Angela Smith, head of customer Experience, Freeman EMEA, on why a personalised show site service is vital for events.
Where on your list of priorities falls show site service? When it comes to pulling events together, service desks can feel like a low-priority item on your mile-long to do list.
As our industry undergoes a much overdue digital transformation, we run the risk of losing the art of engaging face-to-face with all our customers. I am not talking about old shell system desk structures, adorned by disengaged desk staff that tell exhibitors what they can’t do. I’m talking about a radical shift of the more traditional service desk towards a real, personal, and meaningful customer experience that is additive to the exhibitor.
Number vs name: making show site service personal
When service standards resemble a “deli counter” and customers are referred to by their (stand) number, you know we’ve entered a place of the impersonal.
We should provide a more tailored, more personalised experience to our customers. For example, by asking for their name first and then their stand number, we’re not just getting off on the right foot to make this exchange more human, but we are signalling to our customers that we’re committed to providing value to them regardless of who they’re representing, how much they’ve spent, and how big their stand is.
The future of service desks is centralised
I recently took a walk across a show build in the shoes of an exhibitor and discovered an alarming trend: the centralisation of service centres.
Don’t get me wrong: on paper, a central hub for show site support makes a lot of sense. You can centralise your experts, drive efficiencies by processing all requests through one desk, and coordinate communications between service staff, suppliers, and customers, but is it practical for an exhibitor to leave their stand during set-up and hike across show site to engage with a supplier.
The reasons why I’m alarmed is that with a one-size-fits-all approach, we run the risk of disregarding the needs of our customers and prioritising our own needs as a service partner.
We’re now headed towards the 4th anniversary of our Concierge function . We started out taking both the traditional service desks, and service centre functionality out onto the show floor, and saw first-hand how that can open up avenues, to effectively engage with customers in situ.
We then designed our show site support as a concierge service, featuring the more traditional services desks as well as ambassadors walking the show floor, meet-and-greets, exhibitor breakfast and lounges, and much more. We’ve recognised the potential of the build period, not just being ring-fenced to handling service requests, but to engage, showcase, and grow our show floor capabilities, ensuring that all exhibitors have a positive experience.
The only constant is (customer-centric) change.
There are many facets to an enriching, meaningful, and personalised customer experience on the show floor. Our customers and their challenges keep changing and evolving, and it is crucial for us to change and evolve with them in order to provide a service that adds value.
As long as we keep our customers at the core of everything we do, show site services will continue to be an exciting, growing, and creative space to be.