of human nature is made of, we talk to each other to get to know each other. This is how we build memorable relations. I strongly believe that only through an in person interview can I let my client know the kind of person I am, the person that will be a part of one of the most important days in their lives.

Last, but also related…….years ago too, when a client would have an after the event comment, perhaps not a favorable one and we are conscious that not everyone’s understanding of issues is the same and we live in a free society, comsumers always have the right to express their opinions and experiences freely whether been right or wrong, well….it was always better for both of us to communicate and talk about whatever it was they were not happy about, at least we had the opportunity as humans to hear each other’s side of the story and perhaps if valid, offer a solution to satisfy them, but now, they rather sit and write an impersonal post whether it be truth or not, about whatever it is they’re unhappy about, I guess it’s easier not to show face and have a monologue  instead of a dialogue, where two people can talk in a civilized manner.

I hope people would change a little and wake up to realize that we can keep a balance and take advantage of modern technology whenever convenient, but never, never, use it to substitute the gift we were all given,  to be able to communicate with one another, to show emotion, to show our face, I for one still enjoy a good conversation one on one!

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