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Delighting the Trade Show Customer



If you have a lot of repeat or long-standing customers, you might assume that you have been providing them with ideal customer service. But in reality, these customers might only be mildly satisfied – ordering from you out of convenience or habit rather than out of any real brand loyalty.

The problem with mere satisfaction is that is something all buyers naturally expect to feel when making a purchase. To earn true loyalty, you need to exceed these expectations in a way that leaves a lasting impression. Consider the following:

  • Eighty percent of businesses believe they provide excellent customer service, but only eight percent of customers think so.
  • Customers that you delight are five to six times more likely to give you repeat business than the ones you merely satisfy.
  • Long-standing customers typically spend two-thirds more than new ones, yet are said to cost 10 times less to acquire, sell to, and manage.
  • Delighted customers tend to be less price sensitive. This can be advantageous when a competitor has the price advantage.
  • Delighted customers often go from quiet consumers to active evangelists, helping to sell your brand.
  • Long-term commitment to customer delight can help boost your brand awareness/recall, due to your exceptional service differentiation.


  • Personalize whenever possible. Handwritten thank you’s or a follow-up a phone call or e-mail can be very memorable in this era of automated fulfillment and marketing.
  • Find them savings opportunities. Offering an unexpected discount or including a surprise freebie with a product or service, is not something customers are used to in today’s Big Box or e-tailers environment, but it’s something that most smaller exhibitors can do with ease, regardless of whether you offer products or services.
  • Listen and take notes. Follow the old 80/20 rule of spending 80% of your time listening and asking questions of the customer, and only 20% of your time talking. And when you get a valuable piece of insight on the customer’s passions or pain points, include a note about in your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or help desk software so that your other team members can engage with that client in the future on a more personal level.
  • Solve problems quickly. Speedy resolution of concerns or the inevitable order problems is one of the best ways to provide a sense of relief and gratitude. Empower staff with ways to solve problems or escalate them to an in-house specialist. Again, follow-up calls or surveys go a long way to letting the customer know you care about how their issue was handled.
  • Pick up the phone. Instead of relying on e-mail or the scheduled trade show meet-and-greet, pick up the phone and talk with customers.
  • Make the client comfortable at trade shows. Greet them personally and offer them a chance to unwind and talk informally in your booth or at a VIP event. Make it abundantly clear that they’re not just a trade show attendee with whom you’re making small talk.

Surprising and delighting your client is more than just some marketing buzzword. It’s an integral part of the customer service process that is absolutely critical when your competitor’s websites are just a mouse click away.

About the Author

Kristi Boggess has been with Skyline Trade Show Marketing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, since 2004. In her position as a Senior Exhibit Design Consultant, her goal is always to help her clients get the most out of their trade show and event marketing. Kristi loves sharing ideas on how Skyline can make her clients stand out and make a lasting impression for years to come. She has a knack for finding the perfect solution for all types of customers (large or small) in Eastern and Central Iowa.

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