attendees Engaging With Customers at AU — A Guide for Autodesk Employees
Every year the Autodesk University team thinks about ways to make AU better for the 9,000+ customers that attend this event from all over the world. And this year, we realized that we have a secret weapon at AU that we haven't been fully using... You. You, and about 1,000 other Autodesk people from all over the world, will be at AU this year — a virtual army of Autodesk people, each of whom has a golden opportunity chance to engage with customers, giving them a better experience and building the Autodesk brand. Customers who go to AU consistently tell us that engaging with Autodesk people, in-person, is one of the biggest reasons they go to AU — and when they do engage with us, they consider it to be some of the most valuable time spent at AU. Here is a simple guide to Engaging With Customers at Autodesk University.
    DON'T DO
context
CONTACT
Put yourself in the same actual place as customers. At AU we actually have a whole bunch of nano-decisions every day about where to go and when. Shifting even a bit towards engagement with customer attendees can make a big difference. "I had a 90-minute break earlier today, so I had lunch with my ex-boss who I haven't seen in two years. Good times. Then I bumped into a customer I've known for years, and we talked for a few minutes." "On the way to and from lunch with my ex-boss, I stopped to talk to three customers. I got some insight about what was on their minds, and connected them with some relevant Autodesk people."
The next step is going up to customers and talking to them. This is different than talking to customers in the normal course of your work at AU; this is about proactively going up to customers and introducing yourself. "Well, here I am, at a nicely produced mixer: I'll stay here in my group of Autodesk people unless I see someone else I happen to know." "Well, here I am, at a nicely produced mixer: I'm going to look for individual people or small groups that I can introduce myself to."
Once you've made contact, the basic modus operandi should be something like: "Hi, I'm [YOU] from Autodesk, and I've like to talk a bit about what you think about Autodesk University, or Autodesk in general." "Hi! Enjoying AU? Like our products? That's great, just great. Vegas is crazy, am I right? Don't do anything I wouldn't do HAW-HAW-HAW!!! Have a great week." "So what are you guys hoping to get from AU this year? Any questions I can answer? Anyone at Autodesk I can connect you with? Anything else I can help with?"
connect
CONNECT
Here's something else you can do during the conversation: connect them, in real time, or offer to connect them later, to relevant people at Autodesk. You can do this through your own knowledge of Autodesk and its people and teams, and you can also use the AU App. This year the AU App has an "Ask us anything" button that you can fill out on behalf of the customer, while remaining engaged with the customer. "Yeah, that's a good question, quite a puzzler. That's not really my department, so...whoo-whoo, quite the conundrum, that. You know what? I'd go to our website if I were you. Lots of information there..." "Okay, that's a manufacturing-related question, right? Carl White is your man for that, here's his address. And for that 3D printing question, it's Evan Atherton, here's his email. In case I haven't answered all of your questions, we've got an app for that. Let's enter your question right now."
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COMMUNICATE
In some situations you can say, "Hey, how about creating a quick video of some feedback you'd like to give Autodesk, or even just to capture what's we're talking about right now? We have a video-sharing application called Socialcam." And then, if they want to do it, you can make and upload the video. This way, we will have potentially thousands of Socialcam videos about AU, which we can aggregate/screen in some way later on. "Let's capture this magic moment on video; everyone say I LOVE AU! Smile! Oh, it's a video, right, uh, so, Vegas is pretty crazy, am I right?" "Okay, Mark, let's do a quick video clip of your great question about data security in the Cloud. Just say what you just said; and we'll make sure the relevant Autodesk people see your clip."
attendees The Power and Value of Better Customer Engagement at AU
So those are some of the simple things you can do to increase customer engagement at Autodesk University — and as a result, create a better experience for customers, and build the Autodesk brand in the process. If you have any questions about this engagement initiative, or if you'd like to share any feedback, or success stories, please write to us at thelabs@autodesk.com.

Thank You!
The Autodesk University Team