by Peter King (pictured above)
These days convention centers need to put a major effort into staying ahead of the competition by understanding who their customers are and what’s important to them. At the MCEC, that has meant a specific initiative focusing on the customer journey that we undertook two years ago–a game changer for us, and a project that has generated great interest amongst other venues around the world. In fact, it is a piece of work that provides insights that impact all customer-facing businesses.
MCEC had built a thorough three year plan encompassing all parts of our business, resulting in a detailed series of goals, objectives and delivery strategies designed to help MCEC remain ahead of its competition. This is nothing different from what most businesses do these days. However, in our view, one critical element was missing–MCEC’s customers. We were historically operationally focused and prescriptive in the way we interacted with our stakeholders.
This needed to change. We felt we needed to become completely customer centric, with the needs and expectations of our customers driving every decision we made. This proved to be the most important decision we have made and has transformed our entire business-–our relationships, our understanding and our structure, including even our event delivery model.
The “customer journey” project had a very clear scope and sequence, which was:
- To accurately define our key customers.
- To outline their needs, desires and influences with respect to events–-effectively humanizing them and providing consistency across the business.
- Mapping how they currently make decisions and interact with MCEC, and
- Using those maps to identify clear opportunities to improve the customer experience, be that through service, communications, content, food and beverage etc.
Ultimately, we wanted to deconstruct our customers and their needs with precision, so we could determine the best way of satisfying their requirements. Faced with these four challenges, we took the following steps:
- First, we crafted a set of seven customer personas to create a common language and customer objectives within the business;
- Second, we mapped the various journeys taken by our customers.in their interactions with us;
- Third, we identified ideas for improving their respective customer experiences.
Each of these steps included a series of detailed actions. As a result of our findings, we reorganized our structure to ensure we provided assistance and support to customers at critical times in their particular journey with us. Our team has received constant positive feedback since this change, and we know that they now feel more empowered to provide immediate outcomes that satisfy our customers. Across the business, our post event survey results are at the highest levels we have ever seen.
Of course, the “customer journey” project is an ongoing one. We recently announced the launch of our customer portal, myMCEC, which is a direct result of our customer journey work and aims to ensure customers continue to find it easy to do business with MCEC. We are also soon to commence stage two of our customer journey understanding, as we all know our customer and visitor expectations are evolving very quickly. We have to reset our teams, continue to challenge them and improve our delivery performance every year.
Standing still is not an option-–and by basing our evolving structure and practices on very specific customer perspectives we are ensuring that changes will work to their greatest advantage!
Peter King, a member of the AIPC Board of Directors, is chief executive at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
AIPC, the International Association of Convention Centres, represents a global network of more than 185 leading centres in 60 countries with the active involvement of more than 900 management-level professionals worldwide. It is committed to encouraging and recognizing excellence in convention center management, based on the diverse experience and expertise of its international representation, and maintains a variety of educational, research, networking and standards programs to achieve this. AIPC also celebrates and promotes the essential role of the international meetings industry in supporting economic, academic and professional development and enhancing global relations amongst highly diverse business and cultural interests. For more info, visit www.aipc.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared in the July/August issue of Exhibit City News, p. 56. For more pictures and original layout, visit http://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecnflipbook_julyaugust2018_web?e=16962537/62860459