Using Events to Connect with Customers

“True loyalty doesn’t come because of an app. It doesn’t come because you have a punch card where after ten punches you get a free sandwich. It is about the relationship. Take away those “perks” and would the customer still be loyal?” – Shep Hyken

Any business would know the importance and criticality of maintaining a connection with customers at all time. However, as technology advances, companies have probably begun to forget the significance of connecting with customers on a personal and face-to-face level. Most crucial aspects of business seem automated and both customers and companies seem to believe that will not affect the personal association. The fact is that for a business to remain connected in the true sense with its customers, face-to-face interactions are indispensable. Using events and other promotional activities are highly effective methods to connect with customers directly and in a more personalized manner. Using events is a great way for businesses connect with, engage their customers and build loyalty towards their brand. Events enable companies to reach out to potential customers and generating interest in their brand, thereby increasing their chances of building their customer base and business.

When people meet and greet each other there is a completely different synergy. Companies that understand the importance of this flow of positivity would be more adept at using events to connect with customers – existing and potential. In using events sponsored by one’s own company, it is easier to grab the attention of the customers since the focus would remain on the company’s products and brand. A company would not be fighting off, for once, competition to get customers to listen – the event would be all about the company being able to show case its ability to serve customers and help their business to succeed. Of course, in using events it is imperative that a company is mindful that the events must be about the customers – they should be able to see value in attending them.

Before going ahead with using events to connect with customers, a company must ascertain which customers they would want at the events in order to build a connection. Without knowledge of the target audience and the kind of event, it would be impossible to achieve success from such activities. When using events, companies must ensure that the events speak eloquently about their brand and customers have ample reasons to attend. Since events are direct interactions, they must help to create and cement connections with customers in a way that promotes loyalty and brand advocacy. Ensuring that your company is using events to create benefit for its customers each time. Customizing these events to suit the target audience would ensure that they want to attend each subsequent event organized by your company. The fact is that organizing and using events is a highly tedious and time-consuming task and without proper planning all the effort would be a waste. When using events ensure they are creative, engaging and interesting – like any other form of communication with customers. It is vital to understand also that a one-off event would probably not suffice – it would take time, attention, resources and repeated events to gain and retain customers for a long time.

When using events for one’s business, the pre-event hype and buzz is vital to their success. Companies must use every channel of communication available in order to generate curiosity and interest in the event. It is about capturing the attention of the audience well before the actual event, such that the audience is more inclined to attend and make the event a success. Connecting with customers even before the event, will make the job of connecting with them during and post the event and the amount of effort for subsequent events would be significantly reduced. When using events in an attempt to connect with customers, companies must remember that the time, date and venue for the event must be suited to the target audience. Putting in such thought while organizing an event would draw larger crowds and display your company’s commitment toward the satisfaction of its customers.

What kinds of events does your company use / organize to interface with its customers? How successful or not, have they been and what are the reasons? As part of customer service, we have mentioned that it would behove a company to celebrate important milestones and achievements of their own company and those of their customers. Corporate dinners work very well for the reasons mentioned, despite being formal, using events such as these bring companies, and targeted customer groups together. Many new alliances and business deals come about during these events. Business dinners are events usually reserved for a company’s important and high-value customers and connecting with them would help to increase a company’s profits and retain them as customers.

Another effective way of using events is for networking with and building a new base of customers. Inviting people from other companies, thought leaders, market experts and other such highly knowledgeable people would help a company to learn new things and discover potential markets in which to do business. Such events are great way to display your company’s commitment to serve every customer well and add value to their life and business. An important aspect of customer service is showing your customers that you appreciate them and their business and that you would want them as your customers for a long time. Such events, even if small, let your most loyal and good customers know that you truly appreciate them – they would remember you if someone else needs the products of your company.

Using events to position your company, its employees and leaders as experts in the chosen field of business is also extremely effective. Invite potential, existing and former customers to such an event where your company can let them know about its plans, upgrades in products and technology and what measures your company has put in place to incorporate their feedback. Given that the focus is on your company, it keeps the customers attention solely on what you can offer, without the ‘market noise’. The more such events you can organize, your company would be able to occupy centre-stage with its customers. Using events, such as company seminars allows committed and top line employees in your company to speak about their experiences and ‘life’ in the company. Energized and committed staff can do wonders for the image and reputation of a company.

We spoke earlier about the importance of corporate social responsibility for a company. Using events that highlight your company’s philanthropy towards social and environmental causes, makes your company stand out from others. These are a highly effective way to show case your business in a positive light – many customers place a lot of importance on a company’s social responsibility mind-set and endeavours. These events help a company interact with customers supporting similar causes and charities and are great to connect with them, paving the way for more business and contacts.

There are host of other events like product launches, trade shows, meeting with the press and others that can help a company establish its presence, ‘educate’ customer bases and garner positive attention for itself. Hosting and using events would help your company to connect with customers on a personal level and more often than your competitors. Personal interactions would build trust and get customers to like your company and customers that trust a company prefer doing business with it for a long time. Using events is vital to increase brand awareness and cement relationships with customers for a healthy and successful business.

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