Managers at mid-size venues all too often find themselves stuck between a rock and hard place when it comes to scale vs. expectations. Clients expect far more than they might from smaller venues, yet there are far fewer resources to go around than a larger venue has at their disposal to meet those heightened expectations.
In my experience, the mid-size venue managers who are most successfully able to meet this challenge focus on one key thing: personal relationships.
What a laser-focus on personal relationships does not mean is that managing a mid-size venue successfully is all about who you know. On the contrary, it’s about making sure that clients come away from every interaction with you or your staff feeling confident that their business is valued and important to the organization.
Think about it: How often have you called some kind of service provider you subscribe to with a problem, spent half an hour describing the issue to a rep only to call back a few days later and find that the person you’re talking to today has no record of where things left off with the last guy? Infuriating.
Now put yourself in your client’s shoes where the stakes are inarguably higher: You’ve spent countless hours working through every detail of your event with a sales representative. Once you’ve signed on the dotted line, you’re transferred to an operations manager who only has a high-level idea of what’s been agreed upon. You spend more valuable time spelling everything out again but each time you call with a question, you have to fill in someone new. Obviously, not a recipe for success – much less, repeat business.
The Action Backstage
So, with a smaller staff and fewer resources, how can a mid-size venue manager swing VIP service for every client? It starts by making sure that everyone on your team has complete and accurate information on customer details and event specific documentation at their fingertips. When clients touch base for any reason, whoever answers the phone has to be able to pick up right where the last person left off.
The single most efficient and effective way to do this is with venue management software: one central database for everything customer and event related. But whether you take this route or come up with your own solution, it’s equally important to set the client-service bar high for your team once you’ve given them the resources they need to make it happen. Prioritize client satisfaction and return business in your organization by tying these objectives to staff incentives and annual performance reviews. If you’re not already, also be sure to include post-event follow up with clients as a standard part of your sales process to measure how well your team is stacking up against these goals.
Whatever formal measurement you use, a venue with exceptional client service and satisfaction is pretty easy to spot. Just look for a packed booking calendar with more than its fair share of annual events!