Accidents happen.  They can be small (spilling wine over your new carpet) or big (leaving a forklift parked on a dock plate), but they do happen.  They don’t have to happen though, and it’s up to each one of us to minimize both the occurrence, and the level of catastrophe. A live event often has as many elements as a construction project. If you aren’t constantly on your A-game, accidents can happen.  This is why it is paramount to develop a corporate culture of safety and maintain safe work practices in order to protect our crew and our clients.  Everyone we work with is family, and we don’t want anything bad happening to family.

So, what are we doing about it?  We’re glad you asked.  Complete Crewing already works to maintain and adhere to OSHA protocols. We are an ETCP (Entertainment Technician Certification Program) recognized employer and an affiliated supporter of the Event Safety Alliance (ESA). Through our participation in these programs we reinforce our commitment to provide safe working conditions and awareness within our workforce.  We love those programs and we’ve learned a lot from them.  Now we want to take our proactive measures farther.  

We’re excited to announce the creation of our SEE (Safety in Events and Entertainment) Safety Awareness Training Program.

Why SEE?  Because, the best way to create a safe workplace is to prepare crews to “SEE” potential safety risks and correct them before any incident occurs – and that’s exactly what we are setting out to do.  We’re developing SEE to aid our managers and employees in providing the safest workplace possible for everyone: crews and co-workers, clients, and event attendees.  

Our new program has three parts:

1-Complete Crewing’s OSHA 10 Outreach Training

2-ESA’s Event Safety Access Training (ESAT)

3-Newly created Complete Crewing Safety Awareness Modules

SEE starts with a mandatory 10-hour OSHA outreach training for all our job site coordinators as a foundation.  While OSHA mandates some parts of the curriculum, it also allows for tailoring.  We’ve worked with the Health & Safety Institute, our online learning partner, to design our online OSHA 10 training to align with the OSHA 10 Outreach Curriculum used by major trade unions and professional associations in the event and entertainment industries.  Our elective modules deal with important topics like Scaffolding and Mobile/Powered Work Platforms, Electrical Safety, and Fall Protection.

Next, our supervisors complete ESA’s Event Safety Access Training to supplement the program and cover any material that those working in an event environment need to know.  ESAT course units cover Event Injury Hazards and Controls, Personal Protective Equipment, and other important health and safety concepts.

Finally, we’ve created several original modules to further enhance safety awareness.  We’ve used our extensive experience in the events industry to provide the information we see as being most beneficial in helping our crews minimize safety risks to themselves and others.  For example, one of our modules covers Ergonomics, Material Handling, & Safe Loading.  No matter your role in the industry, one or more of these topics matters to you and your health.  

As we continue developing and strengthening our program, we look forward to attending this year’s annual Event Safety Summit, hosted by the ESA.  Our affiliation with ESA has contributed greatly to our SEE program, and we know this year’s event will be incredibly valuable for all attendees, and us, as it is every year.  The 2019 Summit features nearly 30 presentations and workshops, along with networking opportunities that explore how each individual’s safety responsibilities influence an event’s overall environment.  We’re excited to have our team attend a wide variety of presentations and incorporate what we learn into further development of our SEE program.  

We encourage you to take a look, and send someone from your company to benefit from this worthwhile event.

Bottom line: safety awareness requires the commitment of us all.  When it comes to taking care of yourself and creating a safe working environment, we’ve got your back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete Crewing would like to introduce Eric Eaton, our new Labor Coordinator, and Jessica Sutton, our new Payroll Administrator.  We’re excited to add these two highly qualified and talented individuals to our team. We know their knowledge and experience will further solidify Complete Crewing as the leader in the Event Production and Payroll industries throughout Chicago and the United States.

Eric “Sluggo” has been in the industry for twenty-plus years, and his background has him ready to tackle just about any challenge out there.  In his own words, he’ll be working as an account representative, and helping to staff and budget shows appropriately. After so many years in the events and entertainment industry, he’s built a great group of contacts.  He’s excited to take all his accumulated skills and those contacts to succeed in his new role as Labor Coordinator.  

Eric has worked with top-level talent, including Top Rank Boxing, OzzFest, Prince, John Mellencamp, Julio Iglesias, Marilyn Manson, James Taylor, David Gray, U2, Pearl Jam, Kid Rock, and many others.  He has vast experience with indoor and outdoor concert builds all across North America, and has worked in every state except Alaska. He is familiar with venues such as MGM Grand Garden Arena, Madison Square Garden, Mandalay Bay, Atlantic City, and the AT&T Stadium, to name just a few; not to mention multiple amphitheatres and outdoor festivals.

No matter the location or the performance, Eric oversaw all of the lighting and video set-up, as well as the break-down.  He knows how to design for the best show possible no matter the unique requirements from the client or the venue. He’s worked through the elements, whether excessive heat in Texas or pouring rain in North Carolina; and designed sets from the ground up for arenas with 360 degree seating, venues with a stage at one end, and venues with no walls.  Through it all, he’s maintained that the important thing is good communication, and treating everyone with fairness and respect. According to Eric, that’s the best way to ensure all the details are taken care of and the show is a success. 

Before jumping into the staging and events industry, Eric worked as a clown on stilts out on the ice with Disney on Ice’s production of Hercules.  After that experience, he joined the lighting and transport company Upstaging, Inc. He started out in the warehouse, and eventually joined the road crew and worked his way up to Crew Chief for Lighting and Video.  After traveling and touring for a few years, he transitioned to Shop Foreman, where he managed around 200 people.

Eric’s career eventually took him to Christie Lites Chicago, VER, Solotech, and Legacy Production Group.  He’s worked as an Operations Manager, a Senior Lead Branch-Lighting Department Manager, Operations Director, and Shop Manager.  Eric’s built several rigging and lighting departments from the ground up, and proved that he has what it takes to adapt and overcome – no matter the challenge.  It’s great to have him at Complete Crewing. 

Jessica is excited to join Complete Crewing as a Payroll Administrator, and help out the team while learning valuable skills that will help her achieve her goal of one day being a Comptroller or CFO.

“I’m thrilled to have Jess on the team. Her inquisitiveness, accuracy, and wonderful attitude are qualities that will help fortify the corporate infrastructure, preparing us to grow further nationally.” – Dan Kantor “President”

Jess holds an M.S. in Taxation from DePaul University and a B.A. in Accounting from Robert Morris University. She has a professional background in data entry, tax preparation, analyzing and auditing, and, of course, payroll.  With those skills, it’s no surprise that she is skilled in paying close attention to detail and managing a lot of moving parts. 

Eric and Jess, welcome to the team!

Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

For most of us, school eventually ends.  We stop riding the school bus, we stop meeting friends at lockers, and we stop planning out study schedules and extra credit opportunities.  That can be a relief, honestly, but we should never let ourselves stop learning. We can listen to podcasts, read books, chat with colleagues and friends about different fields and experiences, and sign up for professional courses and certificates.  If there’s one thing that’s true across every industry, it’s that the world is not the same as it was when you started your job. Integrating new skills into your repertoire isn’t only good for keeping you young, it helps you transform yourself and your business. 

At Complete Crewing, we know a key way to sustain our creativity and passion is through continuous training.  Learning new skills keeps us on our toes, and refreshing old skills keeps us at the top of our game. This is especially important when it comes to safety training.  We’re a team and our team stays strong by staying safe. We continuously make sure our crew are aware of the types of hazards in our industry, and training in Health and Safety through OSHA, ETCP, and the Event Safety Alliance is an important standard of our company.

If you’d like to challenge yourself and learn something new, check out the following resources:

Training Opportunities through AVIXA

AVIXA™ is the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, and Complete Crewing is a member.  AVIXA combines resources for certifications, trainings, market intelligence, and thought leadership, and works with professionals from more than 80 countries.  They provide training for teams and individuals on the topics of: General Knowledge, Installation, Design, Technology Management, Live Events, Networking and Technology, and Project Management and Business Development.  Their offered certifications include CTS, CTS-I, and CTS-D.  

Some upcoming classes include:

  • September 18th Webinar: Hearing What Isn’t Said – Better Communication for Greater Success
  • October 9th Webinar: Experiential Content for Any Display Technology

Courses and Certifications through PCMA

PCMA was founded in Philadelphia, PA, as the Professional Convention Management Association.  It is a leader in professional and personal development, and business growth and success. It has 7,000 members (we are one of them), and is active in 30 countries.  It offers multiple educational opportunities, including:

  • CMP Online Prep
  • DES Certification
  • Conference and Event Professional Certificate Course
  • CMP Convene Series
  • PCMA Business Event Bootcamp

OSHA Education Center

At Complete Crewing, all of our labor coordinators are OSHA Card holders, which is achieved upon successful completion of the 10-hour or 30-hour OSHA Outreach courses.  The OSHA Education Center offers OSHA training to construction and general industry workers nationwide. They offer group rates for corporate accounts, and online courses.

Choose Chicago

If you’re looking for some tools to help you learn more about hosting an event in Chicago, this is a great resource.  Choose Chicago offers a bimonthly Meeting Professionals newsletter; a venue search tool; and a Meetings Marketing Toolkit.  

As always, if you need a personalized touch and desire in-depth information on hosting an event, reach out to our team.  We are a single source for all your local crew needs, and offer detailed crew budgets and schedules with no surprises. We combine decades of experience with continuous learning, and that helps us bring our clients successful shows and complete satisfaction every day.

importance of customer service in event management

In the world of event management, we often think about success in terms of “Did we hit the lighting cue on time?” “Did the event come in under budget?” “Did security keep the attendees safe?”

While these are important aspects of a successful event, there’s another, higher-level idea that can impact whether an event was successful: “Did the customer feel like they were taken care of?”  In other words, did they receive excellent customer service?

So, what does customer service in event planning mean? At Complete Crewing, we believe it means anticipating the needs of the client and being concerned for the entire customer experience from beginning to end. It means treating customers and each other with dignity and respect. It can mean simple things like saying “Thank you.” It can mean solving a complex production problem quickly before it affects the run-of-show. And when something isn’t right, whether it’s something within our control or “gremlins in the system,” we believe in taking ownership for making it right. Quickly. Without pointing fingers.

Focusing on the importance of customer service in  event management can have a profound impact on the events industry, and on your bottom line. It’s worth delving into further.

The Customer Experience

Regardless of the work you do – from setting breakout projectors to designing a complex stage with laser effects to the company finance manager handling invoicing back in the home office – by looking at things from the customer’s perspective, you can help transform the events business into an even more successful industry.

Where to start? The first step in good customer relationships is treating people as you’d like to be treated – following the “Golden Rule.” This is often as simple as the attitude you bring to a situation. Be patient. Listen to the concerns of the customer. Respond quickly and efficiently.

There are many things that can affect the customer’s experience that are outside your control. Maybe this is their first time speaking to a large audience and they’re nervous. Maybe it’s a make-or-break moment to get their company funded and they’re anxious about their future success. Whatever the situation, they’ll have some strong feelings associated with being there. By being attuned to the customer, you’ll help ensure a better outcome for them, and they’ll be more likely to rehire your organization for their next event, or recommend you to others.

Act as a Partner, Not Just a Vendor

There’s a difference between just being a vendor or supplier and acting as a partner. A vendor is more worried about simply finishing the assignment and getting paid. A partner thinks of themselves as having a vested interest in the success of a project or event, and teams with the customer to find the best results.

At Complete Crewing, we strive to treat our customers as partners. We focus on a great customer experience, and we take pride in our clients’ success. This gives us a deep connection with our customers and keeps bringing them back year after year.

Problems Happen – It’s How You Respond That Matters

From needing a fresh set of batteries for a lavaliere in the middle of an executive panel to finding the right loading dock for load-in, there are a million things that can – and do – go wrong in event management. It seems inevitable. And often the smallest detail can have the biggest impact on an event.

But how the client feels about the event doesn’t have to be dictated by what went wrong. If you focus on providing great customer service along the way, that can mean the difference between success and failure.

In the events industry, long hours and hard labor are the norm. When we get tired, it’s easy to make mistakes. We’ve made them, and it’s safe to say you have memories of when things didn’t go exactly as planned.

Fortunately, surveys show that when a customer experiences a problem and you resolve it for them to their satisfaction, they are a happier client and you’re more likely to get their repeat business than if nothing had gone wrong in the first place.  Here is an article on the topic.

How to Get the Best Customer Service

Here are some event customer service tips to make sure you are getting the best event management customer service when selecting a company. As mentioned above, make sure you are being treated like a partner and that the company you’re working with has your best interests in mind.

What does that look like? You should be given the opportunity to explain your goals and clearly describe what success looks like. Does the company you’re working with ask many questions before proposing ideas, or are they giving you cookie-cutter suggestions?

Once you’ve shared your goals, they should follow up quickly and accurately, demonstrating that they were listening to your needs by proposing ideas that fit your goals and your budget.

Lastly, they should be straightforward about their limitations, describing what they can and can’t accomplish for you. This sets proper expectations and helps avoid disappointment or a failure to deliver on promises.

How Service Providers Can Embody the Importance of Customer Service in Event Management

In order to ensure event success, and to limit or reduce any problems, there are several steps you can take. First, start with excellent communication, before, during and after a project. This is critical and helps avoid misunderstandings while setting expectations of what you can and can’t deliver.

It’s also helpful to know how to address poor customer service during an event. If a problem happens, work with the customer to outline a way to resolve the situation, identifying a fair approach to the resolution. Begin by acknowledging the problem quickly, rather than looking for a scapegoat or excuse, being sure to listen carefully and with empathy. Next, look into the issue, researching why it happened. Then, offer solutions and work together with the customer to resolve the issue fairly.

Once you’ve identified the cause and determined a solution, put processes in place to avoid a repeat of the problem and be sure to communicate those changes to the customer. This will give them confidence that you heard them, you responded appropriately, and it won’t happen again. This will also help rebuild trust and retain them for future business.

The steps above are the guiding principles at Complete Crewing. We take the importance of customer service in event management and problem resolution very seriously, and consider it a bond with our customers. We believe customer service means being concerned for the entire customer experience from beginning to end and our entire team is dedicated to these ideals.

By applying some of these principles to your day-to-day work, you can help ensure success for your organization and for the events industry as a whole.

About Complete Crewing

Complete Crewing provides event producers, AV staging companies and technical directors with quality stagehand crews and corporate media technicians in Chicago and across the nation. We pride ourselves in developing proactive crewing solutions for our production clientele.

We develop labor budgets for customers during the proposal or pre-production phase. Complete Crewing reviews the event scope, schedule, technology requirements, and venue labor jurisdictions to develop crew schedules, timelines and costs for any or all positions. As the employer of record we take care of all payroll taxes, benefit payments and insurance. We provide prompt, accurate billing, payroll and HR.

About the Position

The Audio Visual/Production Labor Service Coordinator reports to VP of Labor and Logistics. In this role, the Labor Service Coordinator will:

  • Take client calls and assist staff relating to future and present labor jobs
  • Advise clients on labor and logistics best practices
  • Create labor budgets and place crew calls
  • Interface with venues and vendors, and handle various accounts from quote through final billing
  • Coordinate local union and non-union crews on site as needed
  • Maintain accountability and follow-through on all responsibilities

Duties and Responsibilities of the Audio Visual/Production Labor Service Coordinator

The duties and responsibilities of the Audio Visual/Production Labor Service Coordinator include, but are not limited to:

  • Advise and counsel to clients on best practices for crewing
  • Interact with clients and staff to consult and quote on labor
  • Prepare and deliver budgets and proposals
  • Order and confirm crews as appropriate
  • Maintenance of current changes on all labor paperwork
  • Obtain timely sign-offs and deposit payments prior to jobs
  • Client contact and labor coordination on job sites
  • Document job processes during budget training
  • Document processes during CRM training
  • Reconcile actual hours and changes for billing in a timely manner
  • Maintain employee and financial records for payroll purposes
  • Observe and implement established policies and procedures
  • Supervise crew to ensure safety and client satisfaction on show site
  • Make recommendations for improved procedures
  • Follow up on all duties and reporting on progress, or obstacles
  • Special projects as needed
  • General assistance and support to the President
  • Assistance to others in the Company as needed based on workflow
  • Participation in Company’s call coverage rotation system
  • Availability by phone as an emergency contact
  • Timely attendance at the office and on show calls

Required Qualifications

Qualified candidates should have:

  •  5 years of Event Production experience
  • Knowledge of operating in Chicago Hotels and McCormick Place
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred
  • OSHA-10 Certification preferred but not required.
  • Must be located in Chicago, IL

Compensation

Complete Crewing offers vacation, health insurance, and a 401K as negotiated and agreed to during the hiring process. Compensation is dependent on level of experience.

How to Apply to the Audio Visual/Production Labor Service Coordinator Position:

If you meet the requirements for the Audio Visual/Production Labor Service Coordinator role, please apply on LinkedIn.

Complete Crewing may be based in Chicago, but we work with people and events all around the United States.  For over twenty years, we’ve provided production labor services for events from Los Angeles, CA to Boston, MA.  That’s more than two decades of building trusted relationships and creating streamlined processes to give our clients the best possible service no matter where their events take them.
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We have a culture of service and teamwork that has only become more entrenched and on display over the last month. A series of family medical emergencies, weather related issues, large events, and renovation and infrastructure projects were no match for this team. Everyone came together and conquered all seemingly without pause.

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