How to Ensure the Best Customer Experiences at Corporate Events

By Torie Mantzouranis

Getting ready for a big corporate event can be a whirlwind for anyone, but there are special challenges for those on Customer Success teams. You’re trying to get your customers to attend the event and participate meaningfully, all while maintaining your actual day job of ensuring their success with your product or service. It can be stressful, but rewarding, because if you plan well, you’ll have your customers walking away from the event inspired and with a stronger relationship with you, their superstar Customer Success partner.

So how do you ensure that customers have an awesome time at your event? At Quip, we’ve got some experience with that from being part of a Dreamforce-scale conference (okay, actual Dreamforce). Whether you are prepping for your company’s first large event or are a seasoned pro on the conference circuit, these five tips will help you shine with both your customers and your team.

1. Start outreach early

Having your customers attend and participate may seem like a simple enough idea, but on their side it can be quite complicated. Getting approvals, signing up for the event, and making plans is a process that requires time. Get the momentum going — and the buzz — as soon as you can. You may have to wait for details to come together, but there’s nothing wrong with planting the seed early. As a matter of fact, it’s a must.

Try these practical outreach approaches:

  • Put together an email template. This will help you reach out to your customers efficiently. Sharing it with your team will score you points.
  • Personalize your outreach efforts. You may not be able to do this with everyone, but consider making the emails to your top 20% of customers more personalized. For example, think of event topics, speakers, or discussion points that are relevant to something you know is a business priority of theirs. These can be great selling points to get them excited about your event.
  • Mention the event informally. In addition to a more formal email, start weaving mentions of the event into check-in calls and casual conversation. Conversations can be more effective than emails as the excitement in your voice can be very infectious.

2. Don’t forget the little things

Details are where you can really wow your customers, and when forgotten, where you can really disappoint. Here are a few of the small yet hugely important things you’ll want to do before the event.

  • Make a planning document. Prepping for big events can get complicated quickly. You don’t want to forget something important. Create a project planning document with a calendar, to-do checklists, and a place you can coordinate with your team members. Having that single source of truth can really help. Plus, we all love the satisfaction of checking things off an actual list. Save yourself some time by copying our template.

  • Make reservations early. Planning to take your customers out for a meal while they’re in town? That takes some foresight and planning. Don’t end up having to trek all over town or eating at a sub-par restaurant because you didn’t make a reservation in time. Even if things are tentative, lock down a tasty place near the event venue well in advance to ensure that you aren’t scrambling the week before. Similarly, if you are grabbing coffee with customers or planning other more casual meetings, pre-planning can be helpful. Will you need a place to sit? Is this a really popular place that will likely be packed during your meeting time? Try to think through logistics as thoroughly as you can.

  • Remind your customers to register. This event might be your top priority, but it likely isn’t theirs. Make sure you send invites and deadline reminders, particularly if there are sessions or parties you really want your customers to attend. You don’t want your VIP guests to miss out.

3. Do your homework

Once your customers are registered and ready to go, it’s time to prep for your meetings. As a Customer Success professional, you probably know a lot about most or all of your customers. However, conference days with multiple meetings can feel like the pressure of one Quarterly Business Review after another. In order to feel prepared and ensure you are having the most impactful conversations, get up to speed on the account metrics for everyone that is attending. Things to think about are health scores, adoption and usage metrics, plans from your last QBR, and any areas in which they are doing well, along with some areas of improvement you may be working on with them.

4. Meet and greet at the event

Meetings with your customers are key to building and maintaining relationships. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your meetings are a success.

  • Invite your leadership team to your meetings. Leadership attending your meetings, or even saying hello to your customers, is a great way to make your customers feel like special and valued members of your tribe. Leadership may not have time to meet every customer, but for customers with renewals coming up or where an executive conversation could be particularly impactful for upsell, these encounters are among the most important things to plan for. A key here is to line these up as early as possible, before your exec’s calendars are packed.

  • Take notes. You may feel like you can remember everything in the moment but you will thank yourself later on this one. Before the event make a Quip notes document for each customer using the naming convention {Customer Name | You Event Title Notes} (which would look like Acme, Inc | Dreamforce Notes) so it is easily searchable. Also remember to favorite these documents by clicking the ⭐ in the top right of the document. This way, they are easily accessible during the event so you can jump between laptop and mobile to reference notes on the go.

  • Attend customer sessions. Scheduling can be tricky at big events, but prioritize attending any speaking engagements your customer is part of. Afterward, mentioning key takeaways and giving kudos is a must. It’s a way to honor all the hard work they put in to prepare.

  • Celebrate your champions. It can also be fun to host a special happy hour or breakfast for your Champions and MVPs. If you don’t have a community program to select MVPs from, think of the users who are constantly providing product feedback, or expert users with cool use cases that you can highlight in conversation.

5. Follow up after the event

You’ve done it! The event was a huge success and your customers had an impactful experience. Now it’s time for a vacation right? Well, almost. First, complete a few key post-event actions.

  • Say thank you. We all appreciate the power of a thank you. Whether it’s a call, an email or a handwritten card, take a few moments to thank your customers for their time and effort. In addition, make sure you don’t drop the ball on any promised follow-up items. You have your notes in Quip, so reference those and follow up promptly on any commitments.

  • Send content. A less immediate follow-up to keep on your radar is sending out content that your marketing team will be hard at work on after the event. Remember, conferences and events can be really overwhelming and information overload is a common complaint. You know your customers well and as you see the great content your team produces, make sure to send out what you think would be most impactful for your customers, with a quick note referencing why you thought of them.

It takes a lot of planning, hard work, and a dash of good luck to pull off a great company event. Have fun, and remember that while little hiccups will happen, you have everything you need to look like a pro to your customers.

Click here for our helpful event planning template, which you can copy for your own use.