I was recently roped in as a volunteer to be in charge of a Registrations Desk at an event in which close to 700 people were expected to attend. Being in the organizing team since the very beginning, I was supposed to also take care of the help-desk part at registrations because we had anticipated some anomalies and grievances. To make it interesting, we had kept a goodie box in which there were a number of small items like a customized with name keychain, a small plastic bag, a phone popper, etc. I also had the same items as loose in case some of the attendees who hadn’t registered, showed up at last moment.
Majority of the folks had registered in advance and they got their registrations verification done easily. They received customized goodie boxes and moved on. But to make it more interesting, we also decided to hand over food & drinks coupons to everyone when they came for registrations. Now, somehow the number of coupons I had weren’t enough to cater to 700 folks. To make it furthermore interesting, the event was a 2-day affair and there were different kinds of food coupons: Day 1 Lunch, Day 1 Dinner, Day 1 Drinks (soft), Day 1 Drinks (Liquor), Day 2 Lunch, Day 2 Hi-Tea. And to top everything up, not all had registered for both the days and even the Day 1 dinner. I had to keep referring to an excel sheet and then hand over loose items/goodies which also got over soon. Then there were also some issues with wrong food coupons given to wrong folks. Later, some people came back as their customized goodies had names of someone else.
All in all, despite the event being a major success and nobody getting hurt, the task of handling so many registrations was a major challenge. I had the support of various other volunteers who didn’t break a sweat and we eventually got through but at times, the exercise became a headache for everyone. For some, it would have surely ruined the experience of the event because it was the first thing they encountered. Hopefully, they also realized that we had all just volunteered and nobody had any bad intentions but just the circumstances.
I also recently attended a training called ‘Design Thinking’. The crux of the training is to develop a solution or a service by thinking about the end user in mind. This might sound very easy but it takes a painstaking number of hours to come up with possible permutations and combinations of what end-user will go through and get satisfaction.
Some learnings from all of the above:
Design Thinking is a great concept to have when you have to act in a public facing job. We all know and have faced the humiliation at Bank, Transport Offices, Post Offices and other places in which we have to line up and wait for our turn, sometimes in unbearable conditions, facing atrocious services. Only if, the person who is in charge of designing this can think of themselves as the end user, the process would improve. That is the reason great companies are great because they think of their products/services in the hands of the users and how they are going to perceive it.
Whenever you have to make something for someone, not only consider what you want to deliver, also think about how the user is going to take it. Front-End of every product and every service can make or break an experience.