Whether you produce association or corporate events or you manage the world’s most rocking tradeshow, you know that events are a people business. Our focus is delighting prospective attendees, current attendees, and repeat attendees. Delivering exceptional customer service plays an essential role in helping us keeping that focus.
With that in mind, here are 3 event customer service must have mantras that we repeat daily:
1. Don’t forget attendees are people too
Attendees are making a special effort to register, attend, and engage with your event. It's a departure from their day to day life. Which means, without qualification, attendees are allowed to get frustrated with things we've put a lot of time and energy into making simple. Attendees are busy. Attendees are allowed to have feelings, even if they're inconvenient.
(nb: this is totally a reminder for me too)
As the event manager, sometimes we’re too close to the event. Of course we know how to best use the mobile event app we’ve set up to replace the printed program guide, how to best navigate the event venue, or what to look for that is an absolute can’t miss message in the know before you go email. All those tiny details we manage day to day have an attendee action that typically needs to be taken but many times, they aren’t sure how to do it or they just don’t have time to do it.
We assume that they’ve got the understanding or patience to tackle it all.
The startling reality is most of them don’t. They instead become frustrated and simply stop doing anything but the bare minimum necessary to feel successful.
Exceptional customer service here means being proactive in helping them manage frustrations, perceived or actual. And remembering that how you handle each interaction from those frustrated attendees can be a deal-maker or breaker. Your attendees (and prospective attendees) want to feel educated and empowered.
Be empathetic (even when it’s their fault) and let them know that you completely understand where they’re coming from and that you’re willing to do whatever you can to amend the situation.
Your concern and understanding will help them see that you really do have their best interests at heart.
2. Overcommunication is magical
For customer satisfaction (and in this case, attendee satisfaction) that is extraordinary, clear, constant, consistent communication is a must. For attendees to have an extraordinary customer service experience, they need to know what’s happening and when - well in advance.
And sometimes repeated to them several times.
Confusion leads to frustration, which then leads to unhappy attendees - and that you don’t want. So send regular updates via email (through your event app, through your discussion boards, through push notifications, and through email, for example) and avoid non-direct language. Don’t leave anything open to interpretation and just be as transparent as possible.
3. Listen to listen, don’t listen to respond
Every problem is not unique but every person you encounter is. When an attendee brings you a problem, we need to really listen. Not do that thing we do where we go into defense or problem solver mode.
Confession time: I struggle with this all the time. As an event manager, I’m a people pleaser. I want to solve the problem because I absolutely HATE it when an attendee is unhappy. Like it keeps me awake, bothers me for the rest of the day (week, month, quarter, etc) unhappy.
But it’s not about me. It’s about them. And I need to remember that so I can be present and listen to the issue that particular attendee is having.
Active listening isn’t just valuable when helping an angry attendee; it will likely help you in all facets of the events process. Things move fast, sometimes things (especially onsite) don’t get written down. When we work in active listening mode, we become better at doing all the things, including ensuring that the attendee's customer service experience stands out positively above all others.
Refuse to settle for ordinary customer service
Your attendees expect more and exceptional meeting planners don't settle for the base minimum — they use partners like Pathable whose customer service is called Customer Happiness because that's the standard we aspire to, though we don't mind it when someone ranks us 5-stars too. Our goals align with yours, as we want to answer specific needs of your attendees and always strive create a much more engaging and experience-driven event in the process.
How Pathable Can Help
Don't feel like you have to wander alone. Our team is always standing by to answer questions, bounce ideas off of, and meet up with you at the next industry tradeshow to chat about options you're considering. If you’re looking for more in-depth advice on apps and event management, subscribe to the Pathable blog or join us for one of our monthly CMP webinars. And as always, when you're ready to take the next step, don’t hesitate to schedule a free demo!