We’ve pointed out that relationship and customer service have really taken backward steps in these last years in the conference arena. But what is the underlying cause? I think it safe to say that over the years, this relationship evolution has been whittled away by the corporate drive to maximize return on investment. Promotional budgets have been trimmed. Technology has invaded the workplace. Software programs have engaged our attention to the detriment of caring about each other. Now when you check into a hotel, the front desk clerk types away for what seems to be an eternity, and never once looks you in the eye…and this is called customer service!
E-mail has also dramatically changed how we work. Now it’s more about the relationship we have with technology rather than each other. The majority of today’s communication is through e-mail and can also be accompanied by Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Instagram , Pinterest, and whatever else is gaining social ground. Phone calls and face-to-face meetings are almost a thing of the past. And all of this contributes to the weakening of relationships in the workplace and the erosion of good customer service. The increase of technology has produced a do-it-yourself society. We no longer speak with someone on the phone but rather technology records our prompts and weaves us through an unimaginable landscape that hopefully, and eventually (fingers crossed), successfully deals with our request.
Yet, in spite of this, conferences still exist because somewhere in the midst of all of this, people still want to interact with each other, to learn, network and share experiences. Planning and managing these events requires detailed work plans, creativity and the need to work with a team that will deliver according to your standards and expectations. Each team member needs to be engaged in the pursuit of excellence and to share in the journey that ultimately culminates in the delivery of the conference. This starts with the client and planning team, but intrinsically involves the site team – from sales, to convention services, to banquets, to housemen, to reservations, to the front desk, to housekeeping and audio visual support. It takes all of these important pieces to deliver a thorough and exhaustive collective that becomes the conference experience.
Although we all depend on technology as a partner to get us to the day the curtain rises, it’s still the people that make the difference. Enter the need for a return to relationships and service. The stronger the relationship that exists between the planner and the hotel, the AV company, and the off-site venues, the better the degree of service and delivery will be. And that’s what we are ALL looking for; planners, clients and those attending.