I was feeling a bit nostalgic this week and as I looked back over our blog entries (178 of them since April 2010), I came across this article that I wrote about managing relationship and meeting expectation. It was a lovely reminded of how the DMC - Agent - Client relationship works, so I thought I'd re-blog and share it with those that missed it first time around.

Organised logistics, carefully planned travel and creative programs are all elements of an incentive program that clients will undoubtedly expect from their DMC. But is simply satisfying a minimum requirements enough? I don’t think it is. I believe that you should strive to meet client’s expectations, then push further to always exceed them.

All of the organizational and planning is in place before the group travel, but when they arrive at the destination, they’re in your hands and from then until they leave, you are responsible. So the million dollar question is, ‘how do manage relationships to exceed your clients expectations?’

The Tripartite Relationship

You – Your Client (Agent) – Your Client’s Client. (End Client) Or a less complicated version could simply be: You – Your Client (End Client)

This can be a pretty complicated communication circuit and its management is a critical factor in the overall success of the incentive trip.

For things to run smoothly you firstly need to work to complement the other authorities in the group, remembering that your performance not only reflects on your company, but also on your client’s reputation with their end client.

Depending on the roles of the individual authorities, the dynamics of the group and who is ‘perceived’ to be controlling the project on site can change dramatically.

For any of you that know me, you’ll know all to well that I’m a bit of a showman and I’ve no problem in taking center stage and control of running everything on an incentive trip. However, you might also be surprised to know that I can take a step back (!) and let others take control, if that’s what’s the situation requires.

This foresight is something that I’ve learnt over many years in the industry, and as I meet new clients in new situations, I’m always continuing to sharpen these intuitive skills. Reading the communication, and underlying tones between your client and their end client is the professional foresight required to manage this 3-way relationship, and to anticipate their evolving expectations and requirements as they unfold throughout the incentive trip.

When you have the confidence and intuition to step in and improve even the little things, you will exceed both clients’ expectations and add real value to their experience.

I tell my team that their main objective should always be to meet and then exceed client expectations. By doing this we are always working towards one of our ultimate goals, client retention – one of the most important criteria for building a successful future.

And just to finish, here’s a excerpt from an email I receive this week from a Hello Scotland client who had an incentive trip with us last weekend, who was thrilled at how we worked together for a great trip…

‘Dear Bill, you have a fantastic staff and team but of course you made the show during the trip although I know you had to be a bit in the background, but you still picked out your moments and on the Saturday you MADE the evening’…’you were great and thanks for everything, We were an A-TEAM!!!’

Warm wishes, Bill