ExCel excels at creating customer experiences


Posted by
Barry Siskind
UFI’s Community Manager

One of the finalists in the 2013 UFI Marketing Award was UK’s ExCel London. Much has been written about ExCel’s unique approach to customer service. During UFI’s Open Seminar in Europe which will be held from June 30 to July 2 in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, participants will learn how Excel excelled first hand. The session will be co-facilitated by Excel’s Marketing Manager, Lucy Merritt and ExCel’s Marketing Manager Exhibitions and Digital, Keith Clifford the presentation is titled, ExCel case study: How to turn your venue vicinity into an outstanding customer experience.

I caught up with Lucy Merritt to ask her about the presentation. Here’s what she told me.

Barry:

Can you define what an outstanding customer experience is?

Lucy:

We recognise that our clients’ success is our success and as a host venue we want to ensure that we deliver the best possible guest experience, not just to our clients but to their audience. Consequently, in 2013 ExCeL London introduced a new brand promise ‘Take every event to heart’.

“Take every event to heart” is not just our brand statement but underpins how the venue operates and how we set ourselves apart from our competitors. As a direct response to client feedback, ExCeL initiated a change in company structure merging event management and operations to provide clients with a single point of contact.

This new strategy enabled the ExCeL team to:
• Work in partnership with clients to help them achieve their objectives and grow their events
• Offer a consultative approach – tailoring skills and expertise to each event that comes to the venue
• Partner with key stakeholders to ensure the surrounding infrastructure, including transport and hotels, works to the best of its ability, so that visitors have a good experience when they come to the venue
• Work to help our organisers achieve better delegate optimisation.
Barry:

What were some of the obstacles ExCel faced and how did you handle them?

Lucy:

ExCeL London’s brand promise is to ‘Take every event to heart’.

At enquiry stage, each client is assigned an account manager, who works with them to tailor a proposal to meet their specific requirements. Once the event is contracted, clients are given a single point of contact, someone who works as an extension of their team, consulting with the venues service partners, to ensure the smooth planning and delivery of the event. The current overall satisfaction rating is 89% (up from 84% in 2012).

ExCeL offers a unique marketing support package including a variety of ready prepared marketing tools, introductions to key local partners and a range of offers which can be rolled out to delegates.

ExCeL listens to client feedback and invests in its facilities in order to meet the needs of its customers, including:

• The introduction of Ruckus smart technology
• Free Wi-Fi extended across the whole venue
• A new heating system to make the venue entrance warmer during the winter months
• Upgraded LED lighting to improve the quality for visitors
• Eurocar (ExCeL’s Official Mobility Partner) – gives visitors access to a range of services, including car/van hire valet parking, a chauffeur-drive service and airport shuttle buses

Barry:

Is there an element of continuous improvement to the creation of an “Outstanding Customer Experience” initiative?

Lucy:

Part of ExCeL’s promise is to consistently deliver the best possible service and strive to exceed expectations. 100% of our staff believes that good customer service is important and 97.6% understand what they need to do to deliver high levels of customer service. 95% of clients strongly agree or agree that their account manager tried to understand their business and find solutions. Since the launch of ExCeL’s new vision, customer satisfaction levels have been – 92% event management; 89% cleaning, 91% helpdesk, 93% info desk staff, 90% branding & signage and 88% traffic. ExCeL’s vision is to provide a world class facility which enables us to deliver successful events where clients can come together to share knowledge, showcase technology, solve problems and do business. Moreover, we recognise that the success of events is dependent on the team behind the venue. Whatever the ambition, we genuinely care about what our clients do and are committed to helping them achieve great things. This is our standard that we work towards and what sets us apart.

If you haven’t registered yet, there is still time. To see the entire agenda, click here:
http://www.ufi.org/stpetersburg2014

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