Meetings

Meetings Memo: Joe Knows

By / Apr 1, 2016 (MariuszBlach/ThinkStock)

Ask Joe, a revved-up customer service initiative at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo, kept attendees moving.

As attendees roamed the show floor at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in November, they didn’t have to worry about asking for directions or where the closest cup of coffee was.

Why? Because they could “Ask Joe.”

AAPEX, produced by the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association, positioned 35 staff members throughout the expo hall and in custom-designed Ask Joe Service Stations—a nod to the industry the show represents—to answer questions and help attendees find the way to their next stop. To help them stand out, the “Joes” wore custom shirts like those that automotive-service professionals, a large buyer group at the event, don daily.

“Similar to the Ask Joes who are the most important point of contact with attendees, automotive-service professionals are the most important point of contact with consumers who rely on them to diagnose, service, and repair today’s high-tech vehicles,” says Rich White, senior vice president at the Auto Care Association.

Becoming a Joe was no easy task. Employees interested in the role needed to audition by showing event management how they would greet and interact with attendees. Those chosen received additional customer service training before the show.

Attendees who didn’t need full service from the Joes could take advantage of self-serve stations, which allowed them to search for exhibitors and products and then print the results.

At the close of AAPEX, the team made one final appearance. In group formation, the Joes delivered high fives and boisterous “thank yous” to attendees as they exited the event at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas.

Did the hard work pay off? It sure did: 93 percent of attendees surveyed said AAPEX met or exceeded their expectations—a number that event organizers credit to this customer service initiative.

Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now. More »

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