Support channels for events: 5 essential ideas

Even before you’ve sold your first event ticket you will have people asking for help. That’s why you need a support strategy and the right support channels for your event.

There are dozens of things your customers need in terms of support. Some of them are obvious while others are surprising. What you can do to insure an wonderful experience is set up the right ways for your visitors to interact with you and be open to questions and suggestions.

I’ve put together a list of the most used support channels, the ones you should really focus on. Some of them can be really easy to set up. For example opening a Facebook account to receive requests directly on Facebook Messenger. Other examples include setting up an email address or publishing your company phone number.

Others require a little more work and a better understanding of your customer’s needs. Examples include setting up an event website, installing a live chat extension or setting up a helpdesk for real time support during your event.

Let’s start with the basics:

1. Answer event requests using a support email

While email may seem outdated it is still a very powerful tool if you can use it right. As smartphones have become ubiquitous the number of emails sent and read from mobile devices has grown quite a lot.

A recent research by Litmus showed that 56% of visitors are reading their email on mobile phones, 27% by webmail and only 17% are reading the emails on mobile desktops. This shows an increasing appetite for mobile mail consumption and a great opportunity to interact with your future visitors using an age-old technology that is still extremely powerful.

Email reading proportion

Visitors will ask for details on your upcoming event by email. Do keep in mind that their attention span is quite limited while reading email: just 8 seconds. Try to be brief and clear and keep in mind that your email will be opened on a mobile device so stick to readable fonts and not many images.

As your event will grow, you will need to start implementing ways for more of your team members to be able to answer your emails.  Customer messaging platforms like Zendesk or Intercom perform really well at this task.

2. Event planners: pick up the phone and answer

One of the best ways to interact with your customers, especially visitors that have never interacted with your event, is to open a phone support line.

Voice is still one of the best ways of interacting with your customers as it provides a way to forge a deep and strong bond, as well as answer questions.

As stated in a Microsoft customer experience report, phone is the most used support channel in the US, followed by email and live chat. Customers would rather interact through a phone support line (74%) than email (62%).

However – keep in mind that phone support should be a human touch point. More than a third (34%) of US consumers answered that the most frustrating part of trying to get help via telephone is “Automated Telephone System (IVR)/inability to reach a live person for customer support.”.

Which is better for event support - phone or email

3. Help event visitors via social media

As social media has become so widely used and most social networks now have some form of messaging and/or interaction between visitors and brands, Social Media couldn’t miss from this list.

As events are inherently social, support on social media channels can answer questions for future visitors but also convert others to buyers.

Here are a few stats you should consider when figuring out your support strategy:

  • 71% of customers that receive positive customer support on social media channels are likely to recommend your brand to their peers. Source: NM Incite.
  • Over four out of five millennials (81%) would most likely engage a brand via social media for customer support. This means an increased appetite for social media support for younger generations, as only 63% of Gen X’ers and only 44% of Boomers would use social media support. Source: Sprout Social.
  • Take care of complaints on social media: Over 72 % of people who complain on Twitter about a brand expect answers within one hour. Over 70% of complaints go unanswered. Source: Aspect.

To put it simply – social media support is increasingly important for brands and especially for events because of their social nature and reliance on word of mouth.

 

How to improve your social media customer care?

So – how can you improve your social media customer care channel?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Encourage your visitors to connect and interact with your brand on social media.
  • Follow brand mentions on social media and answer whenever possible, especially when complaints are expressed. Here are a few apps that can help you do this: Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Agora Pulse and Social mention
  • Try to keep conversations authentic and friendly. Basically – try to make your event’s voice sound human.
  • Keep it simple and allow visitors to explore more on your owned media (blog, website, knowledge base).

When trying to find the right social media channel to focus your customer care efforts, here are the most popular channels for event managers, as stated by Event Manager Blog:

Best social media platforms for event customer support

 

4. Live chat support – interact with event visitors and answer their questions in real time

Your event website is a great place to allow visitors to interact with you and ask questions. Rather than email, phone support or social media outlets, some visitors may want to interact with you in real time.

Live chat apps work on your website, give you insights on your customer’s web journey and allow you to offer contextual support.

They’re easy to set up (usually signing up online and copying a script line on your website) and can prove to be very powerful. At Oveit we rely heavily on live chat support to answer event planners’ questions in real time as they are using our event management app.

Most live chat support apps allow you to set up idle messages, “usually answers in” estimates based on historic data and allow multiple users to answer visitors questions.

They can prove very helpful when event goers check the agenda, try to find the right tickets and registration options and need to get in touch with you. As Intercom’s research shows, just exchanging a few lines on live chat does wonders for sales:

Live chat increase in conversion rate

5. Help your customers where they need it most: during the event, in the real world.

Notice a pattern on our previous support channels? They all focus on digital ways to engage and help your event visitors prior to the event. However the place where most people need help and where the real experience is built is during the live event.

hello sign

Photo by Pablo Gentile on Unsplash

Here are a few things to consider in order to make your customers feel welcome:

  1. Set up a help desk: If you have a registration section or a ticket scanning area, make sure to set up a help desk for your visitors near it. Your visitors might need directions or maybe their registration details (tickets, badges) are not working. Give them a way to reach out and sort out their problems. Make sure the desk is staffed with well qualified professionals that are able to answer complicated questions and have the ability to act on solving problems.
  2. Set up easy to understand signage. Where is the main stage? How about the cafeteria? Where are the toilets? “I can’t see the trash cans”. Where’s the bar? Sounds familiar? Sometimes the support channel should be built into your event design. Good signage can go a long way in directing your visitors, especially when there are many of them. Visual, intuitive customers support is the best support channel you can have on live events.
  3. Does your event have a mobile app? Use it to answer visitor’s questions. Many conferences and festivals are now using event mobile apps. While the apps usage is mostly focused on live content, agenda information, visitor generated content and networking, it can also be a great way to answer your visitors’ questions and offer customer support.

These are my suggestions. Do you have any special support trick you’ve found is quite useful? Share it below:

Oveit is one of the first to join new Stripe partner program

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Most people today don’t know that only three percent of GDP is online. That’s why we’re excited to join the Stripe Partner Program to increase internet commerce and help companies start, run, and scale their businesses.

By joining the program, our mutual customers will now benefit from the combination of Oveit’s embeddable ticketing and event registration technology with Stripe’s seamless payments platform.

Oveit aims to provide event planners and venue managers with the best tools to help them sell tickets, register visitors and setup cashless payments. Our app provides an easy to use cloud solution that can be embedded in virtually any website, thus allowing a better customer experience and improved conversion rates.

We’ve built our tools around some of the pain points we noticed for event ticketing. Oveit makes it easy to set up and start selling tickets instantly. Payments are transferred directly into the event planners account through our Stripe integration, thus improving cash flow.

Oveit can be easily implemented by just copying and pasting a short code on the event’s website. Integration with Stripe is done by simply clicking a button. We support all of Stripe’s currencies so users all across the world can use Oveit to sell in their local currency.

From concerts to theme parks, from festivals to business conferences, we provide the most relevant tools our users will need to create the experiences they have envisioned, without complicated software interfaces or integrations.

Our vision is to help event planners and venue managers connect with their visitors before and after tickets are purchased. That is why we have set up a streamlined ticketing, registration and payment process but also the tools to interact with visitors after they have arrived. By using Oveit event managers can set up activation campaigns within the venue, lead collections for sponsors and partners as well as cashless payments systems using NFC tags.

We believe that removing barriers to online commerce helps more new businesses get started, levels the playing field, and increases economic output and trade around the world. Together with Stripe, our mission is to bring more commerce online and increase the GDP of the internet.

Read more about the Stripe Partner Program here.

 

 

 

The chip that helps you create better experiences

Although the title of the article refers to a small piece of plastic,  it really focuses on something much more important: the way in which technology can dramatically improve the experience you offer through events. It’s not the first time when we talk about how #eventtech allows us to create better experiences. It’s also not the first time when we talk about NFC technology and how it can be used within events. But today I want to retake together the customer journey and see how “a small piece of plastic” can make a BIG difference. For everyone involved: event planners, security team, sponsors, vendors, and most important…attendees.

Festival goer tapping NFC wristband to NFC reader

Festival-goers attend your events for the memories that will remain with them forever. They want to have fun and your ultimate goal is to make sure they will. But their fun means many sleepless nights for you and your team. It means speed, accuracy, well-crafted messages, information, and sweat.

Access control

Here is the journey attendees will take at your festival and here is how this small piece of plastic will lead their way.       

Let’s start with check-in, the first on-site interaction between you the attendee. Queueing is one of the biggest problem festival goers (and planners) face and that small piece of plastic can dramatically change things. How? If you pair the festival NFC wristband to the ticket and attendees receive them before they actually arrive on site (via mail or pre-registration parties) the check-in process will become much faster. And what a better way to welcome your attendees than a queueless view? It can also be used to access different areas on site will not just allow attendees to do this, but it will also capture their information.

Use cashless payments to create better experiences

Cashless payments are a real game-changer for events. Bar queues are, by far, the most annoying part of any big (or small) festival or concert. I will always remember that time when I missed half of Robbie Williams performance because I wanted to buy some beer water. Cashless payments dramatically reduce the waiting time for your attendees. A report conducted by American Express states that cashless payments are 63% faster than cash and 53% faster the standard card payments (but imagine having an internet problem…that would not be nice!). But speed is not the only benefit that cashless payments bring to the table. Cashless payments will also increase your revenue (reports state that incomes can go up to almost 30%) while decreasing fraud and loses. Here the main benefits of using a cashless payment solution:

  • Visitors tend to spend 15-30% more (Ex: By creating an entertainment micro-economy #coachella2017 managed to register a gross income of over $114 million)
  • Speeds up purchases & reduces queues
  • Minimize cash handling
  • Captures all sales
  • Control and transparency

Schedule a live demo to find out more about our cashless payment solution.

Attendee engagement

With the right tools, attendees are more likely to interact with your sponsors. And to make this process as easy as possible we have developed our integrated NFC technology so that it can be used to allow your partners to collect information from your attendees. With their explicit consent, of course.

Any attendee can express interest by simply tapping the wristband, allowing the exhibitor to collect data and follow up instantly. The flawless of this process encourages attendees to interact with the brands that they are interested in. They don’t need to spell their names or type in their email address, two of the most common reasons for which people tend to avoid sponsor interactions within festivals or concerts.

Picture of tablet and NFC reader and people in the background

There are many benefits of using NFC technology, but this article was just about 3 of them. Another important aspect is that having all that data in one place, you can use it to create better experiences within your future events.

Event management world: small improvements to increase your revenue

                                                   –without increasing the ticket price-

As companies from every industry, event management companies to need to be profitable in order to survive. In my experience, money is not the main reason for which somebody starts a business in this industry, but even event planners have bills and salaries to pay. And unfortunately smiles, the best currency exchange in the industry, aren’t able to do it. Today’s article is based on a very simple principle (yet many times ignored) on how small changes can increase your revenue. The key is to look at the journey attendees have from the moment they first come into contact with your event until the moment your event is over (and even farther)pexels-photo-990818

From  prospects to buyers

When you first start marketing your event lots of people will see your message. But only a small percentage of them will convert into buyers. Assuming that 200.000 people hear your message and 2000 buy tickets to your event, this means you have a 1% conversion rate.

There are ways you can increase the conversion rate, and we have written multiple articles on this subject. You can write better marketing copy, use influential marketing or use the right social media tools for marketing. And later in this article, you will see why any small improvement can dramatically improve the overall financial result.

So, if your average ticket is 500 USD and you have 2000 paying attendees, your ticket revenue will be 1.000.000 USD. You have invested a considerable amount of money to convince people to come to your event, but let’s exaggerate and think that all of your attendees are the result of your marketing campaigns. A great experience will bring people back to your next event(s). And considering the fact that it’s 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new client than to retain an existing one you should definitely make the most out of this opportunity.

good to know:

In average, event profs invest in marketing between 1 and 8 percent of what they expect the event to return. We can use a 4,5 average and consider that 45.000 USD brought you 2000 attendees (22,5 USD/attendee). A job done right gives you the opportunity to sell tickets to next year’s event for 4 USD to at least 15% of your current attendees. Of course, figures are not quite exact, but I am sure that you see where I am going.

On-site payments

But the revenue an attendee brings doesn’t limit to the ticket he pays for. If you are hosting a 2-day festival and attendees spend on average 100 USD per day, food and beverages will bring you 400.000 USD. But what if I tell you that Oveit can help you increase on-site revenues? Reports show that people tend to spend up to 30% more at events where a cashless payment system is in place. Using the right event management tool will definitely help you increase the revenue.

print screen with Oveit's digital wallet report

p.s. We know sponsorship is a crucial piece of the puzzle. And to help event planners offer a great experience for sponsors too, we have developed our NFC built-in technology so that it can be used to engage attendees and collect data. Read more here.

Increase your revenue: the practical example.

Scenario A:

So, the figures that we have until now are :

200.000 (prospects) X 1% (conversion rate) = 2000 (ticket buyers)

2000 (ticket buyers) X 500 USD(ticket price)= 1000000 USD (income)

+

2000 (attendees) X 200 USD (spent on-site)= 400.000 USD

total income: 1.400.000.

Assuming that you have a 20% profit rate you will make  280.000 USD profit

Scenario B:

Now, starting from this figures, let’s assume that you use our blog and technology and make just a few improvements. Maybe you refine your marketing strategy (better copy, better targeting etc.) and use an online ticketing system that allows you to sell tickets directly on your website. And buyers to use their mobile phones to place the order: your conversion rate goes from 1% to 1.5%.

200.000 (prospects) X 1.5% (conversion rate)= 3000 (ticket buyers)

3000 (ticket buyers) X 500 USD= 1.500.000

+

On-site, using Oveit’s cashless payments system, people spend 10% more, with an average of 220 USD.

3000 (attendees) X 220 USD= 660.000

Total income: 2.160.000

with the same 20% profit rate you will have 432.000 USD profit.

As you can see, just some small improvements can increase your revenue without increasing your ticket price. Having the right partners can be the difference between failure and success, so make sure that you choose a smart tool as your event management system. Read here another great example of how small changes can bring huge improvements.

 

Ready to welcome your future attendees?

In the last few years, we have read (and written) countless articles on Millennials and how this generation is changing the event industry and consumer habits. Now I would like to include the Z Generation in this article on how things are going to change; although Z generation members are still too young to fundamentally change the event management industry they will start to be a very important part in the next 24 months.

young lady with headphones holding a mobile phone

But first, let’s remember who exactly can be included in these 2 categories:

Millennials: name used for those born between 1980 and mid 90’s

Generation Z: name used for those born starting with mid 90’s (there are many discussions regarding the ending birth years for this generation).

Let’s see some figures on these two generations:

At present time, 1/3 of the global consumption power is owned by millennials (and this percentage is going to grow in the next few years)

It’s estimated that by the year 2020 Generation Z will represent over 40% in the USA consumption market

2 years from now, Millennials and Generation Z will represent almost 60% of the worldwide employees

The first common feature is their lean toward technology. But while millennials grew up while the rise of technology, Gen Z members were born into an already technologized world. For them, a world without search engines, social media, and smartphones is simply unacceptable. This first common feature draws our attention toward 2 extremely important aspects:

  1. Online marketing, using both search engines (and search engine optimization) and social media platforms. If you need any help please read one of the multiple articles that we have written about how to use keywords, email marketing, Instagram and Snapchat to promote your events.

P.s. if you think social media marketing works great for millennials you should know that Gen Z members are 4X more likely to convert on it. Great news or what?!?

  1. The movement toward smart event management tools, tools that allow your future attendees to buy online tickets using their smartphones. Why? Because a recent study shows that gen Z would rather give up TV for a day (80%) or event money and friends (28%) and keep their smartphones in return. So a software that allows them to buy tickets using smartphones is more than welcome.

Another important aspect is represented by the importance Gen Z members give to the environment and social responsibility. According to fusemarketing.com, “85% of Gen Z believes companies have an obligation to help solve social problems.” This also includes the environment and a paperless ticketing system is one way you can show that your event management company cares about the environment.

Short attention span for both Millennials and Generation Z members

If in the past we were shocked by the short attention span that millennials had, now things are even more complicated. The average attention span for gen Z is 8 seconds (4 seconds shorter than the average one of millennials), forcing us to become a lot better when trying to get their attention. This is one of the most important aspects why our partners use NFC technology for on-site interactions. If attendees see something that captures their interest they just need to tap the wristband to let the exhibitor/sponsor know that they would love to find out more. And an NFC-ready event management software (like Oveit) does the rest.

The future of event payments

Forget about cash or physical tokens, the future is 100% digital. Modern times allow us to take event payments to the next level and allow attendees to pay with just a tap of their wristband. No cash, no queueing, no worries. Attendees should be able to top up credit using a designated top-up point (or even the event app) and payments will be instantly processed, allowing your guests to concentrate on the things that really matter at events (networking and having fun).

As you we can see around us, by each passing day technology becomes more and more important. For us, but especially for those that never lived in a tech-free world, the future cannot exist without smartphones, apps, gadgets, and wearables. And neither the event industry.