One of the challenges the meetings and events industry is experiencing right now is how to elevate an event from a logistical plan to a strategic plan. In other words, the journey from simply organising a meeting or event to designing a transformational experience.
Putting the focus on the client and positioning them at the centre of the decision-making process is essential. Event planners need to apply empathy and active listening in order to create a memorable and unique experience for their clients.
Creating a unique customer experience
Personalising customer experiences is a strategy used by companies in the MICE Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) Industry to drive business growth.
Strategic customer experience management results in increased customer spending, lower abandonment rates, high referral rates and ultimately, new customers.
In order to create a unique experience, you must analyse each of your clients and tap into their emotions. What are their pain points and how can you solve them?
You need to be able to anticipate these needs in advance so you can explore new opportunities and differentiate your offering.
Strategic customer experience pillars
The strategic management of customer experience must be based on two pillars:
Everyone involved in the event needs to understand their role in the customer event journey, regardless of whether they have a direct relationship with the client or not.
Managing the customer experience is a transformational process which needs to be continuously improved upon. The goal is for it to become a habit.
Many companies in the meetings and events industry focus on generating a satisfactory experience around the day of the event, neglecting the entire relationship process from the beginning.
When an event manager contacts a venue or caterer, they aren’t just looking for a unique location for their event or a delicious gastronomic experience, they are searching for an advisor in the design of this experience. This is expected from the moment they send a request.
There is an increasing trend in the industry for event planners to create a completely transformational experience which is personalised, creative and where all elements work synergistically.
There are customer event journey tools available which allow you to map out and tailor every part of your event so it’s unique to each customer.
It’s essential you dedicate time to do a comprehensive briefing with all your clients. In doing so, you can adapt the event to the specific needs of your client as well as the event’s guests.
Mapping the client journey
To successfully map your client’s event journey, you need to see things from your client’s perspective.
How can you provide value at each point of contact?
Flexibility and empathy are key. Adding an element of surprise and exceeding your client’s expectations are a must.
The customer event journey identifies four “moments of truth” for the design of a unique, authentic and complete experience. These are:
Zero moment: The potential client is looking for information in different ways and finds your details. They get in touch with you and you create a tailored, winning proposal.
First moment: The potential client receives your proposal. Negotiation and an inspection visit take place. This is the decision-making phase where flexibility and assessment are required.
Second moment: The client has hired you. Their experience will be based on their expectations. This is the opportunity for you to win them over.
Third moment: After the service has been provided, the relationship with the client is maintained. Your efforts should be focussed on obtaining repeat business from the client and getting them to recommend you.
Every “moment of truth” involves an impact on the customer experience which is why your strategy must cover the process from start to finish. In short, one of the challenges for companies in the meetings and events industry is to place the client at the heart of every decision. To do this, all processes must be thought out and oriented towards a single end-result: to improve the event customer experience.
About the authors
.the Creative dots: At the Creative dots, a consultancy company specialized in the M&E sector, we believe in the effectiveness of the event as a strategic tool for communication and marketing, and we are convinced that the key to guaranteeing its success lies in the application of Innovation Methodologies for its design, organisation and execution, always with a focus on the Customer Experience.