The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of people to self-isolate, leaving the event industry—a heavily people-dependent space—having to adapt to a “new normal” that looks like a home office, video conference calls, and one too many cups of coffee. Unfortunately, it also entails pushing back or even cancelling our clients’ events for the foreseeable future.
Naturally, emotions are running high and clients are experiencing a range of feelings as they have to give up the day of their dreams. This is an especially difficult choice for couples who have invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into their perfect wedding day.
Regardless of your home situation, your clients are still expecting to hear from you as quickly (if not more) than before. That means your spouse working from home or your kids wreaking havoc in the living room are not an excuse to leave them hanging; we are all going through this together, but we are the experts in this case and we need to step up to the plate accordingly.
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Fortunately, technology has grown in leaps and bounds (and continues to do so), which allows us to manage nearly every aspect of our businesses from home. As you find yourself with a bit more free time on your hands, now is a good time to do a digital audit of your company to ensure that you have all of the right virtual tools in place to get through this crisis in one piece and keep your clients satisfied along the way. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
Employ virtual communication methods
We’re quick to rely on email and text messages for client communications, but those simply aren’t enough when we don’t have the luxury of scheduling in-person appointments. Instead, take the meetings online and invite your clients for digital consultations via Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, or another video chat platform. Do this before your first appointment and get the hang of the program; there’s nothing worse than hopping on a Zoom call to find that you can’t hear or see the other person. It doesn’t give a client (or prospect, if it’s an initial consultation) much confidence in your tech abilities, so be sure to work through the kinks first.
Implement solutions for collaboration
If you lead a team, you’ll need to get your ducks in a row to ensure that employees can continue their work from home. Consider creating a “digital watercooler” where your team can get together and talk about work projects, personal life, and even share memes and videos to lift the group’s spirits. Slack is a great tool for teams of all sizes, but even a simple Facebook group can suffice. You’ll also need to ensure everyone has access to files through cloud-sharing programs like Dropbox and Google Drive.
Simplify client account management
More than ever, today’s clientele expects event professionals to utilize technology to make their lives easier. Remember: You do this for a living, but our clients have other responsibilities outside of their event. Providing them with an easily accessible platform for digital contracts, invoicing, and communication is a quick way to win over Millennials and Gen Z clients, who are rapidly taking over the market. These generations grew up with technology and expect near-instant gratification, so you need to be prepared to adapt your existing processes to meet their needs.
As businesses are increasingly going digital, it’s important to ensure that your entire digital footprint represents your brand. This means your website, social media pages, and other places you have a presence all speak to your business’ core values. All it takes is one off-brand Instagram Story or blog post to dilute your brand, leaving your audience confused.
All of your marketing, communications, sales collateral, and people at every customer touchpoint must be fully aligned to bring your brand to life. Keep an eye on your Google Analytics numbers and social media posts to identify the strategies that are working and those that aren’t, then refine your strategies accordingly.