June 15th, 2020
During a pandemic, apparently, you have time to think and reflect. April, May and early June is usually an extremely busy time of year. We are swamped with a variety of functions. Spring weeks / weekends, senior weeks, proms, post-graduation parties, bring your child to work days, town days and much more normally populate our calendar. Covid-19 had other plans that forced an almost complete shutdown of our company. Luckily, we were able to pivot and create some virtual programs. Without the usual frenetic pace, there has been more time to thoroughly read emails, including several unwanted solicitations from vendors that I have never heard of. At first the protocol was deleting, don’t read and continue with the day. After a while curiosity got the better of me and I started to read them. That may have been a mistake.
Many of these solicitations are from Web designers or SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts that left me thoroughly unimpressed. First, many of the emails were addressed to Hi or Dear Abrahams or no salutation at all. One was addressed to HI ABRAHAMS, KEN, yes just like that in all caps. Then, according to the emails, they had done research on our industry and they could put me on the top of any Google search. They had been researching our industry? Our industry right now is hanging on by a thread. News flash, we do large events and work with the hospitality industry. There are no large-scale events happening right now and the hospitality industry is at a standstill. What exactly did you research? Not to mention, web design and SEO are somewhat technical operations, one would think that you should be able to handle a simple mail merge address field. It is clear, that they have done very little, if any, research and simply purchased a list, created a piece, and hit send. If their goals were to make me feel valued and wanted, it had the opposite effect.
In this difficult time, it is also disheartening that some of the organizations and associations that we belong to, and vendors that we work with, have sent out equally tone-deaf communications. They have provided little or no direction on whether conferences will be in person or virtual, some waiting until just weeks before to decide that they are pulling the plug or going virtual. Some that have moved virtually are giving no price reduction despite never having done a large-scale event virtually before. Several thousand dollars out of pocket to be a Guinea Pig? Thanks, but I’ll pass. Being bombarded with offers from vendors in our field, offering great deals to companies that have essentially been shuttered for 3+ months seems especially thoughtless.
To our customers, if I have ever bombarded you with insensitive or incorrectly addressed emails or snail mail, please accept my apologies. If you have ever felt as if, we as a company or I as an individual, have taken you for granted, please accept my heartfelt apology. That is never our intention. We value and cherish the relationships we have with each and every one of you. We have tried to be sensitive, putting your needs before our own by evaluating our correspondence, newsletters, social media, as well as our sales avenues from the beginning of this whole thing. We wanted our clients to know that we are here for them but made sure not to push sales at this time. Do we need the business? Yes, but we value our clients more. We have also adjusted our pricing to reflect the unfamiliar territory we are in for virtual events. No client has been a guinea pig that didn’t know about it and offered an additional discount because of it. Everyone had to start somewhere, and we remain open and honest with our clients when we are trying new things. Fun Enterprises is, and always has been, a customer service-based company, not even a pandemic will change that.
When I originally started to write this blog that was where it was supposed to end. Like I said earlier, without the hustle and bustle of the “normal” spring, I have had a lot of time on my hands. As has previously been mentioned, we had to lay our office staff because of the Pandemic. Many of the tasks that are done by others in the office are now being handled by me. It has been a long time since I had to even think about a “schedule”. That is in quotes because the schedule right now is nothing like it usually would be the first two weeks of June with some dates needing almost 20 staff members. Still, it is a task that I am unused to doing. Candidly, not that we are sending out a ton of thank you notes, but I miss Deb addressing all the envelopes. Truthfully, it made the whole process easier.
To all our staff at FUN, I am sorry if I haven’t shown you proper appreciation for what you have done. There are times when I haven’t listened to some of the suggestions that were made, often that were right on point. For that I am sorry. At times, I have cancelled or put off meetings with you and I was wrong. You are an amazing team and you are all sorely missed. There is an old saying that sometimes we don’t know what we have until it is gone, that applies to me right now. I can’t wait to have you all back in the office.
About the Author
Ken Abrahams is co-Owner of FUN Enterprises, Inc. Over the years he has made a lot of mistakes, picked himself up, dusted himself off and made a whole bunch of different mistakes. Luckily, he is surrounded, personally and professionally, by some very forgiving people. If you enjoyed this make sure to check out his other blogs at https://funent.com/blog
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