Special Events

CONFETTI

Harp of the Future Take a classic instrument, add a futuristic twist, and you get the laser harp: a musical tool that replaces harp strings with kinetic, multicolored laser beams. The harp is much like its traditional predecessor with one major difference: The strings are "virtual." As the harpist plays, a synthesizer interprets the motions and creates the music. For more information, call Sherman Oaks, Calif.-based Extraordinary Events at 818/783-6112.

Calming the Cantankerous Client How do you pacify a put-out patron? The Protocol School of Palm Beach (Fla.) offers event planners the following tips:

* Let your client vent frustrations completely before offering any input. If things get ugly, get a colleague to act as a buffer. Then, offer a solution.

* If the client isn't satisfied with your solution, ask what would make him or her happy. Often it helps just to act as a sympathetic listener.

* Don't take a customer's complaint personally.

* Empathize with the client's frustration, say that you will look into the problem personally, and then do just that. Ask for assistance if necessary.

* Give the client a timeframe in which you will respond with a solution. The longer you wait, the more time she or he will have to gripe to others. Never let a client leave angry.

* Send a note of apology even if you are not completely at fault. Reiterate what you will do to remedy the situation. Follow up with a phone call.

* Share client comments-both good and bad-with your staff. Brainstorm together regularly on how to make things better.

To contact the school, call 561/586-9026 or visit its Web site (www.psopb.com).

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