July 15, 2020

Customer Experience Post COVID: How Meeting Industry Suppliers are Making it Work

As Meetings Industry suppliers are slowly beginning to re-open their doors across the United States and around the globe, we are seeing a variety of new health and safety protocols and innovative strategies that create a safe environment for attendees and guests, while still providing an exceptional customer service experience.

We spoke with some of The American Meetings Network, Prime Supplier members about what they are doing in the face of the current challenges.

Limo Corp Worldwide

Image Courtesy of Limo Corp Worldwide

Wasif Bhatti, President of Limo Corp Worldwide, is working on keeping the same feel of a luxury service, but adding in some critical additional safety guidelines. Those include educating the chauffeurs on the new protocols, so they understand what to look for in themselves as well as passengers. They also communicate to passengers about the safety standards they have in place, educating guests who are likely traveling to the area about the local mandates and recommendations.

  • Staff or passengers who are showing signs of illness, or who have travelled to a “hot spot” region are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days before reporting to work or hiring their services.
  • Chauffeurs are wearing masks and gloves and take temperature checks before and after every trip.
  • Vehicles are sanitized between rides and hand sanitizer and wipes are provided for both guests and drivers.
  • Electrostatic sprayers are used to disinfect the vehicles twice per day, allowing deeper sanitation even in hard to reach areas.

Social distancing is also in place, including in the office. Vehicles have a limited seat capacity, and passengers are no longer allowed to ride beside the chauffeurs.

“We are still opening and closing doors for clients, but are asking a lot more questions to gauge customer boundaries. For example, rather than simply grabbing the luggage, they ask if the client prefers to carry it themselves, and then maintains distance,” said Bhatti.

Finally, all water, mints, magazines and extras have been removed. If a guest would like water, the drivers are offering bottled water before the ride begins and offers it protected by a disinfectant wipe.

Image Courtesy of Limo Corp Worldwide

 

Thread LLC., Atlanta, GA

Thread LLC, a promotional products provider, is also reflecting on how events will look post-COVID. Co-founder Michael Lumpkin said everything now is about taking greater precautions.

Providing corporate gifts have taken a back burner putting safety first, for good reason. However, as live events come back, and virtual event popularity grows, event organizers will want to get creative to bring back the huge value that corporate gifting provides.

Live events pre-COVID often had a check-in table to have guests register and be handed a name badge and swag bags. This was a standard that allowed for sponsors to connect with participants, while also inviting them into the experience of the event.

Without live events, hosts will now need to get creative. Virtual event sponsorship is very different, yet the importance still exists. Rather than spending money on travel, companies will need to explain to shareholders how and why they are reinvesting this budget into creating a great participant experience.

Image Courtesy of Thread Logo

Suppliers have already started offering free or reduced shipping, a trend likely to continue. It is expected that organizers will be mailing swag bag type gifts directly to participants to encourage engagement with sponsors and the event itself.

Fundraising events are anticipated to shift from event-based to product- or goods-based. Charities and businesses are already buying promotional products, so it is likely that fundraising will look more like a bake sale than, for example, a walk-a-thon.

Getting participants to feel the value and comradery of the virtual event will also take some creativity. Expect to see registration information and corporate gifts sent via mail prior to the event. This can allow for more customization, such as having participants register with shirt sizes or candy preferences. Asking participants to all wear their provided logo wear on virtual event conferencing may be the way to really pull them into the event.

“Once live and hybrid (live/virtual) events are fully back into play, personalized kits with everything the participant needs, such as stationery and pens, or no- touch tools, will be sent ahead of time or be packaged and delivered in a way that follows safety standards. Safety signage, dividers and hand sanitizer stations seem to be one way that sponsors will be contributing to events,” said Lumpkin.

While the event industry quickly adapts to some fairly large changes, and further adjustments are likely to continue for the ongoing future, organizers and providers are demonstrating both creativity a willingness to go above and beyond across all functions of their services in order to create not only the legendary customer service experiences that your attendees expect – but most importantly, a safe environment for your meetings and events to take place.

AMI’s PPME for Meetings Program

To support the events industry, AMI has created a program to provide high quality products shipped directly to your live meetings or events. These products are offered at an affordable price by working with our partner suppliers, such as LimoCorp, Thread Logo and others. AMI continues to innovate by offering this additional support to our Meeting Champions to make it safe to attend live meetings once again through our new PPME for Meetings Program.