In the world of event management, we often think about success in terms of “Did we hit the lighting cue on time?” “Did the event come in under budget?” “Did security keep the attendees safe?”
While these are important aspects of a successful event, there’s another, higher-level idea that can impact whether an event was successful: “Did the customer feel like they were taken care of?” In other words, did they receive excellent customer service?
So, what does customer service in event planning mean? At Complete Crewing, we believe it means anticipating the needs of the client and being concerned for the entire customer experience from beginning to end. It means treating customers and each other with dignity and respect. It can mean simple things like saying “Thank you.” It can mean solving a complex production problem quickly before it affects the run-of-show. And when something isn’t right, whether it’s something within our control or “gremlins in the system,” we believe in taking ownership for making it right. Quickly. Without pointing fingers.
Focusing on the importance of customer service in event management can have a profound impact on the events industry, and on your bottom line. It’s worth delving into further.
The Customer Experience
Regardless of the work you do in the labor and production services world – from setting breakout projectors to designing a complex stage with laser effects to the company finance manager handling invoicing back in the home office – by looking at things from the customer’s perspective, you can help transform the events business into an even more successful industry.
Where to start? The first step in good customer relationships is treating people as you’d like to be treated – following the “Golden Rule.” This is often as simple as the attitude you bring to a situation. Be patient. Listen to the concerns of the customer. Respond quickly and efficiently.
There are many things that can affect the customer’s experience that are outside your control. Maybe this is their first time speaking to a large audience and they’re nervous. Maybe it’s a make-or-break moment to get their company funded and they’re anxious about their future success. Whatever the situation, they’ll have some strong feelings associated with being there. By being attuned to the customer, you’ll help ensure a better outcome for them, and they’ll be more likely to rehire your organization for their next event, or recommend you to others.
Act as a Partner, Not Just a Vendor
There’s a difference between just being a vendor or supplier and acting as a partner. A vendor is more worried about simply finishing the assignment and getting paid. A partner thinks of themselves as having a vested interest in the success of a project or event, and teams with the customer to find the best results.
At Complete Crewing, we strive to treat our customers as partners. We focus on a great customer experience, and we take pride in our clients’ success. This gives us a deep connection with our customers and keeps bringing them back year after year.
Problems Happen – It’s How You Respond That Matters
From needing a fresh set of batteries for a lavaliere in the middle of an executive panel to finding the right loading dock for load-in, there are a million things that can – and do – go wrong in event management. It seems inevitable. And often the smallest detail can have the biggest impact on an event.
But how the client feels about the event doesn’t have to be dictated by what went wrong. If you focus on providing great customer service along the way, that can mean the difference between success and failure.
In the events industry, long hours and hard labor are the norm. When we get tired, it’s easy to make mistakes. We’ve made them, and it’s safe to say you have memories of when things didn’t go exactly as planned.
Fortunately, surveys show that when a customer experiences a problem and you resolve it for them to their satisfaction, they are a happier client and you’re more likely to get their repeat business than if nothing had gone wrong in the first place. Here is an article on the topic.
How to Get the Best Customer Service
Here are some event customer service tips to make sure you are getting the best event management customer service when selecting a company. As mentioned above, make sure you are being treated like a partner and that the company you’re working with has your best interests in mind.
What does that look like? You should be given the opportunity to explain your goals and clearly describe what success looks like. Does the company you’re working with ask many questions before proposing ideas, or are they giving you cookie-cutter suggestions?
Once you’ve shared your goals, they should follow up quickly and accurately, demonstrating that they were listening to your needs by proposing ideas that fit your goals and your budget.
Lastly, they should be straightforward about their limitations, describing what they can and can’t accomplish for you. This sets proper expectations and helps avoid disappointment or a failure to deliver on promises.
How Service Providers Can Embody the Importance of Customer Service in Event Management
In order to ensure event success, and to limit or reduce any problems, there are several steps you can take. First, start with excellent communication, before, during and after a project. This is critical and helps avoid misunderstandings while setting expectations of what you can and can’t deliver.
It’s also helpful to know how to address poor customer service during an event. If a problem happens, work with the customer to outline a way to resolve the situation, identifying a fair approach to the resolution. Begin by acknowledging the problem quickly, rather than looking for a scapegoat or excuse, being sure to listen carefully and with empathy. Next, look into the issue, researching why it happened. Then, offer solutions and work together with the customer to resolve the issue fairly.
Once you’ve identified the cause and determined a solution, put processes in place to avoid a repeat of the problem and be sure to communicate those changes to the customer. This will give them confidence that you heard them, you responded appropriately, and it won’t happen again. This will also help rebuild trust and retain them for future business.
The steps above are the guiding principles at Complete Crewing. We take the importance of customer service in event management and problem resolution very seriously, and consider it a bond with our customers. We believe customer service means being concerned for the entire customer experience from beginning to end and our entire team is dedicated to these ideals.
By applying some of these principles to your day-to-day work, you can help ensure success for your organization and for the events industry as a whole.