How personalized post-event feedback can solidify your client relationship

Post-event feedbackIn this installment of our series aimed at helping you understand your own personality style and that of your clients, we are focused on wrapping things up with an eye to future opportunities. Every event is also a sales opportunity for the next event. Understanding the critical feedback elements for a particular client can ensure you hit just the right buttons to solidify the ongoing relationship and generate important positive referral energy.

For background information you may want to read the first article  in the series, containing the foundational building blocks of the personality styles perspective. The article contains a link to a quick online assessment that will generate your own personal profile report. (You can also click here to go directly to the personality assessment.) This report will allow you to get maximum value out of this series of articles, as it will provide details about your own style and help you determine the personality style of your clients. The report categorizes the four personalities as: gold – structure-oriented, orange – action-oriented, blue- people-oriented and green – logic-oriented.

You likely have a very good understanding of your client’s likes and dislikes after working together to deliver an event. Now it’s time to solidify in their mind that you know just how to meet their needs for future events. Providing a client with a critique of the completed event can be very powerful. You should review both the good and the bad. While I’m not suggesting you disclose every detail that didn’t quite work as planned (a key part of being a successful event planner is to expertly manage those inevitable issues and make them invisible to the client), I do advise making an honest evaluation of what worked and what didn’t work. This builds trust, which is more important than looking flawless. And if the event was flawless, then you can both revel in the perfection after an honest evaluation.

The first task is to discuss with the client their requirements for feedback; do they want participants to provide feedback during or after the event? Do they want to collect feedback themselves, or will you facilitate the data collection? Planning and formalizing your intention to critique the event can ensure you think through how you will capture important data points. This can ensure you receive an objective evaluation of the event, in addition to your own subjective evaluation.

Here is a quick overview to help categorize your clients, along with some insights on how to best handle the review and evaluation process with each of the personality styles:

Gold – structure-oriented style: From planning through to execution, your client has provided information in a clear structured format, likely in writing most of the time. Your client likes to discuss things in a linear, orderly fashion and is meticulous at reviewing every detail provided.

  • This type of personality style loves to evaluate and critique from a historical perspective. One of their most important criteria for selecting an event partner is a proven track record. More so than any other personality style, the structure-oriented personality can be hard to please. But once you have proven yourself, they will reward you with unparalleled loyalty.
  • Pre-planning for participant feedback will be critical to have an objective measurement of their satisfaction, both qualitative and quantitative.
  • Impressing this personality type means establishing service level standards and measuring your success in achieving them. Did everything stay on schedule? Setting up the agenda is important but staying within it is critical.

Orange – action-oriented style: Always multi-tasking and excited to move on to the next challenge, this personality style is generally very informal. The action-oriented personality style likes to have minimal discussion on planning event details and is more concerned with action.  They provide high level objectives and then let you work through the details to deliver.

  • An evaluation is still important to this client, but it needs to be concise. The action-oriented personality style is very forward looking, so they do not need an expansive report of each and every aspect of the event.
  • Establish a feedback mechanism that allows participants to provide their own qualitative impressions. Provide the client with an executive feedback summary, but supply the more specific details only if asked. This client is likely more focused on informal feedback they gain from discussions with participants during the event.
  • Quotes from participants that are tangible examples to support your executive summary will provide the concise, direct evaluation that this client values. Visual support (i.e. pictures that show the event in action) can also be a great add-on to the feedback delivered to a client with this personality type.

Blue – people-oriented style: Developing a strong authentic connection is important to this people-oriented personality style. You likely have already learned a lot about your client both professionally and personally before the event has occurred. This personality style prioritizes relationship development to ensure a productive working relationship. They likely asked for multiple people to provide input to ensure the needs of the entire group were considered in developing the event plan.

  • Evaluation of participants’ overall experience is going to be the key focus area for the people-oriented personality style. Although quantitative data is important, this client will be less focused on whether or not the agenda stayed on time and more focused on participants’ overall perception of the event.
  • If the client agrees in advance, a great way to provide feedback is to conduct participant interviews; brief questions posed to participants at opportune times, consolidated into a video testimonial can be extremely powerful. In addition to providing pictures of the event, they can tell a story of how the event unfolded.
  • Backed with visual evidence, an informal discussion of how things worked would best fit this personality style. In this way, you can actually conduct the critique as a partnership and each come away with lessons you can take forward.

Green – logic-oriented style: Your logic-oriented client has likely pushed you for well above average results. Good is not good enough for this personality type; they want exceptional results in everything they do. They are concise in communication but only after they have had the opportunity to digest information and questioned you extensively about the core elements of the event.

  • Objective and quantitative feedback will resonate most with this client.
  • High level questions that get to the essence of the event will be critical in providing them with an executive summary. Provide facts, but only the top level, as they like concise information presented in a logical format.

It’s important for you to manage your own needs to evaluate the success of an event, but ensure you address all the key stakeholders’ needs as well. To ensure this, ask yourself: have I evaluated the event according to the client’s personality style? Then armed with comprehensive information, filter the presentation to provide the client with just what they are looking for. Wrapping up an event in this way will be extremely powerful, create an ardent supporter, and likely provide future event opportunities.

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