11 Oct 2019 | Box Office, Marketing
Who has the most interaction with your audiences every day? The box office of course! It is at the coal face of every arts organisation, helping customers, fielding questions, and dealing with customer issues. The box office team are also the best people to help take your marketing to the next level.
It goes without saying the box office is critical to the success of any arts and cultural organisation; any venue or festival. Of course, without each area - from the accounts department to front of house you couldn’t have a fully functioning organisation, but what makes the box office special is their unique customer-facing position. How do we best take advantage of that boosting marketing, but also helping patrons?
It starts with people.
The box office team (like everyone in the arts), are doing a thousand and one jobs each day. You can help make their lives a little easier - and add a another angle to your marketing strategy whilst making the box office more efficient - with a few key actions.
Before making any changes (big or small), get everyone together to discuss the values and goals of the venue. Having a clear overall goal can help give focus to box office goals. Some goals for the box office to consider:
Excellent Customer Service / Satisfaction
With your box office team, develop a sales process that makes sense not only for your customers but also for your box office team. Not every box office team is the same, just as each venues goals and direction is not the same. Develop a sales process that is efficient and easy for individuals and teams to follow, but that works for your team and customers best.
Consider also developing a sales script to make it easy for casual staff to step as needed and ensure that all of your marketing communications are delivered. For example, be sure to include:
Premium offers - can you upsell the ticket price? Ask every time.
Ask for a donation every time.
If you have created an online prompt or recommendation through Ticketsolve, then remember, your audience members will see this prompt every time they look at the event information, you are reminding them online to donate to your fundraising campaign so why not do it in real life as well?
A tight sales process and clear script means fewer mistakes, which means a happier team and happy customers.
Training is a no brainer for the box office staff. Without clear direction on what they need to do, they cannot be as effective as they could be. Besides the sales process and sales scrtpt, consider other areas of training, such as data, retention and upgrading.
The box office is well-positioned to ensure customer data is accurate and up to date. 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.
Retention is all about keeping customers. Having a friendly, personable demeanour when interacting with patrons is a great first step, but what about other things that might boost customer retention? Making customers feel like they matter is really important. For example offering some tips to a first time customer or a bar discount, asking a returning customer how they enjoyed the last show or offering a cafe discount to a member all go a long way to building loyalty and driving retention. Ticketsolve can help here, as customer information is readily available and can be captured easily for a patron's next visit.
Upselling has to be a key part of your training strategy. When a patron arrives at the box office, or calls 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.
People might think that all the box office team does is wait for customers to walk through the door or call the office. The reality is that box office staff do a lot of unseen work: maintaining the box office, building relationships with customers and helping other parts of the organisation. Some great ideas for box office downtime (if it ever happens):
Database cleanup - Your database is clean isn’t it :) If it isn’t Ticketsolve’s deduplication tool is perfect for helping get on top of that cleaning job!
Marketing help - The box office is a team should already be a part of your marketing planning. But they are also a great resource for proof-reading or reviewing content.
Chasing up reservations and amounts due - if your venue does take deposits, chasing up amounts due prior to the show is a great task to get done during downtimes.
It is easy in the arts to fall into siloed thinking and siloed teams. But as we have said before that way be dragons.
Get your various teams collaborating. Involve your box office team in marketing sessions and vice versa. Not only does it mean everyone builds their knowledge, gets inspired and gets creative, but your customers benefit from more integrated and cohesive communications. Let your integrated teams come up with ideas on how to deliver a great customer experience - your customers will thank you for it.
Give The Team The Right Tools
Imagine asking a chef to cut a carrot with a butter knife. They might be able to do it, but not only is it inefficient, you’ve just made the chef’s job that much harder. Give your team the rights tools to do a great job. A screen that is too small, creates extra work for your staff as they have to move tabs around or scroll. Traditional phones work fine for phone sales, but headsets are far more efficient for data entry, note-taking etc. A little investment can lead to long term results in terms of efficiency and an overall happier team.
At Ticketsolve, we’ve been looking at how we can better support the box office too. That is why we’ve been evolving our backend box office to make your box office team’s lives that much easier.
The Results Speak For Themselves
As the first stop for your audiences it makes sense to get the box office and the box office team running effectively and efficiently. A happy, inspired and thriving box office takes a bit of planning and training to be sure, but as Smock Alley Theatre has seen - the results do really speak for themselves.
Want to know more?
Download our Box Office Best Practices whitepaper to learn more!