In the on-going search for new customers, and for the third consecutive year, I was asked to undertake efforts with the University of Minho in order to repeat the same success as previous years, and taking into account that, in my opinion, the previous year was a success, make this year something else would be a challenge that would lead me to explore all the options available.
I can not deny that I would have loved to see some other person to do this in order to show that it is always easier to criticize than actually do but I had some ideas that I would like to see applied and perhaps even improve the quality of what was done in the past year.
- Simplification of public transport next to the future clients;
- Attracting new customers to public transport;
- Explain all the rules for fees;
- Demonstrate how everything works;
- Perform personalized service;
- Produce and customize new cards for personal use on buses;
- Advertise future mode of payment by ATMs.
And so little time to prepare all of it, because it was already July and the event was to be held between the 8th and the 12th of September.
And what should be taken into account to meet the objectives?
- Suiting all resources, even if few, to the goals set;
- Carry out contacts at the university in order to prepare the space that would be assigned in: physical space, logistics, media and power supply, communications structure (Wi-Fi, Ethernet, etc.);
- Produce and prepare all the necessary flyers to publicize what was intended;
- A dedicated service desk ticketing;
- A post dedicated to printing, personalization and at the same instant of the public transport card;
So starting at the beginning:
Contacts with the University of Minho
Initial contacts had to be performed with nearly two months in advance, because this event would be in the second week of September and in August the entire university is closed. Initial contacts have assigned a contact person in order to expedite the whole process and the opening by the university was fantastic.
All other contacts, related to network infrastructure and other situations were held with the indicated people for each area, fortunately it wouldn’t be the first time that a collaboration between the two entities would take place, so everything would be easier because of all the familiar faces.
This is always a very sensitive topic, we have been making efforts in the adequacy of human resources because we do not have the required numbers to do everything that we would like, the way we desire. Result of all this, and considering the difficulties of the Sales Department, the suggested solution was: two elements of the department of IT would come forward again, one of the elected / volunteer was me. Thus, the subject of human resources would be solved.
And I must say that there is always something interesting in going through roads in which we do not feel particularly comfortable.
Communications are the biggest problem that can even prevent the realization of all this kind of events because without communications we have no access to our servers where we can get all the information of the commercial offer and therefore create new customers, change the existing customers, access the products portfolio, etc..
Unfortunately on-site testing would only be made 1 day before, for this reason, and foreseeing difficulties, three viable alternatives were created in communications: communications using wi-fi, communications using Ethernet cables and communications using a 3g router. All alternatives presented compatibility requirements, had the necessary speeds and tolerance in establishing VPN connections, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
Preparing the room to welcome UMINHO students
The room we were given was a regular room of classes, so to make this room more adequate for this effort I tried to make some ideas from previous years a reality:
- get a large vinyl that identifies our presence at a distance (to be talked about it later);
- get a stand to put the vinyl, so needless to paste the same wall (to be talked about it later);
- showing videos in the biggest wall available to entertain students while they wait in line for service.
The most interesting part and that could be more explored in a personal way is always the advertising component: creating artifacts that could go with the customers everywhere, advertise the event to the media and even the student community, etc.
The flyers created: these flyers had all the necessary information to any student, allowing access to the supply of TUB immediately, and I forgot to say that this was like type of a small book that was printed 8000 times
Email: creating some curiosity to the event
Video: the best way to publicize and show our presence
It was a success. We could hit all the numbers from previous years, both in values and in numbers and even improve it greatly (around 30%). The service, that was provided along all new students and clients, has now become standard, this being now the reference to beat in the coming years. And how do we know this? Feedback from all the students and clients and through reports that our ticketing systems returns.
What about me? Can not wait for the next one.
Personal opinion? What a challenge, I love this kind of stuff where we do a lot with little available, and the feeling of accomplishment in both personal and professional is extremely big!
EDIT: Forgot to say that the flyer had such a positive reception that even the Department of International Students, or something like that, and also another university in Braga asked for some copies. 😀
Thanks for the time,