Exhibitor Retention Through Elevated Customer Service. Presented to the NYIAEE Chapter b y Stephanie Selesnick, CEM Executive Vice President International Trade Information, Inc. March 10, 2009. On Customers….
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Exhibitor Retention Through Elevated Customer Service
Presented to the NYIAEE Chapter by
Stephanie Selesnick, CEM
Executive Vice President
International Trade Information, Inc.
March 10, 2009
"There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Sam Walton
“Treat every customer as if they sign your paycheck … because they do.” Unknown
Question 1: An exhibitor has a toothache and has to leave the show to go to the dentist. As Show Management you:
a. Fine him and take away his company’s priority points for leaving his booth un-staffed during show hours.
b. Do nothing. (Ignore it.) The exhibitor doesn’t get fined for leaving the booth unattended.
c. Send over a show management temp to hand out brochures for the 2 hours he’s gone.
Question 2: You have a long time (small) exhibitor going through a cash flow situation. Your organization:
a. Tells them that if they don’t pay according to the contract, the booth they’ve occupied for the last 10 years is no longer theirs. When they pay for the booth in full, they can select an new booth from inventory.
b. Allow them to make monthly (or quarterly) installments.
An Exhibitor with an End Cap has built her booth across the whole 20’ and 10’ high, against show display regulations.
Per your organization’s modes operandi, no one was on the show floor during move in to inform her (as the booth was being built) that she is violation of the display regulations of the show.
As Show Management, you:
a. You leave a VIOLATION NOTICE at her booth in the evening after move in has finished notifying her that she is in violation of the rules and must fix the booth before show opens.
b. You had staff on the show floor and let her know she was in violation as the booth was being built and offered suggestions to remedy the problem.
c. Your show either never sells end caps or doesn’t have that display rule in your show rules and regs. There is no problem!
a. It’s the Exhibitors united against THE ENEMY (Show Mgmt. & Suppliers) who the clients believe are out get as much money as possible with doing the least amount possible.
b. Show Management/Suppliers against the Exhibitors
c. Exhibitors and Show Management/ Suppliers all working together to create something special… a “win-win” situation
If we're going to consistently exceed customers' expectations,
we must recognize
every aspect of our business
has an impact
on customer service, including email,
telephone and face-to-face.
Customer service is an organization's ability
to supply their customers' wants and needs.
“You will be judged by what you do,
not what you say.”
Excellent customer service is the
ability of an organization to
constantly and consistentlyexceed
Customer Service is providerdefined rather than customer defined, where customer satisfactionmust always be defined by the customer.
What was the best customer experience you ever experienced as a customer?
Name 3 traits, characteristics or examples
of what the person giving you the
outstanding service exhibited
Name 3 traits or examples of what the person giving you the service exhibited
1. Do you offer package space for small or new exhibitors?
STOP the nickel and diming!
2. Price your booths so that it’s cheaper to buy 2 together than 2 at the individual 10x10 price?
3. Before the show, how much time should elapse before you answer:
b. Exhibitor phone calls
c. Suppliers calls
4. Call all new exhibitors and go through not only the exhibitor manual but also all of the marketing opportunities they can take advantage of - paid and free.
5. Do you have a package for marketing ops? (for before, during and after the show)
Sample small exhibitor package:
Do not allow anyone within your organization to use the phrase: “My boss said”. EVER.
Use of the word(s) "No", "It’s not my job", "You'll have to" and the ever popular "We don't do that” should also be permanently eliminated from everyone’s vocabulary
Can anyone read the rules and regulations without a magnifying glass, legal dictionary, or law degree?
Do you have rules that have been part of your company since the 1900’s?
Revisit EVERY single rule and regulation you have and ask the following questions:
(The answer, ‘because we’ve always done it that way” is NOT acceptable)
b. What is the impact on the exhibition when this rule is enforced? Is it negligible?
c. What is the impact on the individual exhibitor and his/her neighbors when this rule is enforced?
d. Based upon the answers to these questions, is it vitally necessary for the good of the entire exhibition to keep this rule?
Payments: are you flexible with payment schedules or will your computer system NOT ALLOW for flexibility?
QuickBooks is under $200 these days….
3. On show site, where is your show management office located?
4. Do you use floor managers, and if so, do they mostly walk the floor or sit at their service desk?
5. What about VIP’s and how they are treated? What is the procedure if they are not “on the list”?
1. Provide intangibles. For example, say "Please" and "Thank You".
2.Send flowers to longtime exhibitors to say, “Thanks, we appreciate your business” for their 5th or 10th anniversaries with the show.
5. Have a real person answer the phone for the last month leading up to the show.
6. Ask customer service questions in your post-show surveys to exhibitors and attendees.
a) Make them open ended.
b) Do you look at survey responses and think, “This person is clueless and has no idea what they are complaining about?”
“Deep down, we believe that the problem put simply, is THEM. They, of course, believe WE are the problem.” Unknown
How many of you have been exhibitors in the last year? Been exhibitors without benefits?
Recap of what exhibitors are generally doing before the show:
Then before they get to show site:
Examples of the dumbest enforced rules at tradeshows (solicited from industry friends)
a. Charging EACs (Exhibitor Appointed Contractors) fees for setting up exhibitor booths.
b. Open toed shoes not allowed on show floor - during show hours.
c. No sharing of utilities by multiple booths - like an electrical drop or internet connection
1. Why does a T-1 or wireless line cost $1000?
d. While in Chicago, I was setting up my booth, which could be done by hand. I needed to open the taped up box of supplies and asked a union guy if I could use his box cutter to open my package (which had my box cutter inside) and the guy said, “No, sorry, union rules.” And walked away.
e. Not allowing banners or signs to be hung higher than10 feet from the ground
f. Not allowing signs or banners to be hung above 10x10 and 10x20 booths.
g. Not permitting gambling within the booth.
1. We love our Canadian colleagues!
h. Not adequately briefing/supervising temporary staff about the rules and regs.
Question 2: What is one thing you think show management or suppliers can do to improve upon customer service for exhibitors?
(Hint: Suppliers - this is your chance to get in those snarky comments you always wish you could tell your clients!)
a. Actually send a person to the booth when they have an issue with anything - have floor managers who act on problems!
b. Do a customer service call on each booth to ask how it is going and see what the issues are that exhibitors have encountered - then actually write them down and follow up after the show.
1. Incorporate them into a review onsite or post show for real improvement to process or procedures.
c. Return a f^@#ing phone call. Even if the answer is “no.” (Got this one 4 times)
d. Have all pre-orders - the tables, chairs, and fixtures delivered to booths promptly, so all booths are set-up prior to move-in time for the exhibitors.
e. Have the show office set-up as pre-ordered prior to exhibitors arriving for set-up.
f. Be proactive about calling exhibitors to contain their contracting costs.
NOTE: THIS IS NOT THE JOB OF THE G.C.
g.. Ask real OPEN ENDED questions in your surveys, then read and learn from them!
I.e.: what was your favorite thing about the show? Least favorite? Which supplier gave outstanding service? Which did not?
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill Gates
“Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will.” … Kate Zabriskie
“Be everywhere, do everything, and never fail to astonish the customer.” ..Macy's Motto
“If you don't take care of your customers, someone else will.” … Anon
“Customers may forget what you said but they'll never forget how you made them feel.” … Anon
Improving Exhibitor Retention through Great Customer Service
Stephanie Selesnick, CEM
Executive Vice President
International Trade Information, Inc.