Let’s see how do you fix mistakes. Making a mistake while managing an event has happened to all of us. Its up to you though to take responsibility and do your best to provide the winning solution.
Event management is a profession that combines creativity, charisma with great organizational and time management skills. However, even those who are extremely organized can make mistakes. If left unchecked, simple problems can multiply and make your clients unhappy. The most important step when dealing with difficult and inflexible clients is to admit your errors and fix mistakes as smoothly as possible. It is not only important to learn how to avoid problems, but also how to fix problems with tact when they occur. As Debbie Madden, CEO at Stride Consulting, put it ‘fixing a mistake well is extremely more important than never making a mistake’. ‘People will form their lasting impression of you based on how you handle the blunder’, argues Debbie Madden CEO at Stride Consulting. To fix mistakes well, there are different things that you can do as an event manager. Here are some tips that would help you to understand your clients better and transform them into loyal and happy customers.
1. Become a better listener and truly hear your client
Make sure that you listen actively and understand why your customers are upset. People need to let it out, yell, vent, scream, and shout, so let them do it and do not interrupt. Let them really say everything that’s on their mind, as it’s human nature to want to feel heard. Learn how to make peace with your customers. Active listening is about building understanding and trust. As psychologists say, listening is a critical skill in all aspects of our lives – from maintaining our personal relationships, to building friendships, getting jobs done, taking notes at conferences, nurturing relationships with your customers. To show you are listening, repeat every so often what you think the person said, summarize and ask questions. Let the person know what your thoughts are, share pertinent information and find solutions together.
2. Ask your clients how they want you to fix the mistake
One of the most challenging aspects of organizing events is dealing with highly demanding customers. No matter how demanding they are, you need to put your customers first in any situation. Listen to what they want from you to resolve the issue. If you encounter a customer who is already frustrated, ask him what you can do best to solve the situation. For instance, you can address this question. “If you could waive a magic wand, what resolution would you want, without regard for money, time or resources?”. By addressing this question, you will learn about your clients’ values and about the solutions they really want. You might not have the resources or money to solve the problem perfectly, but at least you will know what the person values and you will be able to shape your strategies accordingly.
3. Ask why
When customers let you know how the prefect solution looks like, ask them ‘the why’ question: “Why is this a valuable solution for you?”. Asking about the reasons goes deeply into the psychology of the client and gives you a critical window into their thinking on the matter. It helps to gain awareness around the impact that your mistakes can have on your customers. When you truly understand why they are upset and why they value a certain solution, this gives you the ammunition to prepare a better approach to fix mistakes. Thus, if the favored solution is something that you can do easily, then ‘just do it’. No need to complicate things.
4. Manage expectations
Most customer concerns can be dealt with simply by complying with the person’s reasonable requests. Set very clear expectations of what you can do to fix mistakes. If customers come with impossible requests, do not commit to what you cannot deliver and let the client know about limits. Always manage expectations and offer only feasible solutions. It is much better to under promise, than to fail to deliver what you have committed to. When uncertain about a specific approach, bring the issue up with your supervisor and specify in how many days you are able to deliver an answer. Whatever the case, be transparent.
5. Keep everyone in the loop
It’s crucial that you’re able to keep everyone in the loop from day one till the last day of your event. When the communication is good, the other team members can come up with creative solutions to solve your client’s issue. Keep contacts at hand to have them for last minute changes and problems.
6. Make yourself available
It is good to let clients know that they can talk to you anytime. If they have things to add, questions or concerns, tell them that you are there for them. No two events are ever alike, so you’ll have things to learn from any input you get.