by Matt Alderton | May 03, 2019
Successful companies have long operated on the mantra, "The customer is always right." These days, however, it's not enough to merely accede to customers. Instead, top-performing companies are actively building cultures that revolve around them. Consider, for example, firms like Trader Joe's, JetBlue, Costco, Netflix and Zappos, just to name a few -- all of which have built brands that revolve around the customer.

In this age of "customer experience," meeting planners must similarly adopt a customer-focused mindset by making their events more attendee-centric.

"These days, a full schedule of compelling education might not be enough to get prospective participants to register (or to satisfy those already signed up)," author Jessi Minneci asserts in a recent article for Northstar Meetings Group. "After all, you're not the only one who is looking for an ROI on your event."

Fortunately, there are many things planners can do to improve the experience -- and therefore the ROI -- for attendees. One idea, for instance, is organizing fewer lectures and more Q&As.

"Too often, leaders will tell a group that they want to hear everyone's feedback on a topic, then spend 90 percent of the meeting presenting the idea and leaving only minutes for the Q&A," Elise Keith, co-founder of Lucid Meetings, tells Minneci.

Another good idea: Give attendees more free time.

"With meeting after meeting and networking event after education seminar, it's pretty easy to understand how your attendees could get absolutely exhausted," Minneci says. "Consider incorporating some meaningful downtime throughout the day … We're not talking about a five-minute break in between sessions. We're suggesting that you actually schedule at least an hour of downtime into the mix, giving attendees a real chance to rest in their rooms or get some fresh air."

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