When Coronavirus hit and basically shut down the US, everyone was scrambling; trying to make changes on the fly.
Being forced to run a remote operation, homeschooling kids while still being dialed in at work, being stuck at home with literally nowhere to go, trying to figure out how to generate revenue to keep businesses afloat and employees employed—and that’s just the “normal” stuff…not to mention disinfecting your groceries or waiting two weeks (or more!) for toilet paper to be delivered as the reality that no one ever imagined.
Just like none of us (or at least the majority of us) never sat down and thought about what life would be like if we were hit with a pandemic, not many of us put much consideration into what returning to live events after a pandemic would look like.
Let’s face it—there hasn’t been much good that has come out of COVID-19 so far, but the role of all of us in this space is to create the light at the end of the tunnel; to find those silver linings, and to continue to be outlets for people to escape to. (After all, that’s why many of us love working in the sports and entertainment industry!)
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, all of us at EngageMint have been using this time to get better, dig deeper, create more genuine relationships, and help our clients do the same. We have learned a lot – and continue to learn – but I wanted to leave you with a few more lessons learned that have really helped us focus on our mission of helping organizations attract and retain the best employees and ideal customers.
- You can’t control COVID-19, but you can control how you respond!
- It’s time to get creative and re-imagine a whole new world—what is the ‘craziest‘ idea you have? Maybe it’s not so crazy anymore!
- How well do you really know your customers? I bet we all could not only get to know everyone better, but can’t we learn from them as well?
- Do you know what actually is your “bread and butter”, rather than just your perceived bread and butter? Are you doing those core things exceptionally? Not just doing them “good,” but better than you could have ever imagined?
What are you doing to prepare? To get better? Are you reading, listening, and having conversations outside of your department, organization, or industry?
The event experience is going to look different when we return to play…and what that means, none of us really know right now. For instance, there was a time when pre-ordering your meal from your phone and then just grabbing it was a bit much to think about, but not so much anymore, right?!
Most of us do surveys and town halls, and solicit fan feedback—but are we really listening, (especially right now)? Much of the time, we get caught up in looking for specific feedback, and we refrain from diving into things that we don’t want to hear or things we don’t think we can change.
Right now (and a good standard to keep as we move forward) we should be listening closely to fan feedback, implementing change as a result, and vocalizing the changes—and letting it be known where the ideas originated (from feedback)!
Loyal fan Jane or John may be owners of a business, and they may have been doing post-pandemic planning for themselves…There’s a chance that one of your frontline employees is having conversations with them – wouldn’t it be great to take some notes and gain insight from a different perspective?
A great example of this is food! We all know that if you go to a baseball game, two staple items are a hot dog and beer. Are you serving the hottest hot dogs on the freshest, least soggy buns that you possibly could? Is that beer the coldest, most refreshing drink you could serve from the cleanest concession stand you’ve ever had? If your hot dogs and beer aren’t on point and your concessions aren’t clean, that’s where you need to focus… not on that 7-layer dip that is pretty for Instagram posts! Cut all the noise.
Another example that immediately comes to mind is Zappos. Yes, at their core they sell shoes, but outside of shoes, what are they really known for? Their customer service! There are stories upon stories about how their customer service team goes above and beyond; it’s just who they are. I read this article about how Zappos is opening up their phone lines just for people to call in and chat during the pandemic—pretty amazing. I understand that not all of us can turn our call centers into chat centers, but they have taken something they do really, really well and made it even more amazing during the pandemic.
We all miss live events, and still don’t fully understand the consequences COVID-19 has had on our industry, we just know that we have a lot to overcome. Just remember, we are all memory makers. We create escapes. We give people something to cheer about and support even on their hardest days. These have been some hard days, but we have to find those silver linings and make them outshine all of the other stuff.
Better days are ahead!