How to do more...take customer support to the next level

As I sat recently in a hotel not far from the Excel in London, I realised we were missing a trick. As a team, we are proud of the lengths we go to ensure our customers are happy. We make sure we meet their deadlines, we are creative enough to make a difference, and we provide a return on their investment. But sometimes things happen to make you realise we can always do more.

I was in London for two days to support a client at a large exhibition, a fantastic show full of weird and wonderful businesses in quite a niche sector. Having overseen the design and build of the stand for the client, sourced the branded giveaways, designed and printed the brochures, and purchased the soft furnishings, it dawned on me that there was still more we could have done. It's not to say that the client wasn't delighted - he was 'over the moon'. The stand looked great, they had received loads of compliments about it, there was a constant stream of potential customers to talk to, and there was a fantastic buzz about the event. However, after speaking to the client, I realised we could have done more to make the event perfect.

The first thing I realised was that we had provided the promotional items and the brochures to them directly for a smaller event earlier in the year and left them to hold the stock, which meant the client had to make his way to the stand during the set-up day to deliver them. Not ideal when you drive a beautiful Porsche with a small boot and are busier than Santa Claus on December 25th. He wasn't unhappy doing this, but it was something that he didn't have to do.

The second element was also time-related. He confessed to leaving it too late to book the hotel for himself and the team, so he was a little disappointed with the hotel he'd ended up with. It was OK, but it wasn't as comfortable as the yacht hotel that floats just outside the Excel that he'd booked for previous years despite being the same price.

So in my hotel room, with the rare opportunity away from the office to stop and think, I set about extending our offer. So for clients attending events, we now offer to manage the complete process. We source and book their hotels and car parking and manage stand materials on their behalf, so they are set up and displayed when they arrive. So all they have to do is turn up and turn on the magic!

So my advice to you is - book a hotel, stop for a moment, listen to the client and think about what else you can do to make their lives easier.

Nigel H.
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