A Little Reversed Customer Service Please

A trip through any book shop will reveal that it’s easy to find a book about being an event planner, but this week I am left wondering if there is a book that explains corporate event planning from the perspective of those of us who work with the planners.  I know that some corporate event planners took on that role just because it needed to be filled and they seemed to be the most organized.  Those I work with often don’t come from an event planning background and it’s difficult to know what the experience will be like.

I am always pleasantly surprised when someone with no professional event planning background is really on the ball for the role they are stepping into.  Likewise, I can’t help but be floored when someone divulges that they have been an event planner for decades and yet seem to be completely lost when working with me.  This week has been a perfect example of both as some of my clients are inexperienced and prepared while others are veterans that are clueless.

Each new email that comes in makes me hold my breath as I never know what direction it is going to lead me in.  If our Convention Services Managers weren’t voicing their same concerns then I would think it was just me, but after hearing them mutter the same problems I’m starting to feel it is a reoccurring problem.  Therefore, I’m going to take a moment out of my week and address the corporate event planners that are out there.

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Although I answer the phone with a genuine smile in my voice and the patience to handle anything you might throw my way, do you understand that you aren’t the only client I have?  As much as I truly love listening to you talk in circles for over forty-five minutes because you haven’t actually put any thought into your specifics before our conference call, my work is piling up while your carousel of discussion goes around and around before you give me any practical information.  I hate to break it to you, but this drives me just as nuts as your Convention Services Manager who also is balancing several clients.

In any given day I can be working with programs that span from the month we are in now through a year from now and can have ten to fifteen different program’s planners reaching out to me hoping to get a response within seconds of them sending the email.  I know that for some of you the program you are working on is your only one.  Well, for those of us you are working with it is very different.  While I do believe you deserve my full attention, I would also appreciate your understanding that I have other client’s as well that also demand my attention just as much as you do and their event might actually be occurring before yours does.  I answer my emails two ways 1.) in the order they were received or 2.) in the order of importance due to the event date and therefore you might have to wait more than five minutes for my answer so I would greatly appreciate your patience.

I joked earlier this week to a colleague that I should write a book about things that corporate meeting planners do that drive the rest of us batty.  By yesterday he was suggesting that I seriously do it.  My question is, would any of those event planners even take the time to read it? If they don’t read my proposal until days before they arrive and hack it to death before starting from scratch then how will they find the time to read my book?

I’m coming to find that being a corporate event planner is much like being a successful manager.  The most efficient and capable of communicating effectively are appreciated by all who thoroughly enjoy working with them.  Those who are disorganized and lacking in the communication department are those we dread working for.  Today is another day in which I will go to my job open to working with anything that comes my way, so I hope that there are efficient and effective event planners in my future.

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