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Just about everything’s been on pause since March 2020 and things have been “unpausing” bit by bit since the beginning of 2022. Many of us are excited to see the return of in-person conferences, like DOCUMENT Strategy Forum (DSF '22). As trade conferences and other in-person events resume, let’s consider the changes we expect to see as we travel to and enjoy DSF ‘22 and the exciting post-show interactions with the connections we make at the event.

As we start our journeys to DSF ‘22, we’ll have to pack a suitcase, gather some updated travel documents and familiarize ourselves with mask policies. As we pack our bags, we will likely confront the post-pandemic changes in how people are dressing. It’s a lot less formal now and we all got used to being comfortable during the pandemic, so I expect that the DSF ’22 event will see few, if any, ties. The hoodie-to-ties ratio will likely be tilted towards hoodies for the first time.

You might need to update your travel documents, as you will need a REAL ID or a passport to clear security if you are flying into Chicago. If you are coming in from another country, like keynote speaker Kaspar Roos, you may have to obtain and upload a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test, proof of vaccination or other affidavits. Finally, you will check into the hotel, ready for a great conference.

Now, you’re at the DSF ’22 conference, comparing presentation slots and building your agenda. You’re ready for some sessions. It might be your first in-person session in two years, so here are some reminders: You won’t be on a camera you can turn off at a live event, so the presenter will see your eyes if they roll. The person next to you will see your starting word for Wordle if you are messing around on your phone during the session. However, do snap some pictures, share insights on LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok or whatever social networks you prefer. Presenters love to be tagged and they also love it when their company name is tagged. Presenters also love to network, so meet them after the session or at the booth if they are a vendor.

Now let’s talk about what we are all here to learn more about: the customer experience as it relates to customer communications. Let’s recap your journey and look at the communications that you received. As you attend DSF ’22, you likely received a variety of communications from a variety of organizations on a variety of channels that you experienced in a wide range of contexts:
  • You received email and possibly postcards marketing the DSF ’22 event from DSF.
  • You got a confirmation of your reservation and a receipt for your conference pass.
  • You may have received additional invitations from some exhibitors.
  • When you booked the hotel, you received confirmation by email, SMS or an in-app message.
  • When you booked your flight, you started a chain of communications that included reservation confirmations, SMS or in-app notifications to check in, reminders to bring REAL ID-compliant travel documents and boarding passes as SMS, email, in-app notifications or digital wallet.
  • When you Uber to the hotel, the driver will initiate a few communications, such as location status updates, in-app notifications, a survey, a chance to tip (please do, because they wait a long time for an airport fare) and a receipt you’ll need later.
  • When you arrive at the hotel, you will probably look for that confirmation number and as you check into the event and you’ll receive a badge. You will be interacting with forms as you rate and rank sessions and, if you share information with exhibitors, you’ll receive emails, meeting requests and other follow-up communications.
After three days at DSF ‘22, you will have a collection of communication artifacts that represent your journey. If you put your journey all together in a map, you will understand more about how your trip unfolded. Did event-driven omnichannel communications make your trip easier? If you thought they made your trip calmer or faster, think about how you can use omnichannel communications to improve the customer journeys you support with your own communications.

See you at the show!

At DSF ’22, Scott Draeger will present the session, “How Do I Move My Customer Communications to a Cloud Platform?” on Monday, April 4 from 10:10 am – 11:00 am.

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