For those that have read my posts before, you know I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to providing technology to the event industry.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned has an over-riding impact on a client’s perception of your company, it’s the speed and quality of the service you provide.
Let’s forget the technology for a moment, and forget the way it’s delivered or how cool it does or doesn’t look—if a software provider can’t deliver the kind of immediate service a client needs in the midst of a critical event process, they are painting a black mark of disappointment against their name. If this happens on a regular basis, they’re adding more nails to their own coffin because as soon as a client learns of another supplier offering better service, they will be gone. That’s the reality of expectations in today’s competitive landscape and a reality all event-tech companies would do well to embrace.
For many years, there hasn’t exactly been a lot of options to choose from in the venue software industry. As a result, historically incumbent providers have not had the competition required to keep them focused on high-quality, timely customer service. After years of the low-quality norm, I’ve noticed an air of resignation among many venue professionals regarding this—a kind of “Oh well, it is what it is” acceptance of sub-standard service.
Just recently I had a venue manager tell me how he had asked one of his department managers for a report, which they needed to contact their provider for. This, in and of itself, is a process they hadn’t questioned. Self-generated reports made possible by an alternative software was unheard of. Six weeks later he asked if the report was finished and was given the response, “No, I haven’t heard back from our provider yet.” That should be unacceptable.
One thing I constantly tell our team is, “First and foremost, we are a service company. We just happen to make great software. Our clients’ are in the service industry and so are we.”
When I first started at EventBooking, I went to each department to get a gauge of how they operated. When I met with the Client Success team (support team) I asked how many open tickets we had, to which the response was, “About 30.” I must have had a strange look on my face as I processed this because the next thing I heard was, “Is that bad?” I did a double-take. Here was a company with over 700 client venues at the time, and there was a total of 30 tickets that needed attention from around the globe. How could this be? In previous companies I had been involved with, the standard number would have been in the hundreds.
I came to learn the main reason for this low number of outstanding tickets isn’t because the clients don’t report issues, or because the software is without bugs. Rather, it’s because the tight-knit group of people who work on the Client Success team truly care about the immediacy of our clients’ needs. Issues are dealt with as quick as humanly possible, and that means no pre-recorded “phone tree” when they call.
There is a total sense of ownership and pride in the service we offer.
On the extremely rare occasion a client reports a software bug, our Quality Assurance department takes it as a personal loss—as a failure to do their job properly. I have never experienced that level of ownership in any other company I have worked at! Another example of this was just before Christmas last year. One member of the Client Success team approached me and said, “Guess how many open tickets we have right now?” When I asked how many she beamed with satisfaction and said, “Zero!” By this time the client base had increased to over 900 venues around the world.
Right now our open ticket figure hovers between the 5-10 mark, but rather than anyone patting themselves on the back, they use it as motivation to reach “zero.”
When I say there is a new world order of service expectations, this is what I’m talking about.
If you use event technology, don’t resign yourself to accept mediocrity. Work with companies that put service above all else, and raise the industry standard in doing so. Service-first companies DO exist and they are changing the shape of the industry with your support.
Steve Mackenzie is President at EventBooking, an innovative, cloud-based venue management solution that has over 900 clients around the globe. Based on regular polling of their client-base, EventBooking retains a 99% customer satisfaction level.