Client retention and customer loyalty play an important role in any business, but even more so in the events industry since at least 30% of events are customer-facing. There is no better way to improve client relationships and enrich your client engagement than to host clients at an event and give them an opportunity to gain a connection with your company and the content offered, give feedback on your products, network/connect with other attendees and be brand ambassadors for your product.
Last year, Aventri launched a Customer Innovation Committee (CIC), comprised of key client representatives, as a forum to connect more closely and better understand our client’s key challenges, successes and goals. Later this month CIC members and Aventri’ executive team will be spending two days together in New York City to share ideas and discuss industry trends and opportunities. While this face-to-face meeting will allow clients to network with other clients, it is an opportunity for us to create an intimate setting for clients to understand our vision and how that maps back to their business objectives. The goal of the event is for clients to walk away feeling more connected to Aventri, our brand and our offerings and for Aventri to gain an even better understanding of what our clients’ future needs are. This experience is designed to significantly increase customer loyalty and keep clients engaged in our future.
Our approach to client retention
At Aventri, our account management team is responsible for client retention. Account managers take care of their designated clients, and measure the satisfaction and growth of these clients. If a problem should arise, the account manager is available to provide help in resolving the problem. Most importantly, our account managers develop intimate client relationships, learning their customer’s business. By building this relationship, the account manager can proactively make recommendations about how to better utilize our company and offerings to meet the needs of their specific clients.
Of course, an account manager must take a hands-on approach to client retention. They are responsible for driving clients to more actively engage with Aventri at our events, whether that is a CIC meeting, a user group meeting or participation in one of our monthly webinars or podcast. In some cases, the account manager might host his or her own event, inviting a few clients together to network and share experiences.
We highly recommend that all companies create an advisory board to gain valuable insight from key clients. Additionally, here are some tips on increasing client retention for client-facing events.
Set goals. While many meeting and event planners who host customer-facing events will tell you that customer loyalty is a key objective, most don’t set clear, measurable goals, leaving them with no way to track the impact of the event on customer loyalty. It’s not as simple as, “did my client come to my event and did they renew?” Event planners should ask themselves, “is this specifically a customer loyalty event?” If it is, then find ways using the right tools and analytics to gauge client satisfaction and measure the outcome of the event. If it’s not a customer loyalty event, then set clear goals around the impact of the event, and incorporate client retention as well.
For any client-facing event to be effective, it is essential for attendees to understand their role at the event. For example, if the event is focused on getting client feedback, the attendee should know ahead of time to be prepared to provide that feedback. Sending surveys in advance is a great way to gather information about what clients want and need. With this information in mind, event planners can personalize agendas that are targeted for the clients’ needs and tracks.
During the event
As the event planning industry grows and evolves, event tech becomes more crucial. Client facing events that are measuring client retention provide a great opportunity to event planners. Utilizing technology, such as mobile apps or wearable tags, is a great was to track attendee engagement in a measurable way. Event mobile apps not only monitor attendee engagement, but can customize the client experience, making it more personalized. If event planners evaluate client feedback from pre-event surveys, they can send custom push notifications on a mobile app based on the pre-required needs. Additionally, event mobile apps serve as a better event registration tool, allowing clients to personalize their agendas, choosing sessions that cater to their needs.
Event mobile apps can also integrate virtual event engagement through gamification exercises. Games and contests on a mobile app allow event planners to see who is the most active throughout the day. Outside of event-specific mobile apps, monitor attendees posting on social media via hashtags and pictures to know which engaged attendees are enjoying themselves and should be targeted for follow up.
As previously mentioned, event planners face a challenge in setting goals for client retention that are measurable, quantifiable goals. Event tech can help here, too. Using wearable badges with Bluetooth technology enables event planners to understand what sessions clients attend, who they connect with, and where they dwell. Not only does the meeting or event planner gain a better idea of what the attendee did at the event, but they can send the attendee a “Journey Report” to summarize their event experience and to add value to the event. Analyzing this data enriches the experience for both the client as well as for the event planner, because they learn exactly what the client wanted (or did not want) to get out of their experience. This data also informs the event planner on how they ought to customize a follow-up survey for more specific feedback. Rather than leaving customer loyalty and retention up to chance, event tech crunches numbers and leaves event planners with quantitative results expressing attendee engagement and the impact of their event.
Following up with clients and attendees post-event is an indispensable aspect of the event. After gathering the session tracking data and mobile app data, event planners can analyze the information to learn exactly what their clients want and need. While event engagement tracking can show the event planner where clients spent their time during the event, follow-up surveys can tell them how their clients felt about the sessions. Finding out whether or not the clients’ needs were met in relation to their pre-survey data yields invaluable feedback, and brings an event planner closer to the customer. On a broader scale, it strengthens the relationship between client and provider; the client feels that their voice matters, and the provider understands how to cater their product more closely to the needs of the client.