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.

One day you’re staging an event for a TV company.  The next you’re prepping equipment to be shipped cross-country.  And then you end the week saving the day by having an HDMI-DVI conversion ready to go for an event with a national charity.  In whatever city, or whatever state, the life of an Event Tech is never slow, and never monotonous.

If you want just the bare facts, we can tell you that they work with, set up, and operate audio and video equipment.  This can include connecting wires and cables; operating sound boards; preparing microphones, speakers, and projectors; and even setting up custom lighting systems.  But that’s like drawing a stick figure and hoping to understand how nerves and veins, muscles and bones, all work together to give us world record-breaking athletes. There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes.

They’ve got to know if presenters have flash drives, or need access to Google drive.  Are they Android or Apple users? Will they be syncing fireworks with a light show? Or managing multiple presentations at the same time in a massive conference hall?  Did they schedule three hours for set-up but a thunderstorm just rolled in, cutting the power? What’s the plan to break down and avoid disrupting attendees? Did someone really attempt to swing on a rigging point, practically bringing the entire system down?

Event crew don’t have their lives and jobs confined in a box. Whether they’ve supported 50 events or 500, nothing is ever the same.   

Their days might start before the crack of dawn and end at the midnight hour.  They might move from bus to car to plane in a punch-drunk state that ends with them falling into bed in an unknown city – after all, the name doesn’t matter as long as the bed is available.  Have you ever heard the song ‘Join the Circus’? The chorus entreats the listener with the refrain:

“Go to bed in Minneapolis, wake up in PA.

Pack your roll, your brush and your comb again,

Ready to roll again, ready to stray.”

It could’ve been written for any member on an event production team.

It’s not a life for the fainthearted.  Who else could show up to work, find the loading dock blocked by piles of toilets, and not just throw in the towel?  But, on the flip side, who else could live on site for a month, craft never-before-seen video screens, and ensure the success of an event that can mesmerize, engage, create visions to be remembered, or brings tears to the audience’s eyes?

They’ve got dust on their shoes from all fifty states, and met people from more walks of life than half of us can even imagine.  Yes, they live out of a suitcase, and they might go kind of mad around the third consecutive all-nighter – but its the madness of genius, of brilliance bubbling to life, that will keep everything from going wrong, and ensure the crew’s invisibility remains intact.  After all, no one should know a Producer is the one pulling the strings, but their invisibility is only as good as their tech skills.

But they aren’t in it alone.  They’ve got unbreakable bonds with other technicians, coordinators, rental houses, stage managers, lighting and projection operators, and the list goes on and on.  These are relationships formed while making the impossible possible, slaying dragons with wits and endless bags of tricks, and ending the day knowing it would not have happened without these people by your side.

It’s a family.  To quote another song, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”  And most Event pros would ask you, “Why would I ever want to?”

The madness and travel might all be part of the job, but accidents are not. Our biggest asset is our crew and we make sure that everyone is highly trained and have strict safety procedures in place. This is truly a family where we look out for one another, help make the environment safety first and ensure the continued success of each other. Learn more about our Health & Safety policies.  

John DoyleJohn Doyle is a modest man whose career in the audiovisual industry once let him see Ginger Rogers give a dance lesson to a few Washington D.C. news correspondents. He’s worked with everyone from major insurance companies to John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson. He’s the man behind the curtain who makes sure events and conferences go so smoothly, no one ever has to ask, “Why did that just happen?” We think it’s fair to say his work blazed a trail for the audiovisual industry in Chicago. How did he do it? What has it been like? What’s his favorite song? Does he remember any of Ginger’s moves?
Read more

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.
Read more

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.

Read more

In July 2018, Complete Crewing announced the appointment of a new CEO and majority owner, Dan Kantor.  Complete Crewing went on to have a record year, and we look forward to making 2019 even better.  We aren’t only excited for ourselves, either.  A new year brings new opportunities and experiences for the entire Events and Meeting Industry.  Take a look at just a few changes on the horizon and get ready to experience events like never before.
Read more

It’s holiday time, which means frightful weather, figgy pudding, and plenty of rockin’ around the Christmas tree!  Or something like that, anyways.  We think we can all agree that it definitely means a lot of activity and little rest – even when we have visions of pajamas and lazy mornings dancing in our heads.  We’re huge fans of a good time, but too little focus on nutrition and rest can lead to an overworked brain and body, which affects on-the-job judgment and energy.  We’re invested in the safety, health and welfare of people at work, so what can be done to enhance our health during this chaotic, but wonderful season?  Read on for tips on improving safety and productivity, while still having a grand old time.
Read more