Got a phone call from a potential event client? Received a booking inquiry from your website’s lead widget? Had a past event client reach back out about another party? That’s great! But once that contract is signed and submitted, then the real work begins — managing and executing of the event. Having consistent communication and a clear strategy for how to best communicate with your client will help make the whole process go smoothly. Below, we offer some tried-and-true tips for ensuring your client communication strikes the perfect balance.
It Depends on the Client
Perhaps unsurprisingly, your communication style will likely be different depending on your client. Case in point: a bride-to-be, the planner for a corporate pharmacy dinner, and the host of a family get-together will expect varying levels and frequencies of communication. It helps to outline what follow-ups will be required beforehand, at the beginning of the correspondence, so you can both be on the same page when it comes to expectations. You can check in with them to remind them of the timeline, what details will be needed when, and how often you plan to reach back out to touch base. For example: You could say you’ll follow up a month after the contract is signed, again to get final details a month prior to the event, and then two weeks prior to reconfirm.
Get as Much Info as You Can Early On
In the same vein as the above, the more information you can get about the event from the outset, the easier your job will be. Figure out what communication method they prefer — phone, email, text, etc. — then stick to that going forward for an optimal response and quick turnaround. (Luckily, Gather makes it easy to finalize event details within our cloud-based platform vs. going back and forth in email.) Some planners or clients may be traveling often, so email might be better than constantly leaving voicemails they won’t check. Have detailed questions prepared from the beginning so you can give your client plenty of time to get responses to you. It’s also helpful to prioritize when questions need to be answered as quickly as possible, with semi-flexible deadlines for the rest (you want to offer enough wiggle room so they feel comfortable and taken care of, but not enough that things get pushed to the last minute or fall through the cracks).
Take Detailed Notes
It’s crucial that everyone on your staff has a least a base-level knowledge of your venue’s events program, to be prepared in case someone calls or comes in asking about events. This way, the person can get the info they’re looking for (whether they’re a current or potential client), even if you’re in a meeting, offsite or out of the office at the time they inquire. The easiest way to keep everyone on the same page: Take detailed notes that are kept in Gather under each ongoing event. This way, anyone with access to the platform can see the latest details, updates, and information regarding an event. Remember: There’s no such thing as too much detail when it comes to event planning.
It’s OK to Stick to Business Hours
As an owner or manager, it can be tricky to navigate operating hours for your events team. You want to book as many events as possible and respond as quickly as you can, but you also want to be respectful of your team members’ time and not work them into the ground (or out the door for good). Experienced event planners (like event planner-turned-Gather employee Meg Feldhauser) say it’s best to have your event team stick to office hours when it comes to logistics, follow ups and client communications. Once you get an inquiry, it’s generally a best practice for someone to follow up within 12 hours at most, sometime during the 9-to-5 window. Let other staff members know this policy, so if someone calls after hours, the hostess or whoever intercepts the phone call can let them know when to expect a follow-up. You can even set up a template in Gather that will automatically respond with a template message when you’re out of office, saying you’ll get back to them soon.
Communicate Honestly About What You Can Offer
In the spirit of communication, it’s imperative to be honest about what your space can and can’t achieve. While a 100-plus attendee event may sound like an appealing revenue boost, if you don’t have the resources or square footage to accommodate, you risk the guest having a poor experience and negative word-of-mouth spreading about your venue. Be up front about your space’s limits, offerings, and capabilities before the deal is signed so you can effectively deliver on the client’s expectations of what their event in your space will look like. Then, once your client has the event experience they envisioned and that you both discussed, you get the positive feedback and another successful event in the books — win-win!
Now that you know how to effectively communicate with your event client, why not request a live tour to see if Gather’s event management software is right for you?