16 Nov 2018 | Box Office, Marketing
A great show doesn’t materialise out of thin air. As anyone in the industry knows, each move is calculated well in advance. Long before an actor utters any lines, there are writers and editors who manage the script. Before a performance artist hits the stage, there are choreographers and countless hours of practice. There are loads of others supporting the production and making sure everything goes smoothly. Running your box office is much the same; your team members play the starring role, but they need support, tools and practice in order to do their part to make the theatre successful. This blog is designed to give you and your venue a few ideas, so you can implement best practices that will keep your seats full and your revenue climbing.
Set SMART Goals
Before you begin implementing any changes, it’s important to gather all decision makers and discuss the values and goals of the venue. From there, you can break off anything that the box office can or should be achieving in order to make the venue successful. Some examples of box office goals could include:
Excellent Customer Service / Satisfaction
The SMART Method
Setting goals and objectives is often challenging. Using the SMART method, an idea first introduced by George Doran, is a great way to set some structure to goal setting. The SMART method helps you to create objectives that are easy to understand, and obvious when your goals are achieved. The method involves creating goals that are:
Specific: Instead of saying, “Our goal is to improve customer happiness,” you might say, “Our goal is to improve donations or increase ticket sales,” or all of the above.
Measurable: Determine how you will rate your success. Perhaps your goal is to have 95% overall customer satisfaction or a five-star rating. This may vary depending on how you’re performing your audits.
Achievable: Keep your goals realistic. In doing so, it keeps morale and motivation up.
Relevant: Consider how the goal relates to the overall success of the theatre.
Time-Bound: Your team needs an end date, at which point the results will be measured. This also keeps motivation up and makes it possible to gauge the true success of your actions.
Train Staff on the Value of Three Core Areas
Once you’ve set your SMART goals, you now need to get your team clear instructions on what to do. They need to understand why certain things are important, so they share in your vision.
Having accurate data is important for the sake of customer service and marketing. Your front-line staff has the perfect opportunity to check and update the quality and integrity of the data. When a customer arrives at the box office, make sure their data is accurate. Use the Mailchimp tab to ascertain which email campaigns they have opened and ask questions about the effectiveness of the campaigns.
It’s much easier and less costly to keep your existing patrons happy than to find new ones. Box office staff should make each interaction a pleasant experience.
Be Friendly and Welcoming: It probably goes without saying, but providing a friendly atmosphere for patrons is essential. The problem is, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day side work or other things happening around the theatre. As managers, you can help keep enthusiasm and energy up by demonstrating the same. You can also hold contests and games for employees to make everyday tasks more fun.
Make First Visits Special: A little recognition goes a long way. Spend time with new customers and get to know them a bit. Offer tips to make their experience more enjoyable and give them a gift if possible. Even seemingly small things, such as a discount at a café, can show newcomers you care and drive customer loyalty.
Know Your Customers: Everyone wants to feel like they matter. With access to customer information at your fingertips, you can offer personalised information and discuss things that are relevant to them. Ask them how they enjoyed the last show, talk about whether a specific show type is of interest to them. The better you know the customers and engage with them, the happier they’ll be with the service they receive. All of this intelligence should be documented within the system.
When a patron arrives at the box office, have a quick look at their history and see if any up-selling options may be relevant to them. Sometimes staff shies away from this because they don’t want to be intrusive, but the fact is that up-selling can be highly beneficial for the customer too. There may be alternate packages, memberships, or other items of interest to the patron. When training employees on the up-sell, it’s important to discuss who the product benefits and why as well as how the theatre benefits.
Create a Call Script
Call scripts are important for a number of reasons.
Consistency: Each patron should receive the same level of excellent service every time. This is difficult to do unless you have a way to create consistency.
Error Avoidance: Human errors can cause inefficiency and deliver a less than exemplary customer experience. With the script in place, staff knows the order in which things are done and the transaction is seamless.
Confidence: Box office staff may include a mix of volunteers and employees, all of whom will have varying levels of expertise and salesmanship. Scripts give them confidence to lead the interaction.
Training: Having a script in place makes training a breeze. If you develop an easy-to-follow chart, most anyone can begin with relative ease.
As per our Donations & Fundraising Playbooks (contact us if you don't have a copy), this is also be an ideal time to ask for a donation as only 3% of people leave a donation at the box office , up sell another show/product or to tell customers about upcoming shows.
Ideal Call Structure
1) Offer a friendly greeting and introduction.“Box Office, (Your Name) speaking. How can I help?”
2) Complete the sales process. Use the flowchart below as a guide.
3) In quieter times, spend more time engaging with the customer. This is a great opportunity to:
Verify customer data is accurate
Ask if they received the last newsletter or brochure
Check their communication preferences
4) Close the sale and show appreciation.“Thank You for calling. We hope that you enjoy the show!”
Print the tickets or send to batch.
Complete all transaction details (postage, sending out information, etc.) before moving on to next sale!
Make Use of Down Time
Keeping employees productive is important for the theatre’s bottom line, it gives employees a sense of purpose, and it keeps energy up. Have a list of side jobs that box office staff should be handling when volume is low. Consider things like:
Brainstorming Sessions (how to deliver better service, how to improve efforts)
Training Sessions (Roleplay with team members and discuss the benefits of different products)
Contact Customers (both regular customers and lapsed ones)