A Meeting Planner’s Trick to Customer Satisfaction

Seasoned traveler Nick Topitzes of PC/Nametag compares Madison to the cities he visits - and reports back on his findings.

I grew up in retail. Later, I spent a lot of time calling on people and so I spent a lot of time also sitting in office reception areas. Over those years, I have noticed people can get impatient.

We all get forced to wait. During this holiday shopping season, you see frustrated people standing in line to check out, or return things, or just waiting for a sales person to answer some questions. Maybe you have been in a meeting that you can’t get out of and kept a guest waiting in reception much longer than is reasonable.

I always think of my experience in meeting planning. Think about the attendee who gets up at 4 a.m. to catch a 6 a.m. flight. Sits next to a crying baby on the plane. Perhaps misses the connection. Arrives at the convention city late, and waits a long, long time for luggage. Goes out to catch a cab and finds the line is long because it is raining. Finally arrives at the hotel around 2 p.m. and, after standing in another long line, discovers that the room won’t be ready until 4 p.m.. Still hasn’t eaten. Goes to register for the meeting and finds still another long line. At this point, the attendee is regretting ever signing up to attend this meeting.

This is where the little trick comes in. It’s very simple and very inexpensive: a bowl of candy. Just a bowl of candy. Cheap candy — nothing expensive — suckers or Hershey kisses. Tootsie rolls. Anything with some sugar.

Think about the fact that people who are shopping or traveling may have had a frustrating experience, and usually are hungry. Their sugar levels are really low. A little bit of candy can raise the person’s sugar level, restore their energy, and (hopefully) get them back to an even keel.

That candy also kind of brings you back to childhood, I think. Getting that little treat always brings a smile. Have you ever tried to be angry with a piece of candy in your mouth?

Now I know this idea isn’t good for diets or teeth, but anger isn’t good for the heart either. So give it a try. Spend a few bucks and put some free candy out on your return or checkout counter. Or reception counter. See if you can put a smile on your customers’ faces — and give you and your staff one at the same time.

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