Customer Service Model Part 1: Discovery

In a previous blog post, “The importance of hospitality vs. customer service,” we shared with you that we would outline the T3 Customer Service Model and the three unique phases: Discovery, Design and Execution/Production.

The model is critical to creating and delivering a great customer experience, and a sense of hospitality that we defined in the last blog. Everyone knows it is important to deliver a great customer experience, but T3 Expo knows too that it is important to put in that “something extra special.”

Take for example the process of making a good old-fashioned New England beef stew -- you need all the right ingredients for it to taste delicious, including the broth, quality beef, carrots, potatoes, some celery and some great spices. Mixed all together and simmered, this is one of the tastiest and heartiest meals on the East Coast. But, without the beef broth, or the vegetables, it is just blah, or even tasteless. This is a silly analogy, but a meaningful one when we think about all the vital ingredients that go into planning and executing a successful event.

T3 Expo started our organization to think differently about how trade shows and events could be executed and supported. As part of that thinking, we also knew that client service and the customer experience needed to be completely revamped too.

To do this, and do it well and consistently, we created the T3 Customer Service Model our standard operating procedure for every client we service.

Over the years, we have continued to perfect our Client Service Model and we expect that we will continue to tweak it as the industry shifts and changes—as it always does.

The first part of the model we will discuss is the Discovery portion. The very first step in the Discovery category is to host a series of meetings designed to learn about the unique aspects of a client’s event and establish a criteria on how we will define success together.

We use independent research and our notes from meetings with our clients as we start to uncover what our client’s goals are for the brand and for their customers; and how the event supports those goals. At this stage, we will also break down what is important to our clients versus what is important to their exhibitors and sponsors. This is also where we define critical stakeholders and establish communication protocols with the team.

Discovery is about the art of active listening, asking thoughtful questions, conducting research and using these skills to inspire creative approaches, properly scope and plan projects and anticipate our customers wishes.

Discovery also includes the creation of the Statement of Work (SOW). The SOW is a joint agreement between the team and T3 Expo on the event objectives, work to be delivered, and desired outcomes. This is a very important element of the Discovery process because it puts everyone “on the same page.” Key sections of the SOW include: priorities, the team, the project plan, timelines, stakeholders, and customer service plan. It helps to set the expectations and to keep the project running efficiently. It is a fluid document and is expected to change as the event scope is fully realized.

After we have a SOW that is agreed upon by all parities, we can then establish a financial baseline based on the event objectives and the physical needs of the area where the event will be held. Through the discovery process and creation of the SOW, we define the initial requirements for budget, physical structure needs, A/V and electrical needs and furnishing/décor.

Then it is on to the next step of our Customer Service Model: Design. This is where we start experimenting with different flavors and textures in the kitchen, and add some spice to really make our beef stew pop.

We will cover the Design aspect of the Customer Service Model in our next blog. So, stay tuned!