The event industry has changed, but the basics of building client relationships during times of change remain as critical as ever. These ABCs of building relationships with your clients will foster trust and appreciation through difficult times.
In this upside-down world we find ourselves in, it is essential to recognize that old business practices are exactly that – old. Adapting to the online world is something that small businesses must do to maintain their edge and grow customer relationships. Building rapport is unique to each customer, but this rapport can be the difference between customers looking elsewhere or staying loyal during difficult times.
So let’s discuss the ABCs of creating common connections. But before we do, let’s discuss what’s changed and still changing.
The Digitization of The Event Industry
Both event professionals and their clients have had to adapt to the digitization of the event industry. Whether using client portals when planning weddings instead of face-to-face talks or taking a conference online, the event industry has gone digital.
This means that both event pros and their customers learn new software and new ways of communicating ideas. But taking event planning online offers some fantastic benefits too. Client portals, auto-updating event timelines, and easy file-sharing have made the event planning process asynchronous. That means better paper trails and fewer weekend text messages. And yet, the learning curve persists, and not every client is comfortable with a new way of working.
Say Goodbye to Pen And Paper
As the future of work changes, the event industry will move from pen and paper to productivity software. That means less note-taking at meetings and more online collaboration on event planning software like ThymeBase or general-purpose software like Google Drive.
What does this mean for your clients? Some will adjust, others will embrace the changing event industry. Still, others will be resistant to changing what worked in the past.
It used to be that the uncertainty around an event was the weather. And this was easily solved with a tent. Post-Covid, however, uncertainty is compounded by infection rates, coronavirus variants, and the government’s actions in response. Suddenly a well-planned event becomes a cauldron of confusion as permitted guest counts fluctuate and postponements compete for upcoming dates. And everyone struggles with uncertainty.
Building Relationships With Your Clients During Times Of Change
So what does this all mean to you, your clients, and how you interact with them? Building client relationships during times of change doesn’t require a damage-control specialist. It just needs you and your fellow event pros to be adaptable, honest, and communicative.
Having a flexible business model has many positive aspects. In the time of lockdown and decreased face-to-face contact with consumers, being able to adapt could separate good businesses from great ones.
Showing clients just how flexible your event business can be and adjusting to whatever is thrown at you builds a sense of trust. And trust builds customer relationships. No matter what may come in the future, your clients know you’ll handle things and still manage to value them.
And if one thing the event industry does better than anyone else, it’s manage difficult situations with aplomb, calm, and flexibility.
Honesty in every aspect of life is well received. However, it can be considered invaluable when building long-term relationships.
The truth is, no one knows what’s going on in the world, and no one knows the best tactics to tackle a pandemic. Nor life post-pandemic. With altering standards and event precautions changing daily, consumers would appreciate any guidance they can receive from the experts in the business. This is where honesty becomes crucial.
Offer clear, non-convoluted breakdowns of what you, as an event pro, are thinking and doing. Share with consumers that life may be challenging and confusing, but your genuine appreciation for your clients has not faltered. The crazier times are, the more you should be open and honest with your clients.
The core intention of the business is still there and boils down to the basic actions of helping their clients and making their life easy. Everyone is in the same boat of uncertainty, and acknowledging this with your customers adds a sense of humanity. And that’s something which is all too rare in business relationships.
Organizations and their clients are the same in that they both need communication and information. Clients must be reminded that they are valued. Without them, your business would cease to exist.
Reach out to them. Tell clients what is happening in your business and in the event industry as a whole. Propose new techniques, new ideas, and new ways of operating to them and encourage their feedback. Address customers by name, recognize their individuality, and the unique relationship they have with your business.
Clients want to know that even though regular in-person events may be postponed, they are still appreciated by your company and that their opinions matter. Any form of control they can possess will be well received as more falls out of their reign. Therefore, bringing them into your business decisions allows their needs to influence your business actions. So over-communicate when building client relationships during times of change.
The ABCs Matter
Even though the technological revolution is upon us and new techniques are approaching thick and fast, companies must return to the basics of building client relationships. And find a way to take full advantage of the ABCs to position themselves in a changing, digitizing event industry.