Our November coffee morning was held at the London’s magnificent 18th century aristocratic palace, Spencer House, with guest hosts and Event Director Chris Stallworthy and Component Events Director Charlotte Picot.
Event professionals from Dezika, England Netball, Portfolio Institutional, Newton Europe, Ogilvy and Sorcha Ra Productions joined the debate on customer service and whether current levels are falling short in the events industry.
Chris Stallworthy opened the discussion by explaining that customer service isn’t about the enquiry it’s about the whole delivery of the event and bad news has a way of travelling a lot easier than good. We do like to talk in the events industry and if you get customer service wrong you can easily put your reputation at risk.
Pressure of delivering tight budgets can affect customer service, there are huge costs and pressures to delivering events, clients budgets are changing, and everyone has had to change their way of operating in recent years. What’s important is having confidence in your team, and a team who are passionate about what they do.
Charlotte Picot added that so many different elements of service that you see and sometimes it’s the little things that matter most. It can be as simple as goodwill at an event that can transform your experience, and an exchange that can make all the difference.
“There should be passion for the products our suppliers offer and for delivering great customer service. Sometimes you visit venues and whilst they are obviously very experienced they don’t appear to have a passion for the venue. It is obvious they are just trying to make their money because they are under pressure, this is understood, however should they be doing that job if they’re not passionate about their product?”
“The time people are spending in roles is not very long, people are moving around a lot, it shouldn’t be that way? Although understood this can sometimes this can be down to progression and opportunities.”
“There are lots of pressures, budgets go up every year, lots of companies are only interested in making money and customer service falls by the way side as a result.”
“As a planner when visiting venues and they are all delivering the same sales pitch, I will book my event with the supplier that offers me the reassurance that they are ‘partnering’ with me to deliver the best event possible.”
“Everyone feels the pressure and the worry associated with budgets. There is pressure on organisers as they have budgets too! The big thing is looking at the long term – there’s far too much here and now!”
“There seems to be pressure created by management for year on year growth, without a real thought for the long-term gain! It’s important to speak to clients about value, see what can be done to help planners by negotiating with them.”
“Getting the right staff is important. Always invest in your staff, pay well, create a loyal group of people and make sure they are aware of expected standards.”
“Lack of care and lack of passion is frustrating, being asked what do you do on a site inspection when two minutes spent on line before the meeting would tell them that. Also, not having a general understanding of the event they are hosting. On the other hand, there are also a lot of planners who likewise don’t have the passion for what they do, leaving a lot to their suppliers, and without that attention to detail that is so critical.”
“Venues and suppliers not responding to enquiries is a big problem for a lot of planners right now. If you don’t have space or availability it’s about saying we don’t have space or no thank you, it’s a matter of courtesy.”
Ultimately it was agreed that if you understand what your clients’ needs are then you can deliver better customer service. Equally as important is understanding your teams needs to get the best out of them. Ultimately the person who suffers the most from poor customer service is the client and in turn business suffers.
“Adaptability and compromise are a good basis for good customer service”
“Customer service is key in all parts of the industry but isn’t always what we want it to be”
We’ll continue the debate at our next coffee morning on the 1st December as we discuss suppliers and buyers, a view from both sides. For more information visit www.ewlclublondon.com/2016/08/22/ewl-december-coffee-morning-suppliers-and-buyers