A Smile Lasts Forever, A Product Doesn’t: How Service Quality Affects Events?


Your event is defined by how your attendees feel when they leave. Service quality is the defining measure of how your attendees experience lived up to their expectation. This experience relates to both the physical event product and the interactions of your attendees with other attendees and your event staff. With expectations of level of event quality heightening in recent years and the metaphorical bar getting ever higher for event managers; what’s more important to your attendees, a great event product or great service in the delivery of that product?

The Importance Of A Great Event Product

The Event Programme: Although the quality of the event programme can often be difficult to measure, they form the core of any attendee experience at an event. The importance event programming has to event managers, is not just the impact it has in attracting attendees to an event, but is in the desired outcomes event managers input into their programmes and whether or not these are met. One key element of event programming is ensuring that event programmes do not ‘over-promise and under-deliver’ as in doing this event managers risk disappointing their attendees even though the programme that is delivered may be of a high quality.

Tangible Consumer Benefits: Collier (1994) recognises that there are a defined set of tangible consumer benefits that can have an effect on service quality at events. Tangible benefits for the consumer revolve around physical products available to the consumer at an event. These can often be sold through a contractor to the event and the quality management of such contractors and physical products forms a key part of ensuring the perceived level of service quality at your event remains high.

The Importance Of A Smile

A Smile From Guests: The relational factors between event attendees can often create a longer lasting impression on your consumers than the physical event product. Social interaction between event attendees can not only create a long lasting impression on attendees, but can also lead to an increase in discussion about your event on social media and thus act as a marketing tool for you event. Encouraging this dialogue and engaging attendees can often be a challenge for event managers, here are 4 steps you could try at your next event to make attendee engagement work for your event:

1. Get Personal – Give your attendees relevant content and help put them in touch with people who can help them get what they want out of the event.

2. Get Social – 40% of event marketers use social media to market their event, get involved and create a hashtag or a Facebook group for your next event.

3. Build A Community – Creating small groups can help you attendees build a smaller community feel and help them to engage better.

4. Get Mobile – People now spend almost twice as long on a mobile phone than at a laptop or a PC every day, mobile apps and real time interaction can help your event become a part of that.

A Smile From Staff: The SERVQUAL Scale developed in 1988 highlights the important role the gap between attendee expectation and service delivery level can have. Each and every interaction an attendee has with a member of event staff can be seen as a ‘moment of truth’ where a member of your staff has the direct ability to influence the experience of the attendee. It is vital that for all of these ‘moments of truth’, that your staff are properly trained as one poor response can destroy the service experience for the whole event for that attendee.

The event product carries an important weighting in the level of service quality that your event attendees experience. Ensuring the product is both attractive to attendees and also delivers to the level they expect is a key  focus of any event programming team. Unlike the event product, creating interaction between guests and attendees and creating the right interaction between you staff and your guests, can leave a long lasting impression of your event on an attendee. One staff member having a negative response to a guest can destroy the entire service experience for that attendee, but on the other hand, a staff member that smiles, lends a help-in-hand and understands the event they are talking about can create an experience that will stay with the attendee for a long time to come.


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