Make it about them
What does every event need to be successful? Attendees. And planners need to know how to build an attendee base year after year. The first way to do that is to remember it’s all about them. They are your customers; you are the provider. Good customer service is an age-old practice that stresses the importance of treating customers as individuals with different needs. In the world of meetings and events, attendees need to feel welcomed, appreciated and valued. With the ever-changing social environment and modifications in technology, social media and demographics, planners must adjust to take advantage of these changes. Richard Shapiro, founder and president of The Center For Client Retention and author of the new book “The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business,” says to be successful, companies or organizations need to leverage these seven customer service trends in 2012:
1. Engage the whole family.
Planners can engage families of attendees by providing suggested daily activities and scavenger hunts in the host city.
2. Bring eco into the daily dialog.
Incorporate the organization’s green policies into every aspect of the event—from recycled water cups to encouraging attendees to carpool from off-site hotels.
3. Be social.
Engage attendees online by promoting a Twitter hashtag for an event and by providing immediate answers to questions posted on social media outlets.
4. Influence the social masses.
Organizations should be transparent in securing key influencers to endorse events via social media.
5. Offer more language options.
Providing bilingual staff members, websites and directions helps bilingual attendees feel more welcomed.
6. Offer opt-out options.
While interaction with attendees using geolocation-based discounts and coupons is increasing in popularity, it remains important to offer opt-out options for attendees concerned with privacy or who aren’t as tech-savvy.
7. Focus on check-in.
The staff present at the check-in or registration desk remains as important as ever—a greeting from a smiling face puts attendees’ worries at ease before the event even begins.
We want to know what changes you’re making to your meetings and events in 2012. Comment here, or email your ideas to me at email@example.com.