Is The Customer Always Right?

Event planning isn’t just about making arrangements for a group of individuals to go somewhere or do something, and have a great time. It’s about relationships.

As I have said before, the WHY is your event objective. Yet this question is often given the least amount of attention.

We have all heard it a million times before: the customer is always right. While they may not always be right, meeting their expectations is key to a successful event.

Your client does not care how many other projects you may be working on at the moment. From their perspective, they are the most important person you will be talking to and working with today. Never ever forget this.

Insider Tip: Do a little research. What does your clients company do? Is the company local, national, global? Who is the competition? Having a basic understanding of their industry can go a long way.

It is much easier to meet and exceed client expectations if you know exactly what they need. The first question you should be asking in your initial discussion with the client is: What are your business objectives for this event?

Other questions that are often overlooked, but that you should be asking:

  1. What is the purpose of the event? (The purpose may not be the same as the objective.)
  2. What are the key messages you want to relay to your attendees?
  3. What are your expectations of the event?
  4. What are your expectations of the planner?

Knowing the objectives and key messages your client wishes to convey, will ensure you aren’t decorating the room with crystals and all matters of glitter if the message of the event is cutting costs and frugality.

You may have great ideas about particular venues to use, or décor, or speakers, but if these ideas even slightly contradict any of your clients objectives, don’t use them for this event.

Your client also wants to see value for their money. When working through the planning process, stop and consider how the event will look through the eyes of your client. Again, knowing something about their business and what they expect to achieve with the event will help you see that using green table linens (the color of the logo of their biggest competitor) is not your best choice.

Just as you are trying to build a relationship with your clients, they are trying to build relationships with their attendees. The relationships your client hopes to build could produce increased donations for a charity, improved employee morale, or increased sales.

Ensuring you are always considering your client’s point of view will enable you to support them in meeting their business objectives through great event planning. The added benefit is that knowing and understanding your clients business will help you better meet their needs, building your client relationships into strong partnerships, which will bring you recommendations, as well as repeat business.

Stay tuned for my next post on negotiating with vendors.

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