MATSO Programming at Expo! Expo! has 4 Major Program Changes to Address Members’ Primary Needs

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This year I’ve worked closely with IAEE staff and the MATSO Council via newly formed Education and City Working Groups to deliver on the most important benefit for major show organizers according to a needs assessment survey:  informing members of the latest trends and information in the global industry.  I am excited about the programming at the 2016 Expo! Expo! in Anaheim and want to share some of what to expect this December.

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The changes are designed to ensure the MATSO Community is sharing with each other and that you have a complete schedule of MATSO activities throughout the show.  

1 – MATSO show organizers with a director and above title are now invited to attend the IAEE Executive Breakfast Program on Wednesday, December 7th where experts will cover the State of the Economy, Big Data and Attendee Engagement.  Attendance is encouraged because learnings from this session will later be addressed in new MATSO member-only deep dive sessions where the speakers will facilitate discussions (versus present).

2 – MATSO’s taking over Thursday and I’m most excited about the NEW deep dive sessions.  First, Allen Gannet, founder and CEO of TrackMaven, a competitive intelligence platform for digital marketers will lead a conversation to discuss how large shows are using technology to ignite marketing creativity.  Another deep dive session is under construction and will be announced soon.

Also new on Thursday, there will be special seating available for the MATSO community (RSVP required to Kimberly Castanuela with IAEE for seating).  We know from our May roundtable meeting that this group loves to continue their conversations so we hope to see you there!

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3 – City working groups will enjoy a new learning format designed for sharing. You can join roundtable meetings to discuss the latest developments in these large city venues:  Anaheim, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York or Orlando.  Only large show organizers may attend to ensure an open exchange of ideas and solutions in a competition-free environment.

4 – You can now browse by specialty to review 14 recommended sessions the MATSO education working group identified. Sessions run Tuesday – Thursday and touch on topics associated with large show challenges so you can maximize the time for every member of your event team.

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MATSO joined IAEE as a council less than two years ago.  It’s our goal to constantly shape what we do to meet your needs.  What else is going on behind the scenes?  A CEIR task force was created to review and endorse their new Economic Impact Calculator.  We’re now also very active on MATSO MemberLink sharing information, asking questions, and connecting. Check your next MATSO quarterly newsletter for detailed updates or contact me.

These are 4 good reasons to register now for Expo! Expo! this December 6-8th in beautiful Anaheim.  Need a fifth? Go ahead and enjoy California sunshine.

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By Angela Harar, CEM, Senior Director of Trade Shows, The Vision Council, 2016 IAEE MATSO Council Chair

Safety and Security at Trade Shows – What IAEE is Doing.

David DuBois_cropped for WordPress

In the past few months, terrorism has taken a significant toll upon our society. For the exhibitions and events industry, the safety of our attendees and event staff is our highest priority as evidenced by the many members who employ a variety of security measures at each event. But in light of recent terror attacks around the world, it is now time to proactively strengthen our security by setting a national standard that will provide safeguards for the safety and security of our attendees and the preparedness of our industry.

In an effort to create this benchmark, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events TM (IAEE) and the Exhibition Services and Contractors Association (ESCA) have recently announced they will work together to provide industry-wide standards for event security to the Safety Act Office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Facilitated by Keyway, who has gathered a strong team of career law enforcement officials, this initiative will bring convention centers, show organizers, event planners and service providers together to share best practices and establish a national standard of security for the entire industry.

The individual security efforts currently employed around the country have supported exhibitions and events for years, however our industry is always focused on improvement and preparedness. Our next step should be to outline a national security benchmark that will enable convention centers and other event venues to continue making security a top priority. Additionally, show organizers and event planners will be able to use the benchmark as a factor when examining venues that best align with the security needs of their events and meetings.

There is no way to predict where or when an attack will occur. But if we combine our resources and knowledge to create a national standard, it will ensure that our industry is constantly assessing and implementing the latest security protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of our attendees and staff.

For more information, please contact David DuBois at ddubois@iaee.com.

What I Learned by Listening at BizBash Elevate DC

Angela Harar_MATSO_299

On Wednesday, August 3rd, hundreds of event planners descended on the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center for BizBash’s Elevate DC conference. Here’s an inside scoop on a session I was proud to participate in:  Rethinking the Model: How to Improve Association Events and Trade Shows.

Facilitated by Carol McGury, Executive Vice President – Event and Education Services with SmithBucklin, I joined Johnnie White, Senior Director, Global Education, Meetings and Strategic Partnerships with American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO) and Shannon Burch, Vice President of Events and Business Development of ASIS International. I started the presentation with a focus on generational marketing and what I have learned since we launched targeted programs and campaigns for the next generation.  After five years of trial and error, here is what I have found to be most effective.

First: listen and then actually implement.  The best form of feedback is through focus groups and advisory groups and not just once.  Have multiple touch points throughout the year.  The young professionals we work with are vocal and eager to help.

Second: get the C-level on board.  Many executives like knowing there is a strategy for different age groups, but the real difference in budget and implementation is ensuring they are part of the conversation.  We had several projects “greenlit” after executives attended an advisory group meeting and heard suggestions first-hand.

Third: make sure next gen innovators are represented at all levels. Most shows and associations have a variety of committees, task forces, and boards.  The suggestions our young professionals have introduced improve the experience for all attendees, not just millennials and Gen X/Y.

What I enjoyed most was learning from my co-presenters.  Johnnie shared the LUCK principle (Listen Understand Create and Know). When he joined AAO, he didn’t come in with a slew of changes immediately.  He stopped and listened, recognizing that the next generation of learners are forcing show organizers to create experiential learning opportunities that are interactive, hands-on and touch multiple senses.  Their delivery must be short and sweet and include an e-format with 24/7 access.  Johnnie then implemented several initiatives to improve the attendee experience including:

  • RFID for the session rooms to capture attendance and provide a better process for the evaluation process
  • New meeting app
  • Rebranding the exhibit hall
  • Better alignment of the meeting schedule
  • Focus on international with specialty sessions and a governance structure

Shannon then discussed what happens to a trade show when after 40 years of the same executive team, almost everyone changes.  The ASIS International show realized they were not regaining ground after losses taken following the recession of 2009 so they asked their customers the hard questions.  Shannon’s advice, “Ask, even if it hurts, and don’t be afraid to hear the answers because a healthy conversation is progress”.  Her suggestions upon hearing feedback:

  • Be ready to respond to the positive and negative
  • Engage your board and top leadership
  • Makes changes in small doses
  • Set a realistic time frame

ASIS was able to start a new tradition while changing the floor experience and room sets.  Creating unique networking opportunities and VIP lounges were important changes for their customers, as well as launching all-inclusive FAM trips to future cities.  These FAM trips are open to all exhibitors (last year over 40 attended) and last several days including tours of the convention center, hotels and offsite special event venues.

So, what did I learn?  LISTEN and then take it to heart.  We all know this model works best.  I certainly enjoyed listening to my peers and will use my experience to continue moving International Vision Expo & Conference forward.  The most important reason to speak and attend industry conferences is to learn something new, or walk away feeling good about what we’re already doing and keep at it.  With CEIR Predict in September and Expo! Expo! in December, I’m looking forward to listening and learning.  #bizbashelevatedc #expoexpo #MATSO

Angela Harar, CEM, Senior Director of Shows, The Vision Council and Chair, IAEE MATSO Council

 

Mentoring Alternatives: A New Approach to Professional Advice

mentoring

Originally posted by Lindsey Pollak 19 July 2016

I’ve always been a huge fan of mentors. My own mentors have helped me shape my career. They’ve smoothed my path and taught me countless valuable lessons, large (how to structure my business) and small (the best shoes to wear as a professional speaker).

But as I reflect on the mentors who’ve made a difference, I realized that some of the most important people in my career didn’t even know they were my mentors — they were people I admired and learned from without ever having met.

That got me thinking about mentoring norms. Business moves so fast these days that I think we need to consider alternatives to the concept of traditional mentorship, which might be defined as having a monthly coffee meeting with a more experienced professional to discuss challenges, assess your progress and set goals.

If you have already established a relationship like that and find it valuable, then count your lucky stars and don’t change a thing. But if you’re finding it hard to identify a suitable and willing mentor, here are three new paradigms that represent the emerging face of mentorship.

The Board of Advisors for a Well-Rounded Approach

The perfect mentor would be able to advise you on traits ranging from the strategic, such as management skills, to the tactical, like networking ideas. But it can be hard to find that ideal combination, and even harder to get on a busy professional’s schedule for comprehensive counseling.

That’s why I like the concept of a “board of advisors.” Identify people who possess a skill or business acumen that you admire, and consult a different person for advice on each specific issue. You might have someone who can help troubleshoot your important work emails and someone else who can help you bounce back after a work fail, and even a third person who can give you high-level career path advice.

Turning to a cadre of “micro-mentors” for advice on particular situations will give you the benefit of specialized advice and ultimately offer a well-rounded view on all aspects of your career.

One-Off Mentoring When Less Can Be More

For a mentor, the idea of helping an up-and-coming professional is flattering, but might be overwhelming, too. Asking “Will you be my mentor?” implies a time-consuming commitment heavy with responsibility.

But, if someone came to me with a question on a single, specific issue, such as “How do you calm your nerves before a presentation?” I would eagerly jump in and talk them through some of my strategies. This can take place over email or even Twitter.

You might find that your potential mentor is more inclined to help out if you approach them with one specific question to start. Then, if you want to deepen or even potentially formalize the relationship, they’ll offer cues if they’re up for it.

Ask a potential mentor one specific question to start. Click To Tweet

But even if they just offer advice on the initial request you made, you are still miles ahead than if you hadn’t asked. Be sure to thank them for their advice, and let them know how the situation ultimately turns out.

Reverse Mentoring Benefits All Parties

Reverse mentoring is having a moment in the workplace today. Many people are familiar with the concept: In a nutshell, reverse mentoring is when a more experienced (usually older) professional turns to a less experienced (usually younger) person for advice. Common topics might include technology or what makes millennials tick.

Sometimes other generations may be reluctant to ask for counsel, for fear of looking behind the times, so millennials can make it seem reciprocal by asking them a question first. As you start talking, they’re more likely to open up and you can share your perspective with them – a win for all involved.

What kinds of mentors have helped you over the years? And, how do you prefer to mentor others? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Trade Shows: How to Make a Big Impression

4imprint for blog station

Originally posted by 4imprint

Some well-known brands have found a way to literally take their message on the road and go where their customers are, using pop-up shops. If you haven’t seen a pop-up shop before, these mobile displays promote a brand. In many cases, they provide a temporary venue for shopping or services. (Check out the Marmite pop-up shop I wrote about in 2009.)

This pop-up shop from Adidas® caught my attention. The company uses its own packaging, with shoelaces creatively spilling out. It’s a fun, attractive display that leaves a lasting impression for those who visit.

Adidas Popup Shop

If your organization doesn’t have the budget to build and travel with a pop-up shop, you can get inspiration from an eye-catching display like this for your next trade show or event. The key is using a highly recognizable visuals rather than words to make a statement.

To create a pop-up experience on a smaller scale, use table and floor displays to add dimension to any booth. For example, the ContourFit Curve Floor Display’s eye-catching graphics can be seen from a distance and draw customers to your booth.

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The Junior Popup Tabletop Display sits on a table or counter and can be mixed and matched with similar displays of different sizes.

Junior Popup Tabletop Display | Promotional Products from 4imprint

The flexible display space can be used to showcase a variety of powerful images. Both display options are easy to transport, set up and clean.

Or, create a pop-up shop-like experience using retractable banners, which are mobile and easy to use. The Excalibur Double Sided Retractable Banner makes a strong impression when it’s printed with big, graphic images. As a bonus, it also has a place for your sales collateral.

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Because it is double-sided, it is versatile in any space.

When you choose artwork for your banner, think about what is most recognizable about your products or services. Use those images and your logo to make a lasting impact. These retractable banners come in a variety of sizes, as the Economy Retractable Banner shows, making it easy to add recognizable graphics that pop.

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If your company promotion is outdoors, hang a vinyl banner on the side of a tent or a building (where permitted) to draw attention to your brand. The 4-foot by 10-foot outdoor banner can turn an ordinary booth into a display your customers can’t miss.

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Whether you are planning an indoor or outdoor display, find inspiration in pop-up shops’ big, bold shapes. Apply that same idea to your booth or signage and your customers can’t help but notice.

Source: Trade Shows: How to Make a Big Impression

The Best is Yet to Come at EXPO! EXPO!

David DuBois_cropped for WordPress

Originally published in Trade Show Executive, August 2016 Edition

We have entered the second half of the year, which means that if you see me grinning from ear to ear (more so than usual, anyway), it is because IAEE headquarters is all about this December’s Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition in Anaheim, California. The office is buzzing about the new features we will be unveiling as well as the back-by-popular-demand experiences we have in store for this year’s attendees.

Each year at Expo! Expo!, we look at the latest trends in education and technology as they apply to the exhibitions and events industry, and strive to explore these trends in the best way so that attendees can put them to good use immediately when they return to their own meetings. This year, we will be focusing our education efforts on the following learning tracks: Planning & Strategy, Marketing, Technology, Design, Leadership and Management.

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Attendees will be presented with a wide variety of dynamic learning opportunities through information sessions and case study presentations, as well as interactive experiences such as the Tech Center Showcase, Crowd Sourcing and Micro Learning sessions that are sure to engage all levels of industry experience.

Of course, technology is always a big draw at any exhibition and Expo! Expo! is all about staying on top of the latest tech trends. Not only will the show floor feature the latest developments particular to our industry, but our vast learning opportunities will delve into the technology disruptors and offerings at the forefront of providing the most memorable attendee experiences.

Get more information on the Expo! Expo! Tech Startup Pavilion

I have said it before and will say it again – the “I” in IAEE is not just a letter! Our international presence is strong with IAEE members in 51 countries. I have no doubt we will have a greater international presence than ever before at Expo! Expo!, so we have also focused on the global perspective of our industry. An international concierge service will be available for our guests who have put in long hours on a plane to be a part of Expo! Expo!, and I highly recommend connecting with fellow colleagues from around the world during the wide range of networking events presented.

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One of my favorite features of Expo! Expo! is its combination of networking activities and opportunities to give back to the local community. The Chapter Challenge presented last year by Visit Anaheim is still underway, and I cannot wait to see the good work done by IAEE’s local chapters. For the eighth year in a row, IAEE will team with GES to present Humanity Rocks: A Celebration with a Cause to raise funds for a deserving organization based in our host city.

Start planning your experience, view the Expo! Expo! Schedule of Events!

But my absolute favorite part of Expo! Expo! is its one-of-a-kind chance to connect with the best the exhibitions and events industry has to offer – YOU! The mix of industry veterans and rising stars, seasoned pros and new ideas, tried-and-true experience and refreshing enthusiasm – this is exactly what makes our industry such a strong and vibrant community. It is no secret that I am very proud to be a part of such an outstanding group, and Expo! Expo! encompasses what our industry is all about.

Registration for Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 is open. Be sure to register by 21 October to receive the best deals on your Expo! Expo! experience. Stay tuned to www.myexpoexpo.com for the latest education, networking and Expo! Expo! show floor developments.

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I look forward to seeing you in Anaheim!

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO
IAEE

Why Do We Study Generations?

Generations

Originally posted by Lindsey Pollak 26 July 2016

How can you take 75 million people and say they have anything in common? In other words, how can you take one “generation,” with each person having individual likes and dislikes, quirks, history and background, and treat them as one big, uniform group?

You know where I’m going with this: I’m talking about millennials. In my work, I identify characteristics about generations that can help groups of people work more effectively and collaboratively. But some people disagree with the very concept of generations.

Is It All Baloney?

Believe me, I hear the criticism of “generational theory.”

I have read Farhad Manjoo’s New York Times article that questioned why the media insists on promoting “gleefully broad generalizations and criticisms of millennials.” And there’s the essay in Aeon magazine called “Against Generations” that defines generational theory as “a simplistic way of thinking about the relationship between individuals, society, and history.” These writers, and others, make valid points.

But here’s why I continue to think that there is value in discussing large cohorts of workers. Recently I was preparing to give a presentation and was greeted by an investment banker who said, “I’m looking forward to your speech, but I think this whole concept of generations is baloney.” This didn’t bother me because I have heard that criticism before, and I’m always eager to follow up with the naysayers after I talk. After my presentation, his reaction shifted like many I’ve heard before: “I still think it’s baloney, but it’s remarkably accurate baloney.” Indeed.

Did We Grow Up Watching the Same TV Shows?

All Americans are not the same. But, certainly we can say there are similarities among people who live in the United States. And among women. And among those of us raised in Connecticut. We are not all the same, but we tend to share some common experiences that are valuable to note. And those common experiences can offer clues to how we might prefer to communicate, what challenges or opportunities we might face in the workplace, and much more.

Plus, generational commonalities can provide an opportunity for bonding. After all, don’t many of us enjoy those listicles and memes like “29 Things That ID You as Gen X”? When we read these lists, we usually laugh. Not because we still think about Pony Boy, but because we remember the reference as a cultural touchpoint that binds us together.

Why Generational Theory Matters

While the time period when someone was born is not the be all and end all that defines our personalities and life choices (gender, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, birth order, country of origin and many other factors all play a role), I do believe it is instructive to look at the impact of the times in which various groups of people have grown up. When I describe the different generations, I tend to look at the technology they grew up with, the geopolitics and economic ups and downs they witnessed, the parenting norms and educational philosophies that dominated during their childhoods, and the media and advertising messages they saw and heard. All of this impacts our expectations of the workplace we enter as adults.

Birth year isn’t the only thing that defines you, but elements of a generation bind us together. Click To Tweet

Categorizing someone based on their generation can be one more clue that provides a road map to help you communicate, interact and engage productively in the workplace.

CEM Faculty Spotlight on Al Lomas, CMP, CMM, CFE, CEM

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Al Lomas has 30 years of experience in hospitality and the exhibitions and events industry and is a jack of all trades. Al is currently the Conference Operations Manager for Connected Car Expo (CCE) at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Over the course of his career, Al has managed more than 600 annual events at the Municipal Auditorium, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Lila Cockrell Theatre, HemisFair Arena and Alamodome. Al has also been a principal for Certified Consulting Services for over 10 years, consulting others in meeting planning, public events, exhibition logistics and security requirements for major events.

Al teaches CEM courses for IAEE across the U.S. and also teaches internationally in Azerbaijan, Canada, China, South Korea and Taiwan. His areas of expertise are Risk, Security & Crisis Management, Strategic Planning & Management, Conference & Meeting Management Principals, Facilities & Site Selection and Event Operations. Al has also “Trained the Trainer” to IAEE CEM Faculty in 2012-2014 and was also CEM Commission Chairperson in 2013.

IAEE spoke with Al Lomas and dug a bit deeper as to why he joined the exhibitions and events industry and how the CEM Learning Program has helped shape his future.

How did you become involved in the industry?
It began with outdoor events in parking lots and eventually moved into indoor venues.

What are your responsibilities in your current role?
I work part-time and pick and choose the work I accept. I work security management at major events, work four months on the Connected Car Expo for the LA Auto Show through execution, consult for a national security company and teach CEM.

What drives your involvement with IAEE and the CEM Learning Program?
I enjoy teaching the current and future generation of industry professionals entrusted to my care. I tailor my presentation to each specific class based on the demographics, experience and job titles represented in the room. As far as IAEE, it has helped me in my career development; and it is my turn to give back to IAEE.

When did you become a member of the CEM faculty?
I became a member of faculty immediately after earning my designation in 2006 at the urging of Amy Dutton, the CEM Manager at the time. I never considered teaching until Amy told me others could benefit from my experience.

What was your most memorable experience from teaching?
Learning from John Plescia, when I did my internship under his guidance, my first time out. John was, and continues to be, an inspiration to me. When I walked the CEM stage he handed me my certificate and later I followed in his footsteps to become CEM Commission Chairperson.

Do you have any advice for other CEMs who may want to start teaching?
I never considered teaching until Amy told me I possessed a unique skill set and array of designations valuable to the CEM Learning Program. If you have experiences to share and enjoy working with people, it is a very rewarding experience. You will get better as time goes on.

What are a few of the benefits of teaching CEM?
The major benefit of teaching CEM is all intrinsic. I learn from the individuals in class and have a better understanding of what it might be like to work for a non-profit, association, or corporate entity. The best reward is when a student experiences an epiphany of understanding the subject matter or a concept during the class. Don’t do it for the money, because if you tally up the hours spent in preparation, developing handouts, travel and on-site you might be disappointed.

How has the CEM designation helped you in your career?
All of my designations (CMP, CMM, CFE and CEM) have helped me be better informed when I make decisions. I branded myself with certification and each certification made me a more valuable asset to the organizations I have worked for.

We all unconsciously make decisions based on our experience, education and intellect. CEM has given me the education to make better informed decisions in the planning stages of an exhibition. CEM has also been extremely helpful to me in making major decisions on-site during the execution when we, as the organizer, are responsible for the education and safety for all of the participants involved in our events.

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Are you involved with any other committees or boards with IAEE or another industry association?
My focus now is on teaching CEM. I have always been involved in the education of others. I have served on the MPI CMM Advisory Board (two years), ten years as an MPI THCC CMP Study Group Leader, four years as the MPI THCC Director of Education, three years on the IAVM ICCC Planning Committee and served four years on the CEM Commission including Chairperson in 2013.

Social Customer Service

4imprint for blog station

Originally published by 4imprint

Messaging comes of age as a support channel

We’ve all been there: Our shiny, new thingamajig just won’t perform. We’ve looked online at the FAQ, but it’s TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read). And, who knows how much elevator music we’ll have to suffer after dialing the 1-800 number for support. We’ve all thought, “There’s got to be a better way.”

For some brands, the better way for customer service has been messaging. Live chat through a messaging app allows fast, one-to-one or one-to-few interactions.[1] Websites don’t speak. But, messaging gives websites a voice to answer customer questions.

Customers open a chat window, shoot off a message and a service representative replies almost instantly—no elevator music, no indecipherable help section. Customers get special treatment, and brands get a gold star for service.

In this Blue Paper®, we’ll take a look at the rise of messaging, what customers get out of messaging, how brands benefit from this customer support channel and ways to ensure customer delight through this service practice.

The explosive growth of social messaging

Messaging apps are extremely popular. Three-quarters of Internet users use messaging apps, and the top four messaging apps—WhatsApp®, Facebook® Messenger, WeChat® and Viber®—have more than 2 billion monthly active users worldwide.[2]

And, messaging is growing. Nielsen research says Facebook’s Messenger was the fastest-growing app of 2015.[3] Messaging apps are outpacing social networks in monthly active users. Figure 1 compares the top four messaging apps to the top four social networks—Facebook, LinkedIn®, Twitter® and Instagram®:[4]

Messaging apps catch up to social networks

Figure 1: Comparison of active users of messaging apps versus social networks[5]
Some savvy brands have identified messaging as a significant business opportunity. Messaging apps WhatsApp® Web and LINE have even introduced options for brands targeted at business-customer interaction.[6] Messaging has legs as a value creator, specifically in social customer care. Check out these examples:[7],[8],[9]

  • Hyatt® hotels use Facebook’s Messenger. A customer service rep initials answers to questions, so customers know a real person responded.
  • Airbnb® customers can chat with hosts through the mobile app or desktop site.
  • Guests at The LINQ® hotel in Las Vegas can check in and adjust room temps and lighting through WeChat.
  • Lyft® allows drivers to text riders through the ride-share app when they arrive.
  • Apparel retailers Everlane® and Zulily® use Facebook’s Messenger for orders and returns.

WeChat, popular in China, provides a model for messaging’s potential. In China, WeChat is more than a messaging platform for person-to-person communication. Media companies, banks, celebrities and more populate WeChat with millions of apps, called “official accounts.” The official accounts are set up with features such as direct messaging, voice messaging, payments and location. WeChat users enjoy app-within-app functionality to read news, hail a cab, pay bills and more. Some startups even test apps inside WeChat before launching stand-alone versions.[10] For many Chinese, WeChat is “The Everything App.” “It takes a phone full of apps and replicates its entire functionality.”[11] Mobile-first WeChat is a complete ecosystem for users.

Other brands are watching WeChat. For example, Snapchat® has dived into app-with-app functionality with its Discover platform, which lets brands like National Geographic®, Cosmopolitan® and the Food Network® post videos and images.[12] In the future, messaging apps could start to look like a utility, providing infrastructure for all digital activity.[13] Social customer service through messaging may just be the beginning of a new digital paradigm.

Why customers love social messaging for service

People can’t seem to get enough messaging. And, when it comes to using live chat functionality for support, customers like it—a lot. Customers who use live chat for service report satisfaction 92 percent of the time. That’s higher than customers who get service via phone, web forms, email and social media. Check out the following satisfaction rates by channel, as reported by Zendesk®, a cloud-based customer service platform (Figure 2):[14]

Satisfaction rate by channel

Figure 2: Satisfaction rate by channel
In general, customers like social customer care via messaging for three reasons:

1.)   Convenience

With messaging, customers can get questions answered immediately. It’s the most efficient communication method—type inside the box and click “send.”[15] Customers receive real-time service.[16],[17] The closest alternative to messaging is phoning a help line, and customers don’t want to be put on hold.[18] In a survey of why live chat is preferred, 22 percent of respondents admitted they don’t like talking on the phone.[19]

Customer service through chat makes brands instantly available. But, chat allows customers to respond at their convenience. Customers have breathing room to ask questions and give responses on their timetable.[20] Customers prefer live chat in part “because [they’re] in control of the conversation.”[21] A customer’s replies can be instant or asynchronous.[22] Messaging requires low concentration, and customers can even multitask and troubleshoot on their own while chatting with customer service.[23],[24] This support channel lets customers have their cake and eat it, too.

2.)   Personal touch

Social messaging is personal communication.[25] Many customers crave two-way conversation vs. Web-based self-service—e.g., “Help” or “FAQ” webpages.[26] Live chat fulfills this desire more conveniently than a 1-800 number. Zendesk postulates that customers may report more satisfaction with live chat because messaging representatives are more engaged. They may ask more troubleshooting questions and build goodwill by asking how a customer’s day is going.[27] Some customers said live chat provided them with better information than support via phone or email, according to a survey by messaging software firm BoldChat®.[28] As customers receive superior support through messaging, this one-to-one communication lets brand interaction be completely personalized.[29] Through messaging, customers get the opportunity to experience your brand not as a monolith, but at the individual level.

3.)   Privacy

Chat is good for customers who are worried about privacy. A customer service phone call could be overheard.[30] Chat, to compare, is secure.[31] Customers also like social customer service messaging because they can chat while at work.[32] Messaging is an option for customers who don’t want their service issues to get lost on social media channels.[33] Live chat blends the personal touch of a phone call with the convenience of virtual communication into an experience that’s private and immediate.

How brands benefit from social customer service through messaging

Businesses have lots to love about social customer care via live chat. Three chief benefits make a case for embracing this style of social customer service:

1.)   Messaging makes a brand available.

Service needs spring up after business hours, and global customers need the same treatment as customers in your time zone.[34] With messaging, customers know your brand is always on for them.

With social customer service through chat, issues can be resolved at the first point of contact, tracked and followed up on. Customers with pressing needs—for example, a late delivery or failed order—can access customer service right away without waiting in line.[35] Millennial customers expect things right away; an hour to respond could send them to another service channel.[36] Messaging gives them instant gratification. Providing the right answer at the right time is a competitive advantage.[37] In customer service, patience is not a virtue.

Availability also includes being ready to nurture meaningful connections with customers. Conversations with a representative are unique, private and informal—more like a chat with a friend or family member.[38] Businesses can leverage the casual nature of messaging to build feelings of goodwill.

2.)   Messaging creates value.

Social messaging for customer service saves money. Support via a 1-800 number is more expensive than chat, and time on the phone is costly for customers, too.[39] What’s more, brands get fewer support tickets through their website after adding live chat, and customers enjoy reduced wait times.[40],[41] Live-chatting customer service representatives can work with several people at the same time—a huge contrast to one-on-one support offered by a phone customer service operator.[42],[43] In short, messaging for social customer care is all about efficiency for brands and their customers.

Social messaging presents great opportunities for data collection, too. Brands can use data processing—specifically text analytics—on the unstructured data generated by live chat. Through text analytics, you can discover customer insights at an individual level and opportunities to reinforce the best parts of your brand. Ultimately, personalized interaction can become a point of differentiation among competitors.[44],[45] Some enterprise messaging systems record conversations, allowing correspondence to be monitored for quality and sensitive information.[46] Both brands and customers value the privacy of this free-form data.

The most tangible value created by live chat is sales. Almost one-third of U.K. and U.S. shoppers say they would be more likely to buy after messaging.[47] Social customer service via chat could turn browsers into buyers.

3.)   Messaging builds a culture of communication.

Messaging can be adopted for internal communication, encouraging rapport among teammates.[48] Team members can actively share knowledge via chat—for example, URLs and files—instead of passively corresponding by email. The things that customers like about messaging can help build brand culture on the inside.

How to master messaging for social customer service

While it’s less formal than call center support, live chat customer service still needs strategy and protocol. Check out these social customer service best practices for messaging:

Prepare for busy times. More than 50 percent of live chats are between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. local time.[49] Boost the number of staff during periods of high social messaging. Make sure your IT systems can handle volume during peak times, too.

Meet customers on the go. Smartphone use is increasingly defining how customers interact with brands. Mobile itself is an omni-channel platform featuring voice, email, Web chat, video chat, SMS and social media.[50] Customers see conversations across channels as continuous, and they expect brands to “remember” context of interactions. This is another reason why having a customer-relationship management system that includes messaging records is critical. All departments should work within the CRM. Collaboration across an organization is more efficient when customer information is stored in one place.[51]

School your people. Masterful customer service representatives ensure low customer effort—that is, the time a customer spends explaining his or her problem. Train representatives on the following topics to make life easier for customers:[52]

  • Where to find accurate answers
  • How to use chat system features
  • How to write for chat
  • When to use canned vs. free-form responses
  • How to uncover customer needs

How can you tell when a messaging rep is meeting customer needs and building your brand? The best chat representatives:[53],[54],[55],[56]

  • Watch the clock. They first respond in less than 30 seconds, and they practice the two-minute rule: When chatting, respond to a customer within two minutes, and check in with a customer if they’re unresponsive for two minutes.
  • Have a good attitude. They’re empathetic, energetic and engaged, and they’re positive about the brand, its products and even competitors.
  • Use the script wisely. They leverage pre-crafted, on-brand copy to answer the most frequently asked questions. But, they know when to move beyond a script and personalize the service experience.
  • Invert the pyramid. They answer questions directly, putting the most important information at the beginning.
  • Don’t sell. They avoid promotional language and stick to offering help.
  • Flex their muscles. They’re empowered to offer incentives—for example, free shipping—to retain customers. Representatives who can act autonomously speed up the service process for your brand and customers
  • Take their time. They don’t rush through chat sessions. They work until the work is done.
  • Give customers a heads up. They ask before sending a URL, and if a customer needs to be put on hold or transferred, they explain why it’s happening and how long it will take. Most important, they tell customers thanks for hanging in there!
  • Act as lifeguards. Using tracking technology, they initiate chat sessions with customers who struggle to find answers in the support section of a website or linger on a page.

Commit to getting better. Work toward improving customer service messaging by conducting post-chat surveys and reviewing chat transcripts.[57] Continuous improvement comes from doing something with all the data collected through social customer service.

Build customer experience with social messaging

Social messaging supports overall customer experience (CX), which can create value for brands. Brands with high-ranking customer experiences enjoyed a cumulative return of 22 percent from 2007 to 2011. Brands with low-ranking customer experience saw a return of negative 46 percent.[58] A commitment to improving customer experience is a commitment to increasing profitability.

It’s not surprising that 70 percent of business leaders say customer experience is critical to success. Yet, when it comes to CX, there’s a gap between perception and reality. Eighty-eight percent of businesses say they offer “excellent” customer experience, but only 8 percent of customers agree.[59] For some brands, social customer service through messaging could help close that gap.

In the end, “messaging has crossed the divide from personal to professional—whether your business has evolved or not.”[60] The good news for brands is that thoughtful social customer service messaging can delight customers and create value—outcomes worth chasing as you adopt social messaging.

Source: Social Customer Service

Endnotes

[1] Anderson, Meghan Keaney. “Why We’re Thinking About Messaging Apps All Wrong.” HubSpot Marketing Blog. HubSpot, Inc., 9 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/messaging-apps&gt;.
[2] Ibid
[3] Morgan, Blake. “5 Ways To Turn Facebook Messenger Into Your Best Customer Service Tool.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 1 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2016/02/01/5-ways-to-turn-facebook-messenger-into-your-best-customer-service-tool/#471efced5d9e&gt;.
[4] Anderson, Meghan Keaney. “Why We’re Thinking About Messaging Apps All Wrong.” HubSpot Marketing Blog. HubSpot, Inc., 9 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/messaging-apps&gt;.
[5] Ibid
[6] Brook, Paul. “Messaging: A New Age for Customer Service.” LivePerson Connected Customer Blog. LivePerson, Inc., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.liveperson.com/connected-customer/posts/messaging-new-age-customer-service&gt;.
[7] Morgan, Blake. “5 Ways To Turn Facebook Messenger Into Your Best Customer Service Tool.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 1 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2016/02/01/5-ways-to-turn-facebook-messenger-into-your-best-customer-service-tool/#471efced5d9e&gt;.
[8] Brook, Paul. “Messaging: A New Age for Customer Service.” LivePerson Connected Customer Blog. LivePerson, Inc., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.liveperson.com/connected-customer/posts/messaging-new-age-customer-service&gt;.
[9] Anderson, Meghan Keaney. “Why We’re Thinking About Messaging Apps All Wrong.” HubSpot Marketing Blog. HubSpot, Inc., 9 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/messaging-apps&gt;.
[10] Kosoff, Maya. “This Chinese Messaging App Is Taking the Country by Storm – and Facebook Should Pay Attention.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc., 10 Aug. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.businessinsider.com/wechat-why-it-dominates-china-2015-8&gt;.
[11] Anderson, Meghan Keaney. “Why We’re Thinking About Messaging Apps All Wrong.” HubSpot Marketing Blog. HubSpot, Inc., 9 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/messaging-apps&gt;.
[12] Brook, Paul. “Messaging: A New Age for Customer Service.” LivePerson Connected Customer Blog. LivePerson, Inc., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.liveperson.com/connected-customer/posts/messaging-new-age-customer-service&gt;.
[13] Anderson, Meghan Keaney. “Why We’re Thinking About Messaging Apps All Wrong.” HubSpot Marketing Blog. HubSpot, Inc., 9 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/messaging-apps&gt;.
[14] “Zendesk Benchmark: Live Chat Drives Highest Customer Satisfaction.” Zendesk. Zendesk, 20 May 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.zendesk.com/company/press/zendesk-benchmark-live-chat-drives-highest-customer-satisfaction/&gt;.
[15] Charlton, Graham. “Consumers Prefer Live Chat for Customer Service: Stats.” Econsultancy. Econsultancy.com Limited, 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://econsultancy.com/blog/63867-consumers-prefer-live-chat-for-customer-service-stats#i.1w3j4c4ug0fjp1&gt;.
[16] “Zendesk Benchmark: Live Chat Drives Highest Customer Satisfaction.” Zendesk. Zendesk, 20 May 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.zendesk.com/company/press/zendesk-benchmark-live-chat-drives-highest-customer-satisfaction/&gt;.
[17] “Training Your Customer Support Team to Boost Chat Sales.” TELUS International. TELUS International, 03 July 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.telusinternational.com/articles/training-your-customer-support-team-to-boost-chat-sales/&gt;.
[18] Brook, Paul. “Messaging: A New Age for Customer Service.” LivePerson Connected Customer Blog. LivePerson, Inc., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.liveperson.com/connected-customer/posts/messaging-new-age-customer-service&gt;.
[19] Charlton, Graham. “Consumers Prefer Live Chat for Customer Service: Stats.” Econsultancy. Econsultancy.com Limited, 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://econsultancy.com/blog/63867-consumers-prefer-live-chat-for-customer-service-stats#i.1w3j4c4ug0fjp1&gt;.
[20] Brook, Paul. “Messaging: A New Age for Customer Service.” LivePerson Connected Customer Blog. LivePerson, Inc., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.liveperson.com/connected-customer/posts/messaging-new-age-customer-service&gt;.
[21] Charlton, Graham. “Consumers Prefer Live Chat for Customer Service: Stats.” Econsultancy. Econsultancy.com Limited, 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://econsultancy.com/blog/63867-consumers-prefer-live-chat-for-customer-service-stats#i.1w3j4c4ug0fjp1&gt;.
[22] Brook, Paul. “Messaging: A New Age for Customer Service.” LivePerson Connected Customer Blog. LivePerson, Inc., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.liveperson.com/connected-customer/posts/messaging-new-age-customer-service&gt;.
[23] “10 Trends in Customer Care 2015.” WDS. WDS, 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.wds.co/10-trends-2015/&gt;.
[24] Charlton, Graham. “Consumers Prefer Live Chat for Customer Service: Stats.” Econsultancy. Econsultancy.com Limited, 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://econsultancy.com/blog/63867-consumers-prefer-live-chat-for-customer-service-stats#i.1w3j4c4ug0fjp1&gt;.
[25] “Training Your Customer Support Team to Boost Chat Sales.” TELUS International. TELUS International, 03 July 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.telusinternational.com/articles/training-your-customer-support-team-to-boost-chat-sales/&gt;.
[26] “10 Trends in Customer Care 2015.” WDS. WDS, 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.wds.co/10-trends-2015/&gt;.
[27] “Zendesk Benchmark: Live Chat Drives Highest Customer Satisfaction.” Zendesk. Zendesk, 20 May 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.zendesk.com/company/press/zendesk-benchmark-live-chat-drives-highest-customer-satisfaction/&gt;.
[28] Charlton, Graham. “Consumers Prefer Live Chat for Customer Service: Stats.” Econsultancy. Econsultancy.com Limited, 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://econsultancy.com/blog/63867-consumers-prefer-live-chat-for-customer-service-stats#i.1w3j4c4ug0fjp1&gt;.
[29] Brook, Paul. “Messaging: A New Age for Customer Service.” LivePerson Connected Customer Blog. LivePerson, Inc., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.liveperson.com/connected-customer/posts/messaging-new-age-customer-service&gt;.
[30] “10 Trends in Customer Care 2015.” WDS. WDS, 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.wds.co/10-trends-2015/&gt;.
[31] “Training Your Customer Support Team to Boost Chat Sales.” TELUS International. TELUS International, 03 July 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.telusinternational.com/articles/training-your-customer-support-team-to-boost-chat-sales/&gt;.
[32] Charlton, Graham. “Consumers Prefer Live Chat for Customer Service: Stats.” Econsultancy. Econsultancy.com Limited, 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://econsultancy.com/blog/63867-consumers-prefer-live-chat-for-customer-service-stats#i.1w3j4c4ug0fjp1&gt;.
[33] Brook, Paul. “Messaging: A New Age for Customer Service.” LivePerson Connected Customer Blog. LivePerson, Inc., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.liveperson.com/connected-customer/posts/messaging-new-age-customer-service&gt;.
[34] Morgan, Blake. “5 Ways To Turn Facebook Messenger Into Your Best Customer Service Tool.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 1 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2016/02/01/5-ways-to-turn-facebook-messenger-into-your-best-customer-service-tool/#471efced5d9e&gt;.
[35] “6 Ways to Enhance Customer Support with IM.” ClickDesk. ClickDesk, 22 Feb. 2012. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.clickdesk.com/blog/6-ways-to-enhance-customer-support-with-im/&gt;.
[36] Morgan, Blake. “5 Ways To Turn Facebook Messenger Into Your Best Customer Service Tool.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 1 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2016/02/01/5-ways-to-turn-facebook-messenger-into-your-best-customer-service-tool/#471efced5d9e&gt;.
[37] ” 10 Trends in Customer Care 2015.” WDS. WDS, 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.wds.co/10-trends-2015/&gt;.
[38] Brook, Paul. “Messaging: A New Age for Customer Service.” LivePerson Connected Customer Blog. LivePerson, Inc., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.liveperson.com/connected-customer/posts/messaging-new-age-customer-service&gt;.
[39] Ibid
[40] “Zendesk Benchmark: Live Chat Drives Highest Customer Satisfaction.” Zendesk. Zendesk, 20 May 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.zendesk.com/company/press/zendesk-benchmark-live-chat-drives-highest-customer-satisfaction/&gt;.
[41] “6 Ways to Enhance Customer Support with IM.” ClickDesk. ClickDesk, 22 Feb. 2012. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.clickdesk.com/blog/6-ways-to-enhance-customer-support-with-im/&gt;.
[42] ” 10 Trends in Customer Care 2015.” WDS. WDS, 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.wds.co/10-trends-2015/&gt;.
[43] “6 Ways to Enhance Customer Support with IM.” ClickDesk. ClickDesk, 22 Feb. 2012. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.clickdesk.com/blog/6-ways-to-enhance-customer-support-with-im/&gt;.
[44] ” 10 Trends in Customer Care 2015.” WDS. WDS, 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.wds.co/10-trends-2015/&gt;.
[45] Patil, Arun. “North America Text Analytics Market Is Expected to Reach a Value of $1,995.8 Million by 2019 According to New Research Report.” WhaTech. WhaTech, 21 Oct. 2015. Web. 11 Nov. 2015. <https://www.whatech.com/market-research/it/102919-north-america-text-analytics-market-is-expected-to-reach-a-value-of-1-995-8-million-by-2019-according-to-new-research-report&gt;.
[46] “6 Ways to Enhance Customer Support with IM.” ClickDesk. ClickDesk, 22 Feb. 2012. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.clickdesk.com/blog/6-ways-to-enhance-customer-support-with-im/&gt;.
[47] Charlton, Graham. “Consumers Prefer Live Chat for Customer Service: Stats.” Econsultancy. Econsultancy.com Limited, 25 Nov. 2013. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://econsultancy.com/blog/63867-consumers-prefer-live-chat-for-customer-service-stats#i.1w3j4c4ug0fjp1&gt;.
[48] Brook, Paul. “Messaging: A New Age for Customer Service.” LivePerson Connected Customer Blog. LivePerson, Inc., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.liveperson.com/connected-customer/posts/messaging-new-age-customer-service&gt;.
[49] “Zendesk Benchmark: Live Chat Drives Highest Customer Satisfaction.” Zendesk. Zendesk, 20 May 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.zendesk.com/company/press/zendesk-benchmark-live-chat-drives-highest-customer-satisfaction/&gt;.
[50] ” 10 Trends in Customer Care 2015.” WDS. WDS, 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.wds.co/10-trends-2015/&gt;.
[51] Morgan, Blake. “5 Ways To Turn Facebook Messenger Into Your Best Customer Service Tool.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 1 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2016/02/01/5-ways-to-turn-facebook-messenger-into-your-best-customer-service-tool/#471efced5d9e&gt;.
[52] “Training Your Customer Support Team to Boost Chat Sales.” TELUS International. TELUS International, 03 July 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.telusinternational.com/articles/training-your-customer-support-team-to-boost-chat-sales/&gt;.
[53] Ibid
[54] “ʻChat Etiquetteʼ for Better Digital Customer Service.” TELUS International. TELUS International, 08 July 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.telusinternational.com/articles/chat-etiquette-for-better-digital-customer-service/&gt;.
[55] ” 10 Trends in Customer Care 2015.” WDS. WDS, 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.wds.co/10-trends-2015/&gt;.
[56] Morgan, Blake. “5 Ways To Turn Facebook Messenger Into Your Best Customer Service Tool.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 1 Feb. 2016. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2016/02/01/5-ways-to-turn-facebook-messenger-into-your-best-customer-service-tool/#471efced5d9e&gt;.
[57] “ʻChat Etiquetteʼ for Better Digital Customer Service.” TELUS International. TELUS International, 08 July 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.telusinternational.com/articles/chat-etiquette-for-better-digital-customer-service/&gt;.
[58] ” 10 Trends in Customer Care 2015.” WDS. WDS, 15 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <http://www.wds.co/10-trends-2015/&gt;.
[59] Ibid
[60] Brook, Paul. “Messaging: A New Age for Customer Service.” LivePerson Connected Customer Blog. LivePerson, Inc., 24 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Feb. 2016. <https://www.liveperson.com/connected-customer/posts/messaging-new-age-customer-service&gt;.

Exhibitions Day 2016 Surpasses Expectations

David DuBois_cropped for WordPress

Originally published in Trade Show Executive, July 2016 Edition

Last month, IAEE, along with 20 supporting organizations and more than 100 exhibitions and events professionals from around the U.S., stormed Capitol Hill for Exhibitions Day 2016. As you may know, advocacy is a key pillar in IAEE’s strategic plan and we take this role quite seriously. Coupled with the first ever Global Exhibitions Day, the numbers are in and we made a huge impact on social media driving awareness of the local, national and global impact that exhibitions and events play in communities worldwide.

Two key issues were addressed on 8 June in Washington, D.C. – Overtime Regulations proposed by the Department of Labor (DOL) and Stop Online Booking Scams Act of 2016. Allow me to delve further into these and explain why these are important pieces of legislation that affect the exhibitions and event industry.

Exhibitions-Day-Date-Logo

DOL Overtime Regulations
Protecting Workplace Advancement & Opportunity Act, (Overtime Regulation) S.2707 & H.R. 4773 would block proposed changes to overtime regulation and require the DOL to perform a deeper analysis of the impact potential overtime regulations would have on small businesses, nonprofits, regional economies, local governments and other institutions prior to passing any updates. The message we took to D.C. was clear:

1) The proposed overtime rule increases the minimum salary level to qualify as exempt from overtime pay requirements to a level that we believe is too high;

2) We believe a more accurate approach is to instead align salary requirements to government data and cost-of-living differences;

3) The proposed legislation also suggests salary threshold updates every 3 years, a measure we believe will hurt employers by eliminating their ability to attract talent due to an inability to financially cover this increase in overtime qualifiers; and

4) The 1 December effective date behind these overtime rules is extremely aggressive and does not reflect the time needed to conduct a deeper analysis of its impact on organizers of exhibitions and events, which require working hours well above the traditional eight hours per day.

Stop Online Booking Scams Act of 2016

This is a topic that we at IAEE have seen as an issue for many years. As the rate of consumers booking travel accommodations online continues to surge, so has the rate of booking scams. In order to better protect consumers, the House has introduced H.R. 4526, which would prohibit web sites from pretending to be the hotel and allowing state attorneys general to pursue restitution and refunds on behalf of the victims. Upwards of 15 million fraudulent bookings are caused by these scams, resulting in more than $1.3 billion in lost revenue for hotels and money from consumers. This bill is a first step, but broadening H.R. 4526’s scope now to incorporate email and call center scams ensures the bill gets to the heart of how we can combat this criminal activity. For the show organizer, these scams can and have result in steep penalties when attrition clauses are not met with hotels. I would like to note that most offices we met with whether Republican or Democrat, recognized that this a big problem for their constituents. We have seen a lot of post event interest and follow up on this initiative started by the American Hotel and Lodging Association and we as industry, are pleased to join forces with them to bring this criminal activity to a halt.

FAIL(1)

I can say without a doubt, that Exhibitions Day 2016 surpassed our expectations in terms of broadening awareness of the exhibitions industry an affecting change at the national level. For more information on these issues, how you can get involved in our advocacy efforts, please visit www.iaee.com/resources/advocacy-initiatives or www.exhibitionsmeanbusiness.org.

And save the date for 7 June 2017 for both the U.S. Exhibitions Day and Global Exhibitions Day.

David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA
President & CEO
IAEE