Written by guest blogger Kendra Smith, an a2z Project Manager
I don’t know about you, but when I work at an event I feel like I burn more calories from smiling and talking than I do from walking the entire span of the convention center 50 times in one day. For event planners, customer relations are a critical part of the required daily activities while onsite. The planning, organizing and directing phases are complete, and now it is up to the event management team to control rules and policies and oversee functions. As mentally exhausting as it can be, effective “human” skills are a necessity at this time.
Here are a few examples of tasks you will be responsible for on a daily basis:
Disgruntled Attendees – I could write a novel with all of the personal experiences I have had dealing with unhappy attendees. My most memorable is when an older couple accused the registration staff of stealing his wife’s driver’s license. They were in a panic because their flight home was leaving in a few hours and the wife had no other form of identification to make it through airport security. We took all measures to recover the driver’s license: tore apart the registration desk and trashcans, contacted security, contacted lost and found, but we did not succeed in finding the license and unfortunately took the wrath for it.
Fuming Exhibitors – The typical unhappy exhibitor scenarios include misplaced shipments, incorrect booth numbers, incorrect signage and numerous accusations of unmet expectations. The most interesting confrontation I witnessed was an intoxicated exhibitor who could not operate a lead retrieval scanner. He caused a scene in the exhibit hall and eventually walked out. He embarrassed himself more than anything, but it certainly made the participants and staff feel very uncomfortable.
Irate Speakers – “What do you mean, you ran out of speaker ribbons?” “The program guide has the wrong room number printed for my session!” “Why did only one attendee come to my presentation?” Our speakers are vital to our conference and keeping them happy can require a significant amount of hand-holding.
After the team takes a week off to recover from the event, the complaints will continue to roll in from your participants as you do your post-event surveys and analysis. Be sure to ask your customers to recognize a “service hero” from their onsite experience. Give an award or gift to a staff member who demonstrated the most outstanding service. Employees never seem to feel appreciated these days and this is a special way to give kudos on a job well done!