Be honest. How much time (in the normal world that we all hope we're re-entering) do you spend inputting information into your system about customers, bookings, tasks, reminders?
And how much time do you spend inputting information held in your system onto other platforms - emails, marketing sites, accounting packages, CRM software?
We spent 6 months in the second half of 2019 with event and meeting professionals getting to the bottom of what the biggest challenges were to converting business in the most profitable way.
There were two consistent themes identified:
- Live booking would be great for small meetings and simple events but didn't work for larger events and might result in missed opportunities to win business
- Processes were full of repetitive, low complexity tasks that needed doing but were slowing teams down
So we described a system that could address these challenges in a way that ensured customer service was enhanced rather than diminished. And the response was 'sounds amazing, but how can you actually do that?"
And then we built Switch. And the pandemic came. And so we gave it a right good polish so that as our customers started using it and needed a big recovery boost, it accelerated their chances of success, rather than slowed them down.
You see, these issues are not ones that technology can't solve, these are issues that existing technology didn't solve.
We've seen so many examples of teams tackling tasks then entering data into a system to create a record. The tail wagging the dog.
We wanted teams to define the work and then the system to do it.
The key was to create a solution that let each venue define their particulars when it came to processes, with the tools to configure the system as they wished, and then have it do the heavy lifting based on these rules.
We built our live booking and customer portal tools first, allowing venues to determine which types of events they could offer instant booking for through their website, and which remained enquiry driven. And giving their customers a unique self-service online planning tool to make changes, pay, invite guests and instant message the venue team. Again with the level of instant action controlled by the venues rules. Want customers to pay online but have to come to you to make changes? No problem.
So we set about dealing with the second big challenge, eradicating repetitive, low complexity tasks. Letting venues define what these tasks were, what triggered them needing to be done and what action need to take place when that trigger occured.
And we built Workflow. A tool that lets busy event and meeting professionals schedule these jobs once, let the system manage them thereafter, and move on to the really valuable work of sales and service delivery.
Check it out in the video!
Here's some examples of what jobs you might want to Schedule Once, and Move On from:
- Putting setup time in before each booking, and cleaning time in afterwards, to avoid other bookings being scheduled in the same space when the room isn't ready or being prepared -
A booking is the trigger. The action is to automatically drop setup and cleaning in the calendar either side of it. All you need to decide is how much time you want for each!
- Sending work diary reports to front of house for the week ahead, and sending monthly budget reports to finance -
Dates are the trigger (week before for the former, beginning of month for the latter). The action is to send specific reports to specific users. All you need to decide is what days and frequency you want to send reports, and to whom!
- Requesting menu choices from customer guests -
Booking type is the trigger (one with a menu selection). The action is to send an email request with a link to guests to make selections. All you need to do is to get the customer to upload their guest list to the Switch customer portal!
- Chasing payment and requesting feedback -
Again, a booking is the trigger with an added rule to check payment status. The action is then to issue an email requesting payment of the balance where it is outstanding and providing a link to your chosen feedback provider so they can review their experience. All you need to do is is decide how long after the booking date you want to schedule the send. And if you want payment reminders and feedback requests to be two separate actions? No problem!
You can literally set up Switch workflows to deal with any scheduling, communications, task allocation or reporting activity. You just need:
- A trigger - something that tells Switch the job needs doing - a date, event, status change
- A rule - what that trigger needs to look like to make the action happen, i.e. date is last friday of the month, occasion is wedding
- An action - what happens when the trigger meets that rule - schedule an task, send an email, share a report