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Customer events are a vital component of your marketing portfolio. They come in all sizes from simple Lunch & Learns to full blown user conferences. These all provide a great avenue for sharing information and building relationships on a more personal level. They also offer you the ability to capture critical information from your prospects and customers about their wants and needs in a way that few other mediums can.

Successfully promoting and managing customer events requires a great deal of preparation and the ability to anticipate your guests’ needs long before they realize they have them. Experience, dedication and a commitment to building a process that is truly customer centric from start to finish are the keys to doing this.

Setting the tone for your customer event is an important first step. This begins long before customers and prospects arrive or even when invitations go out. It starts with a clear vision of your events goals and objectives and is supported by a detailed process managing inbound and outbound communications with customers and prospects. This includes the registration process, welcome kits, presentation reviews, entertainment, transportation and dozens of other details along the way. It also includes building and planning a follow-up plan for gauging your events success as well as capturing critical data about potential leads and nurturing them to fruition.

For smaller events, this can be relatively straightforward. Account managers, sales people and other customer facing personal are often required to handle the majority of these communications. For larger events, there should be a person or team of individuals dedicated to understanding the intricacies of the event who are available to answer questions. In either case, it is important understand and minimizes the burden placed on customer-facing personal that already have enough to do, and need to be focus on other customer issues or closing sales.

If you’re making the investment to bring your customers and prospects together, take the time to build a plan that focuses on delivering an exceptional customer experience without overwhelming your existing staff. And then review that plan with people who have been through the process and can provide insight into potential areas of customer confusion. This will allow you to rectify them, long before they become an issue and potentially shift the tone of your event from positive to negative. If you need help at any stage in the process (i.e. building, reviewing or implementing a plan), feel free to reach out to ResponsePoint for advice and consultation.