Event Horror Stories: I Know What You Planned Last Summer!

This week, the focus of our terrible tale is Stacey the event planner, who flirted with danger by perilously ignoring a critical step during her post-event activities. When the phone rings, her planning life begins to unravel amidst a torrent of taunts and complaints that leave her shaken…until the twist ending.   

Don't wait for a creepy call from Jenny, exorcise those demons and once again get in the good graces of your attendees. Post-event surveys are a way to stay one step ahead of the terrifying beast that is negative feedback!

  1. Acknowledge: Bad food, poor service? No one wants to hear these things, but they are the first step to understanding what people really think about your event. Don’t just sit around and wait for the negativity to start affecting your revenue. Ask thought-provoking questions that will give you a sense of who your audience is, what exactly they want, and how you can manage their expectations.
  2. Contain: When you find out a few of the not-so-good things people think, address them right away so they don’t spread. If someone posts something publicly, respond directly and ask them to contact you privately to resolve the issue. This shows that you are not just putting on a show, you want to make things right. Attendee satisfaction and attendee mindshare are directly correlated, and increasing mindshare within a community that isn’t satisfied will not yield the monetary impact one might expect.
  3. Take Charge: Use negativity to refine your current processes. It’s a way to understand your audience on a deeper level, and it gives you leverage for managing expectations the next time around. This also ensures that you get the most out of your customer acquisition cost, which is a metric that determines how much effort, time and expense went into procuring customers.
  4. Release the Demons: Everyone makes mistakes, so this may be the most important tactic for handling bad feedback. While it is important to make the necessary changes to pacify your audience, you can’t pay for it forever. Do what you can to rectify any grievances that affect your ROI and use feedback as a reference to mitigate similar mistakes in the future. Metrics that you can use to gauge how well you have done at moving forward and regaining the trust of your consumers are your Net Promoter Score, retention rate, and likelihood to recommend.

If you’re anything like me, your worst fear is incredibly shrinking registration numbers due to a few negative experiences – many of which are beyond your control. Making efforts to tackle attendee concerns often results in frictionless experiences for everyone. When the power of feedback compels you, no longer will you feel the pull of those haunting experiences.





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