Monday, November 8, 2010
All donations start at the box office
If the potential customer has a bad experience at the box office, they likely never become a customer to begin with. No customer, no patron. No patron, no donor. It all starts with the box office.
Our box office establishes the first links of trust with the patron to the organization. They give the patron confidence in the organization and in the experience that they're about to have with you. They are the ambassadors of our art, and they need to be empowered to make sure every patron begins their experience positively.
It dismays me, therefore, how often we surrender this incredibly sensitive position to outside organizations. For instance, Ticketmaster may expand reach, but I've never met anyone that enjoyed their experience with them.
It concerns me when we surrender this crucial touchpoint with our patrons to just anyone, especially in a job market where there are some truly skilled customer service people looking for steady work. If ever there was a job in the arts that required high levels of passion and skill, it is this one.
It makes me weary when these important employees and volunteers aren't given every tool at their disposal to help every person they talk to to find a way to see the show they're selling. It's one of the many reasons that revenue management/dynamic pricing is so critical to the success of the performing arts.
This is where the process-building in experience management really starts to pick up steam. Marketing may have snagged their attention, but here's the meat and potatoes, where they've made a decision to reach out to us. We need to see through our customers' eyes, hear through their ears, and make sure that this is as seamless as it gets. This is a great area that you can start asking good questions of your patrons, to ensure that you catch every snag and improve every shining moment.
The value here isn't just the price of a ticket. It's the many years of tickets and donations to come. Measure each success and failure in terms of the lifetime value of your patron to get the full measure of what a box office interaction is worth. There are few other binary (on/off) moments in crafting experiences than this.