The National Association of State Chief Information Officers has two conferences each year with attendee numbers ranging from 500 – 700 individuals. A great deal of staff time was being devoted to printing/stuffing badges for these conferences as well as the customer service issue of check-in lines with a manual check-in process. The association needed to institute a more streamlined process but feared the cost given the fact that NASCIO’s conference attendance is relatively small by comparison.
AMR’s member services and conference and events team researched various options for the NASCIO conferences and found an affordable solution that integrated with NASCIO’s existing registration software. However, no one on the team had any experience with online check-in. To ensure this option fit NASCIO’s needs, the team went to another conference to see the system in action.
Once the solution provider was solidified, changing this long-standing process required a great deal of discussion and planning for the NASCIO team. What changes needed to be made to the registration process? How does this self-service check-in process get streamlined while keeping the personal touch with the membership that is part of the NASCIO brand? How does the team effectively communicate these changes to the membership to ensure the on-site process is smooth for attendees?
To address those questions, the NASCIO team walked through every step of the process from an attendee’s point of view. The team purchased items and created signage that made the self-serve badge and ribbon station easy to navigate for attendees and keep the check-in process moving quickly. Team members who staff the registration area at conference set new guidelines and goals for member interaction at check-in. Finally, NASCIO contracted to have a representative from the solution provider attend the conference for troubleshooting and to assist with the initial use of the system.
The online check-in process was a huge success. The early check-in for the Board of Directors did reveal one issue that was quickly fixed by the provider. The members received a number of pre-conference communications about the new system and not only did the membership embrace the new process, they raved about the ease of use. The NASCIO team found that with the self-serve check-in, the team actually had more time to greet members and assist when needed, serving to increase personal interaction with the membership upon check-in.
There were also some positives that were completely unforeseen. Since the check-in kiosks were available 24/7, members who arrived after registration hours could check-in and be able to go directly to the event the next morning, without having to arrive early to check-in.
The process was such a success that AMR later negotiated a contract that would provide this service to all of their clients, using the buying power of an association management company like AMR to lower the cost for everyone and make this new and streamlined technology available to all AMR clients, large and small.