At a recent healthcare event, I got onto the elevator to hear a sponsor publically berating the event. Apparently, he would do things differently. His suggestions were vague and I wondered if he was just talking to hear the noise. I was a motivational speaker for this healthcare event. Imagine my horror when I glanced over my shoulder and realized the meeting planner was standing right behind me. He looked up and gave me a weak grin. Everyone on the elevator was tense and uncomfortable and nobody said a word about this man's griping.
Later, I was standing in line at lunch and once again the same loud voice was verbally berating the "dry overcooked" chicken. Hmm, I am sensing a trend. This man complains as a primary form of communication. What amazed me is he gets away with it. Nobody seemed to challenge him or defend the event. After all, he is a sponsor (or, more accurately, his company is) and he likely thinks this buys him the right to be a bully.
The meeting and events industry is, by far, one of the best for customer service. Meeting planners are exceptional at managing expectations and details with agendas, itineraries, signage, transportation schedules, all prepared and wrapped up well in advance of the event.
How often in other service scenarios do you have someone hand you a precise itinerary of events catered directly to you? Taking all the guess work out of it, all you have to do is decide what to wear and what sessions to attend.
Everything is planned and executed for you, from your morning coffee, to breakfast, lunch and dinner, not to mention a schedule filled with learning, inspiration and professional development.
When the whole event is done, meeting planners ask for nothing from you but a little bit of feedback so that they can raise the bar and plan a better event for you next time.
Event planners are even embracing meeting technology and growing their events around the social network needs of delegates.
While speaking for the healthcare event, the single audience member to contradict me was this same derelict. Seeing his previous pattern, I decided to put him on the spot and highlight his critical tirades. Tension built in the room which was perfect for release with some playful banter. This difficult man seemed to love being in the spotlight - no surprise there.
My feeling is that griping at the meeting planner's expense falls on deaf ears because we already know event planners are customer service superstars that rock our world!