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  • When business is your life.

    Tradeshows in the Dark Ages

    Dear Tradeshow Organizer,

    Why didn’t you sign up for the online ordering option for carpet, furniture, electrics, and every other standard service at a tradeshow? Why do you insist on making me fill out 10 different forms, fax or scan+email them back to you, and email you to request a confirmation of receipt and an actual receipt for my payment? Further, why don’t you take my AMEX credit card in Europe? Is it really that much more expensive? Surely it’s more expensive to process a wire transfer or company check than it is to pay whatever fees AMEX will charge you to operate in Europe!

    Signed,

    A Frustrated Marketer

    Alright, readers, that’s my annoying rant for the morning, but there is some truth to what I’m saying. This is a worldwide show, with hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees, and the provider of the tradeshow services has provided online ordering for several shows that I’ve been involved in. In addition to making it less of a hassle for me to do the ordering, it seems like it should be less of a hassle for show organizers. With online ordering, my information is pre-populated, so there’s less room for human error in entering company name, booth number, and contact information. Particularly for my last name, people have trouble distinguishing my “n” from my “u”. Thus, when they try to email a confirmation to ashleyfans@companyname.com, I don’t receive it. So, now they’re spending more man hours going back and forth with me on the confirmation, and occasionally, denying my credit card because they have attributed it to “Ashley Fans”. I assume someone has to do the data entry into a system somewhere in their system, so why not let it be the customer, one time, instead of forcing the customer to hand-write 10 forms, and then forcing your employee to input it into the system! Then, your employee accidentally inputs the wrong spelling of my name because they couldn’t read the hand-written form, and now you have to waste more labor hours having them fix it. And, what if two different people receive my forms, so now there’s two of me in the system? It just doesn’t make sense to opt out of the online ordering, since I know the system is already in place!

    Then there’s the credit card issue. I have a corporate AMEX that I use for the tradeshows, as the bills can be pretty expensive (hence the reason I’m not expected to put it on a personal credit card and expense it). Apparently, the European companies don’t take my AMEX…. but some of them do! I know there are fees associated with credit card processing, but AMEX is one of the most popular cards in the world. It’s surprising that many European countries don’t accept this, particularly tradeshow organizers that do business with the entire world.

    So, now you can’t read my writing, AND you can’t accept my payment. Sigh… I’m off to ask for a wire transfer and a penmanship class. Here’s to tradeshow organizers that are making things more difficult than they have to be!

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