corporate.trivia.party.entertainment.jpgCorporate trivia party entertainment

Well, it’s finally over. After weeks or months of careful planning – contracts, customization calls, researching & writing customized trivia questions, assigning staff, putting out fires and everything else I do – the corporate entertainment event, team building activity or office trivia party has finally happened, and seems to have gone smoothly.

TrivWorks’ job is done, correct?

No!

Not by a long shot. Now comes the most important part (for me, anyway, as the CEO of the company): soliciting client feedback.

I’ll be honest, I used to hate asking for feedback – in fact, I actively avoided it. Why would I want to find out what went wrong? I’d much rather do the gig, see everybody laugh and have a good time, and be on my way knowing that I’d put another successful event in the books.

But that’s not the right way to do it. Here is an explanation for what IS the right way – and why.

What is Feedback?

First, let’s take a step back and ask a seemingly fundamental question: what is feedback, anyway? One of the reasons I used to loathe the word is because I used to associate it with just one thing: criticism. Like everybody else, I HATE being told what I did wrong – especially with corporate trivia events, which I’m supposedly quite good at producing and hosting!

But I was wrong back then, and have since matured to better understand just what feedback is. It’s not an excuse for somebody to criticize, complain or disparage: rather, it’s a way to directly deliver an honest view of how things went. If I can delve into a bit of psychology here, we all have what are referred to as “known unknowns” – things which others can see about us, but which we ourselves cannot. Feedback is a means of providing a window so that we CAN see what everyone else can see, without being blinded by our own judgment, vantage point, or proximity to the trees in the forest.

Why is Feedback Important?

Honest feedback is the fastest way to grow. That’s it. When you put your heart and soul into something like I do, or like my emcees, producers and other staff do, we WANT to do a great job for you; we WANT to get better. Personally, I want to make every aspect of the event as easy as possible for all involved.

Your feedback is the way we accomplish this.

Of course it’s great to hear what went right. This isn’t just to make me feel good (which, I readily admit, it does); rather, it’s an affirmation that things went the way they were supposed to go. The system worked, if you will – which is exactly what I want to hear. It’s also the only way I can know this for sure; it doesn’t matter if I see the event and think everything went well myself – you, the CLIENT has to think it went well!

But it’s the other side of the coin which is truly important, and which I as the business owner want to know: what DIDN’T go well? What could have been done better or differently, which would have made for a smoother, more enjoyable experience? There is truly just one way for me to know this (especially now that I live in California am no longer personally attending every event like I used to), and I count on candid feedback from clients to tell me what if anything didn’t go according to plan.

How Do You Solicit Feedback from Clients?

Like I stated above, I used to avoid this part. The event would end, I’d say my goodbyes, and send a “Thank You” Email the next day (usually with a gift of some sort to follow by mail later in the week). If the client took the opportunity to tell me either in person or via Email afterwards that something could have gone better, I would consider this “constructive criticism” and move on.

But today, it’s not like that at all. The day after an event, I am on the phone with my client, asking directly: do you have any feedback to share? In fact, it’s more than that – I usually say some variant of, “I’d love to hear any feedback you have about the event, and how it was received by you and your group – what went well, what could have been done differently…?”

It’s a HUGE shift, but one which I am so glad I do. For one thing, I think it’s a means of providing better client service. My clients are for the most part taking a risk by bringing in a professional game show trivia event supplier, which most have never done before. My prices are also not cheap. It’s therefore not fair for me to NOT offer them an opportunity to share any feedback they have with me.

This took me a while to understand, but soliciting feedback also makes me appear more professional. By inquiring directly, “what if anything could I have done better,” it shows that I have the confidence in my product and myself to be able to even ask the question. Avoiding the conversation, as I used to do, was a passive aggressive means of avoiding criticism. It was also a subtle way of communicating that I wasn’t entirely confident in what I was doing – which in the early days may, on some level, have been true.

What Do I Do With the Feedback?

Whenever I receive feedback on an event – be it good or bad – the first thing I always do is thank the client. And not in a superficial way – I truly mean it. As stated above, this is the ONLY way I can learn what’s working, and what’s not. I equate it to shipbuilding: I can build my boat as airtight as I possibly can, but it’s not until it’s actually in the water when I can see where the leaks are. Feedback is how I spot and repair those leaks.

Once the feedback is received, I ACT. One thing about me, I’m a fast learner. I want to repair those “leaks” as quickly as I can, to ensure that they don’t happen again. If it’s something that I personally could have done differently or better, you can rest assured I will NEVER make that mistake again. If there was something one of my emcees or staff could have done to make for a better client experience, I address it with them swiftly – also to ensure that there are no repeats.

I’d like to conclude by saying that it’s not just my clients I seek feedback from. I always solicit from the emcees and staff as well; they’re the ones working closest with me on these team trivia events for corporate groups, after all. You can read about the post-gig “hang” I’m a fan of by clicking this link.

For further reading on soliciting feedback – particularly negative feedback –  visit https://hbr.org/2018/03/how-to-solicit-negative-feedback-when-your-manager-doesnt-want-to-give-it