Today, the live events industry is booming with technological advancements. The digital age has produced an era with new innovations continually emerging, transforming live events into a range of new interactive and immersive experiences for the audience. Technology gives us immediate access to news and information, and we can interact with each other nearly instantaneously through various communication tools. While this influx of technology allows us to work more efficiently and deliver faster results, it has also changed expectations. People want everything bigger, quicker and cheaper, and this expectation can come at the cost of providing a great customer experience.
Let’s face the facts. Within society on a basic level, accepting a lack of personal service is becoming more of a norm. If you’re calling a customer service at the XYZ company with a question, do you really expect to speak with someone that can help, if you can get a hold of a real person at all? We shop online; we post and tweet our thoughts; and we even go as far as using a selfie stick instead of asking another person to take a photo. Human interaction is becoming lost in many everyday experiences, and a side effect is a general lack of appreciation for customer service.
However, the human element is a critical component in the process of producing a live event. While greater access to technology allows us to create a range of amazing sensory experiences for the audience, it does not drive a successful show. It’s the team of people that make it happen throughout each phase, and service matters. There is a direct correlation between the level of customer service offered by the providers, whether the production team, staging company, or venue staff, and their ability to deliver shows of the highest caliber for the end client.
Too often, customer service becomes second fiddle to price in the current industry climate. As I mentioned earlier, people want fast plus cheap results, and that formula rarely equals excellent service. Customer service may come at a financial cost, but the value is immeasurable. To ensure a successful event, the staging provider needs to be responsive, organized, prepared for any unforeseen challenges, and able to deliver on client expectations. Quality service, technical expertise, and response time are critical, and a staging provider with a customer support infrastructure in place can make all the difference for a successful show. Ultimately, staging providers that can manage onsite issues and changes with a high level of customer service build client loyalty.
Anyone can say they offer great service. How do you really know if you’re going to get a quality customer experience without having worked with the provider in the past? It can be difficult to recognize a quality service provider in this age where budgets are a major driving force in decision-making. Let me propose a few suggestions on what to look for or ask during the selection process for your next event:
- Repeat Clients: Ask about experience, particularly how long the service provider has been supporting the client and event. A client that received a poor service experience with the provider is not likely to return for years to come.
- Level of Interest: A company that shows more concern and care during the bidding process can translate to providing a higher level of service as a business. Did the firm ask detailed questions to ensure they understand your needs? The level of communication and response during the selection process can be a good indicator that the staging provider is vested in the outcome.
- Proposal Preparation: A service provider that slaps together a proposal without any care or addressing all your questions/requirements can be a red flag. A firm that takes the time to put together an organized and custom response to your event requirements is likely to bring that same level of care to your overall service needs. The difference can be seen in the details.
- Resolve: A tenacious provider that is determined to win your business over the long term can be a good sign. Someone who has invested a lot of time developing a relationship with you and is eager to earn your trust will hopefully go out of their way to ensure you receive the best customer experience possible, if given the opportunity. The customer experience is so important in the production of live events, and we need to keep a high standard of service in our industry. The best experience you can have is one where the team has a can-do attitude to deliver a show of the highest caliber for the end client as well as the audience. Great service equals great shows. Poor service and accepting low standards should never be tolerated, and results in losing customers. Recognizing and appreciating the true value of service and its impact on the show will produce client loyalty and the greatest dividends for all parties involved in the production process. Never settle for less than a great customer experience.
Les Goldberg founded LMG, LLC, a national provider of video, audio, lighting and LED support in 1984 with a small loan from a relative. He also acts as CEO of Entertainment Technology Partners, LLC, the parent company of a collection of exceptional brands within the live event and entertainment technology services industry.