Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How To Host a Customer Appreciation Event: The 5W's

So, last week I touched on budget. This week I will cover the importance of the 5W's when it comes to hosting a customer appreciation event - the who, what, when, where, and why.

The Who:
There is no bigger mistake when it comes to hosting any type of event than getting the guest list wrong. Only invite guests who will have a positive impact on your gala. Don't feel obligated to invite every single customer - especially the disgruntled ones.  Also, do not forget to invite people from your own company who are high energy and will have a positive impact on the overall event.

Lastly, I strongly recommend inviting 'hot' prospects. This is a great way to help close a pending deal.  If the prospect sees a room full of happy customers, this will only help your cause. However, choose only one or two at the max, as your customers may catch on.

The What:
Time to get creative! What type of event would you like to host? Many make the mistake of hosting an event that THEY would enjoy as opposed to hosting an event their customers would enjoy.  Don't be afraid to reach out to some of your customers and ask them for suggestions. This will make them feel appreciated and give you another touch point with them.  

**Make sure you tune back in for week five's post on event ideas!**

The When:
Determine what time your event will take place. Will it be in the evening or during the work day? Keep in mind your guest list and their family commitments. We have seen great success with afternoon events - 4pm - 6pm is a popular time frame! This not only accommodates the people with families, but if there are those that would like to continue on through the night, they can! Also, we have found that Thursdays and Fridays work well for these types of events, as internal meetings start slowing down toward the end of the work week.

The Where:
Venue selection is extremely important in the overall success of your customer appreciation event. You want to make sure it is exciting, innovative and high class. Trust me, customers know when you produce products and services on the cheap and it is no different with appreciation events. Make sure your venue is close to your customers, and always take into consideration traffic patterns. If your event is not local, be sure the transportation you provide is nice, safe, and reliable.

The Why:
Throughout the planning process, you may lose sight of why you are doing this in the first place. Remember, you are having your customer appreciation event to thank anyone that has helped you grow your revenues.  Therefore, make sure you acknowledge each and every person in some way.  This can be done in the beginning of the event by introducing each person (if it's a small event), and if applicable saying a word or two about them.  Roasting your clients is great fun too - just be sure to choose your words wisely!

Don't let the stress of planning ruin this opportunity for you. If you have additional questions, contact Simply Events today. We would be happy to help you plan your next function!

Stay tuned for next week's post:  How To: Host a  Customer Appreciation Event - The Invitations & SWAG. 

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