Learn the best practices to design and host customer-centric events.
It´s impossible to prosper as a business neglecting customer satisfaction. Whether it is through word of mouth or customer review sites, the word will spread among your target audience that you do not provide a good customer experience.
When it comes to events, customer-centricity is vital. If your event is only centered around your product, about your proposition, about the problems you are facing, it is unlikely you will appeal to anyone except your own employees.
On the contrary, putting customers at the center of all your event planning will result in customer experiences that engage, touch on an emotional level, and leave good memories for your target customers.
Subsequently, these experiences will build loyal customers, attract new ones and lead to higher sales and revenue.
In that light, we outline here some of the best practices you can take to design and host customer-centric events.
The first basic step, at the early stages of your event design, is putting yourself in the customer´s perspective. What would the customer want to experience in an event? What would the customer want to take away from an event?
Most likely, your customer base is not uniform but brings together diverse industries, locations, job roles, and business issues. So, delve into each one of these characteristics, defining your audience in detail and building a clear demographic.
If you are uncertain about their objectives, don´t hesitate in asking your customer base directly. Pre-event surveys are a great way to get to know attendees and personalize your event to their interests.
For instance, you could ask: what is your primary interest in attending this event:
- Networking connections
- Actionable tips and useful materials
- Practical case studies
In brief, focus on the customer´s goal, issue, or need. Do not use your event as a blatant sales pitch but as an opportunity to engage with your customer and bring value.
Customer-centric events planning
In terms of the event content, consider opting for educational content instead of promotional content. If you talk about your product, frame the conversation within a case study or in the context of the customer’s current problems.
Indeed, customer success stories can bolster your credibility among your target audience. That way, you can start your relationship on the right foot, based on trust and not in a purely transactional manner.
An interesting approach to tailor content is keeping the event audience small (20-30 attendees) and focussing on having an intimate, one-to-one connection with your customer. That approach enables organizers to truly engage in a meaningful conversation and address business problems that your customers are experiencing, not hypothetical issues that they might encounter.
Nonetheless, if your event is attracting hundreds or thousands of attendees, you should still make an effort to personalize your event to the customer´s specific needs. To do so, segment your customers by industry, or job role and build customer personas.
Then, set up content tracks, activities, or networking groups targeted specifically at these customer groups.
Length & Format
Alongside tailoring content to your attendees’ profiles and interests, think about the length and format of your event.
Are your attendees likely to take 5 hours out of their working day to attend your virtual event? Probably not. And if they do, they will not be engaged by the end of it. So, keep your event short (2 hours max) and fast-paced, leaving attendees wanting more.
In terms of format, always favor live over pre-recorded content at your event. While it may leave your event more exposed to technical difficulties, live content will enable your speakers to drive the conversation according to customer´s questions and comments.
Keep in mind being inclusive in your event planning so that you don´t alienate any customers. For instance, consider cultural or religious celebrations among your customer base that could prevent them from attending your event.
In that line, make sure to incorporate diversity and accessibility at the core of your event planning process. Here are some of the best tips to host accessible and inclusive events.
As mentioned above, empowering attendees starts early in the planning process. This mindset should undoubtedly continue during the live and post-event stages.
Live polling can help you connect with customers on a personal level, making them feel involved in the event. It demonstrates that you value their opinions and that they are not merely viewers but contributors to the event debate.
Similarly, post-event surveys signal that you care about the customer´s experience and that you are open to honest feedback.
Select a customer-centric platform
As an essential part of virtual event planning, choosing a customer-centric platform should be front and center in your considerations.
Therefore, explore how different platforms deal with customers and end-users. For instance, does the platform have a responsive customer success team? How is their customer onboarding process? How do they fit customer and attendee feedback into the product?
Indeed, contracting customer-centric software, with a support team to assist you throughout the event journey will definitely elevate your event. Look out for a customer success team that is genuinely interested in your needs, business goals, and the audience you would like to connect with.
Commonly, virtual & hybrid event platforms offer a wide array of features. So, it can prove difficult to identify the relevant functionalities and those that are superfluous to your needs.
A customer-centric platform will guide you through the features that best fit your customer´s needs. And, the event platform´s product team will have a defined process to collect customer requests and factor them into their development.
In other words, don´t go for a platform only based on your gut feeling about features. Check out customer reviews on websites such as G2 and Capterra.
In summary, customer-centricity in events is vital to success. Keep your customers in mind in your event design considerations, and reach out to them directly. From the content you offer, to the speakers and platform you select, put the customer at the heart of your event planning process.
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