Archive for December, 2011

3 Steps to making 2012 the Year of the Customer

December 8, 2011

Starting the year off with a renewed focus on our customer will only produce benefits for us!  Showing how much we value our customers on all levels can only bring us continuity, deeper commitments, repeat business, and ultimately a stronger bottom line.

Whether you measure success by business growth and profit or by not for profit standards, you will ultimately benefit from treating those who come through your “door” with increased respect.

Managing your meeting(s) with an eye to the how the most important customer, our attendee, is received, how the attendee is directed when they step off the bus, how they are “seen” by your staff will all coalesce in that critical first impression of respectful treatment.  And, respectful treatment results in attendee comfort; ultimately attendee comfort produces a reason for the attendee to commit to your meeting, want to be at your meeting year after year.

Of course, comfort alone isn’t the only reason attendees commit to our meetings, but it goes a long way toward influencing more “hard” reasons to commit—financial, location, schedule, etc.

How do you make the attendee feel this respect or comfort at your meeting?

  1.  Make your attendee’s comfort a year round goal—in emails, in pre registration materials, in phone contacts, on social media, etc. use the words and the contexts to show your attendee clearly that you respect them and their decision to attend your meeting every years is not assumed.  Offer attendees incentives, network opportunities, creative problem solving, etc. in a tone of respectful treatment of their expertise, their expressed/not expressed needs, etc.  This year round effort sets up that moment on-site when the attendee steps into registration at your meeting; they come through the door expecting the same treatment they have received prior.

 2. Once on site, your attendees will feel the buzz of your meeting if you have created a receptive physical space, clear signage, engaging staff, and clear welcoming and directional guides for the attendee.  It’s often said that we are best served by “wrapping our attendees in the warm embrace of customer service,” making our attendees feel safe and honored as individuals.

Within this positive customer service environment, we treat our attendees with deference, not assuming they know our terminology, our systems or operations.  It is up to us to “walk” our attendees through our process seamlessly as we treat them as our honored guests.  Extending this effort beyond the registration process to all the education sessions, the general sessions, the special events, tours, etc. will complete this total impression of respectful  treatment.

 3.  And, critically important is how we treat our attendees post event.  We need to deliver on promises made: survey results, wrap up notes, conference recordings, even a refund.  The lasting impression of how we fulfill our promises will be key to an attendee’s commitment to our meeting and ultimately to our organization.

 None of these points is a news flash for us, but we can all use a reminder especially at this time of year when we are looking backward to see what worked and didn’t work at the same time we are looking forward, making plans to improve or expand current successes.

If you have ideas to share with our blog audience re ways you’ve found to show your attendees some “love” & how it has helped your organization, please respond.  We’d love to have you as a guest blogger!