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The NEC wins 2017 UFI Operations & Services Award

by Nicola Macdonald

The NEC faced off against Messe Frankfurt in the final of UFI’s Operations & Services Awards, coming away with the prize following a presentation and audience vote. 

The Operations & Services Focus meeting took place at the end of March this year at the Jaarbeurs Exhibition and Convention Centre in Utrecht, the Netherlands. As part of the programme, the two finalists of the 2017 Operations & Services Award presented their solutions to the audience.

The theme for this year’s award was: “Successful approaches to creating the perfect customer journey”. Both finalists, Messe Frankfurt and NEC Birmingham, presented their high quality, well thought-out solutions to improve the customer experience.

After a transparent process of voting by the audience, NEC Birmingham was named the overall winner for 2017.

NEC Birmingham presented a creative and energetic solution focused on moving from a functional to an experimental customer journey. They convinced the audience that any visitor to the centre would walk away with an emotional bond, an experience that would remain with them for a long while after.

During the presentation, NEC Birmingham Market Development Director, Richard Mann, explained that when they started reviewing their customer journey several years ago, the first thing they needed to do was to work out exactly which journey each of their customer groups was taking – because each one has a different journey. To get a clear view of what their customers experienced, they engaged an independent research and consultancy agency and mapped out each group’s entire customer journey, from beginning to end. From this research, they not only extracted information on what they were doing well, but also what they needed to improve. NEC Birmingham then focused on the areas identified as needing improvement by their various customers and made sure that not only did they improve on these areas and/or services, but that they offered solutions that were different from the norm. More specifically, they offered solutions that touched on customers’ senses to create an emotional connection.

In keeping with NEC Birmingham’s emotional, sense-igniting campaign, Mann won the audience over with his presentation of their creative customer journey solution.

Mann was elated when NEC Birmingham was announced as the winner, stating that: “It is such an honour to be awarded this prestigious award. It reaffirms that all the hard work we have done over the years has really paid off.”

NEC Birmingham will present its customer journey solution during the Special Interest Group Session Best Practices at the UFI Global Congress on 1–4 November 2017 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa.

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