We’ve all heard the old adage, “The customer is always right.”  But what, exactly, is good customer service?  Meeting Planners don’t have to wait until something goes wrong to keep up good relations with our clients.  And a little goes a long way.

  1. Communication – Keeping your clients informed and updated on a regular basis can ease your clients’ concerns and lets them know they are important to you.  Be proactive – don’t wait for your client to ask.  When a client sends an email, respond within minutes, even if it’s just to say that you got their message and will get back to them later with an answer.  And promptly return phone calls.  No one wants to be left hanging wondering if they were heard.
  2. Under Promise, Over Deliver – Don’t overstate your services… you run the risk of falling short of your clients’ expectations.  Always try to give them a little more than what they expect.
  3. Keep Your Word – If you say you’re going to do something, do it.  And if you say you’re going to do it by a certain day or time, make sure you deliver it by that day or time.  Better to tell a client you will get it to them later, and send it early, than to be late.
  4. Listen – Show a genuine interest in your clients and their events.  Never let your clients feel like their business isn’t appreciated, no matter how small the account is.  When talking on the phone, sit up straight, smile, and carefully listen to what the client is trying to tell you.  Open your mind and don’t make assumptions.  And try to understand from their perspective.
  5. Be the Solution, Not the Problem – All clients can get a little, well, let’s say annoying every once in a while.  Maybe they’re indecisive, maybe they’ve called you 27 times this morning, maybe they just don’t get it no matter how many times you explain something to them.  Rather than get frustrated and hang up the phone swearing under your breath, take this as an opportunity to shine above the rest of your competition.  HELP THEM!  Offer suggestions, take ownership of the issues, let them know you are there to make it happen for them… and then make it happen…with a smile on your face, grateful that you have the business.

Remember, there are literally thousands of other meeting planners out there willing and able to step in and take your place.  One misstep and your client could be sending RFP’s out to look for someone new.  So always treat your clients as though you truly appreciate their business.

 

Lori Gershaw started her career in the event industry in 1989 as an Independent Meeting Planner and grew her business into a full-service meeting planning company.   In 2003 she founded her second company, GCG Event Partners, a nationwide network of Independent Meeting Planners and On-Site Meeting Managers.

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