The economic impact an event like the Republican National Convention has on a host city is tremendous. But if the event is done extremely well, the benefits can go on for years.
Here are ten customer service tips to the people hosting the 2008 RNC to help the event be spectacular in the eyes of the delegates, media and others who make the event what it is.
Top Ten Customer Service Tips for the 2008 Republican National Convention
1. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Remember, this is a political convention. People are coming to discuss one of the three things you’re not supposed to talk about in public. Oh, and by the way, many of these people will disagree with others. So, the potential for hot tempers, emotional flareups and verbal conflicts will be extremely high.
To help them have the best experience possible, remember this. Look for signs of potential conflict and act quickly to avoid or prevent problems. Don’t get caught up in political debates while you’re serving coffee or giving directions. And, get extra rest before you go to work during the RNC so you’re mentally and physically prepared help a lot of stressed out people without losing your cool.
2. Go the Extra Mile for Everyone, Every Time
Some RNC guests will need a lot of hand-holding. They’ll be away from the resources and conveniences of their homes and offices yet they’ll still have work to do. Help them be successful and effective by going the extra mile. Offer to do more than you normally would. Show them how important they are to you, your business and your community.
3. Be Fast and Friendly
Big crowded events often sap people’s patience. Add the heat and humidity and pressure of getting things done on the road and it’s even worse. Move as quickly as you can as you help people. Be as efficient as you can and show them you respect their time. Here is where teamwork will be critical to providing great service.
4. Have Extra Patience and Tolerance
Even though some guests might not show you any patience, make sure you start each day with plenty of your own. Do whatever you have to do to be extra patient with everyone. Some RNC guests might be hard to understand because of language or cultural differences. Give them a little extra attention. Be tolerant of their differences and requests even though they might be beyond the norm for you or your company.
5. Be Proactive
RNC guests will be busy, tired and out of their element. They’ll have plenty of needs and many questions on how to get things done. Try to anticipate what their needs might be. Think about what you’d find helpful if you were in their situation. Then plan how you can help your guests handle these needs.
6. Provide Food or Refreshments
Minnesota is hot and humid in early September which can wear people down. And when you travel you often have less access to food and beverages. So, do a big favor for your RNC guests and have healthy snacks, beverages and other refreshments available, especially if you run a hotel, motel or meeting facility.
7. Offer Space for Work and Rest
Depending on the type of business you have, try to offer quiet space for RNC guests to email, write, make calls or just relax. Remember, this is a working event for most of them. They’ll have deadlines and commitments. We all know how hard it is to be productive on the road. By offering some quiet work space you’ll make their time at the RNC much more enjoyable.
8. Have Information Packets Available
One of the most challenging aspects of traveling is knowing how to get around in your host community. Ease the burden on your RNC guests by offering information packets for them. Your city, chamber or convention and visitors bureau might already have a packet. Or create your own. Include shops, restaurants, transportation, services, emergency information, coffee shops etc. Anything you can do to help your guests find their way around will help make their stay easier and memorable.
9. Brainstorm with Your Staff
Before the convention starts, meet with your employees for a brainstorming session. Talk about how you can help your RNC guests have a successful and memorable experience here. Think of how you can help them be productive in their work and comfortable while they’re here. Make a list of things your company could do. Then have your staff find creative ways to make the list a reality.
10. Debrief and Discuss Daily with Your Team
Once the RNC has begun, you can still find ways to provide amazing customer service to your RNC customers and guests. Every day before things get crazy, meet with your staff and debrief what happened the day before. Did they have any unusual requests? Were there any difficult situations? Review each day and learn from it. Engage your employees to find creative solutions to your customers special needs while they’re here for the convention.