5 Reasons You're Losing Special Event Clients

Nature versus nurture. Like versus follow. Learn why your special event relationships are missing the mark, and find out where to make some changes.
5 Reasons You're Losing Special Event Clients
Once you establish a relationship, work on making it grow. Remind your customers how much you appreciate their business.

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How do you build a successful relationship with special event customers? In today’s tech-savvy world, you might start with a simple “Like” on a social media page, says Scott Thone, the president and co-owner of Portable Sanitation Inc. (dba Arkansas Portable Toilets) in North Little Rock, Arkansas, who uses Facebook and Twitter to connect with new accounts.

If you’re a proactive problem-solver you generally will be the hero.

1. Like, follow, comment, tag

Thone compares social media to the old-school method of making sales calls. “It tends to be a fairly nonthreatening way of cold calling folks,” he says, noting that social media helps promote his business and his customers. 

“Say we’re doing an event this weekend for X-Party Rental, we might tag their website for visitors to check them out for anything they need for their next party,” he says. 

Such cross-promotion can be mutually beneficial and alerts other event coordinators that you’re a trusted provider. 

2. Have an SEO-friendly website

An informative and attractive website is another way to pique customer interest. List special events on your home page and include search engine-friendly words and titles such as “festivals,” “sports,” “weddings” and “picnics” among your content. 

A link to events serviced — including photos and video — can be another way to persuade the casual customer and website visitor to choose you. You might also include an events link to available inventory. And never underestimate the power of positive feedback through customer reviews and testimonials. Should you receive a negative comment, don’t leave it hanging without a prompt and apologetic response. 

3. Keep old-school in the mix

Such old-school icebreakers as flyers and direct mailers still have their place, along with sharp-looking and graphically appealing service vehicles and professionally dressed technicians. Word-of-mouth travels faster than the speed of light. 

As simple as it sounds — answer the phone — in a friendly, energized manner. Voicemail is handy but it shouldn’t be your only means of contact. And be sure to return calls promptly, even during busy summer months. 

4. Nurture each relationship

Once you establish a relationship, work on making it grow. Remind your customers how much you appreciate their business. 

“We try to go over and above what we have to do to make them happy,” Thone says. “I don’t know that we have any secrets to keeping those relationships fresh other than constant contact throughout the year — just following up with them.

“And again, social media tends to be a great way to do that,” he says. “Even if you don’t contact them directly, if you’ve “friended” them on Facebook or they follow you on Twitter, then they’re constantly being reminded about your business.” 

5. Be a restroom super hero

Thone keeps notes and maps on larger events that can be referenced from year to year and provides customers with feedback. Suggestions might include moving lesser-used units to observed higher traffic areas or redirecting service routes. 

“If it’s a new event, we’re pretty involved because a lot of the folks don’t really know what they need,” he says. “We’re getting estimated attendance numbers and hours and giving them our thoughts. You need to be flexible because they don’t have a lot of data to work with.” 

Thone’s Golden Rule for building successful customer relationships is to do exactly what you say you will do, if not more. 

“You want to shorten their to-do list,” he says. “If you’re a proactive problem-solver you generally will be the hero.”


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