Tag Archives: customer service

How to turn mistakes into audience development gold

On Sunday our family went out to breakfast. We enjoy going to the local diner, Lucky’s, where they are starting to get to know us. It was a very busy morning for them, and we ended up waiting a long time for someone to take our order.

After the meal, one of the waitresses brought our bill, and she let us know that the drinks were taken off due to the wait.

Now, we had not complained or asked for any compensation. They automatically did something nice for us to thank us for understanding. I simply said, “Wow! I have to write about this!”

Can you imagine if every business were to go the extra mile after recognizing on their own that they dropped the ball on service? What would your audience members think if you automatically made amends for any interruption of stellar service?

I was amazed after this transaction, and I am sure your audiences will be too. So the next time you know you made a mistake, make an effort to make it up to your audiences before they complain. You will now be on the side of impeccable customer service with the probability of turning your mistake into positive word of mouth, or in other words, audience development gold!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,

Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

***Purchasing my book will help support ADS and our mission.***

My eBook

New eBook! The How of Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts, arts management, Audience Development

How to live an audience development for the arts life…

Happy Friday to all!  Today I have been thinking about the philosophy behind audience development, which is living a life of the 4 C’s: connecting with people, being a part of your community, collaborating with others, and showing you care about people.

You never know where people are going to be in the future.  The waiter that messed up accidentally while serving your order, the one that you yelled at in a fire alarm fashion, could be your boss in the future.  The driver that you curse at on the road could be a potential donor that you meet later down the road.  The customer that you snub during a busy time since they are not one of the top patrons (your rationale) could win the lottery next week.  Do you want to build good relationships or bad relationships?

Again, you never know where people are going to be in the future.  Circumstances change.  This means that applying the Golden Rule and being kind to all people could benefit you further down the line.  Also, if you do not act kindly, you are leaving a bad taste in someone’s mind which could haunt you later on. Let me give you another example.

Some of you may know that I am applying for a PT job to attempt to stay afloat.  I had applied for 3 promising jobs in the past month.  All three of these organizations are non-profits in our area.  Only one of these jobs has notified me about their final decision.  The one that notified me, I did not personally interview for the position.  In her email, she mentioned that 50 people had applied for the position.  She took the time to send a message to the other 49 people they did not select.  I actually emailed her a thank you since this is a rare thing to do these days.  I appreciated her taking the time to treat me like a fellow human that took time out of my life to apply for the position.  You bet that I will continue to rave about this non-profit organization!

The other 2 organizations, the ones I actually interviewed in person, I am still waiting for a reply, even after I had emailed them a thank you and a follow up email asking for an update on the positions.  I do feel this is a bad practice in terms of business relations and future audience development.  I may not have such a great opinion after being snubbed in this fashion.  I don’t think any non-profit can afford to create bad relations, then why are they doing so in this case?

Yes, perhaps I am feeling a little personal about this situation, but there is a grain of salt behind the story.  You see, I could have been a supporter to these organizations, regardless of whether or not I landed the job, but due to being ignored and unappreciated, I’m not feeling supportive feelings.

What you do today, how you care and support others in your life has an impact.  If you ignore, snub, or make people feel bad, that might be what you receive back in the future.  You could be supporting or hurting a future audience member, a donor or sponsor, or a volunteer or potential board member.  The choice is yours.

On the plus side, I received a hand written thank you note from an organization I volunteer and fundraise for.  They took the time to care and be supportive to me by thanking me personally.  Now that is how to live an audience development for the arts life!

What do you think?

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

2 Comments

Filed under Arts, arts management, Audience Development

Random audience development for the arts thoughts (and questions)

Today I do not have a guest blogger planned.  I thought I would fill in the gap with a variety of thoughts (and questions) that I have been thinking over the past week (in no particular order).  Let this serve as a summary of blog posts from past and future.

  • Audience development is hard work.  Are we ready to work?
  • Again, audience development is not “butts in seats” !!!  A butt doesn’t enjoy the show, people enjoy the show.
  • A team is needed for audience development.  Can we be team friendly people?
  • Should we appeal to audiences when programming is concerned?  Would we be letting them run our show?  More on this thought later.  This article spurred this thought.
  • We need to go beyond the discounts when it comes to building an audience or we serve to lose our bottom line.
  • Quality needs to be at the forefront for everything we do.
  • Why are board members so scared to ask for money?  They are passionate about their arts organization.  Aren’t they?
  • If I received a penny for “Something for everyone” and other inane marketing blurbs, I’d be rich! Maybe I should start an audience development fund this way?
  • Artists and arts organizations are supposed to be creative, right?
  • Social Media needs to be social.  It’s not termed Marketing Media.
  • If you don’t know your audience, you can’t develop your audience.
  • If you don’t know your audience, you won’t know what types of programs will be appealing and successful.
  • Ask them survey questions beyond the demographic questions.
  • Instead of targeting or segmenting – perhaps reaching out is a better term?
  • Numbers are not people.  You can data mine and analyze away, but this step will not build relationships with living people.
  • If something you are doing is not working, why are you continuing to do it?
  • Why spend money on something that is not working?  Because that’s the way you are supposed to spend your budget?
  • Audience development is a state of mind.  Everyone on your team can be a part of it.  Everywhere you go is an opportunity for it!
  • Learn to be a part of your community.  Use the other C’s to connect, collaborate and care.
  • If you have a big marketing staff, over 2 people, and you are still not getting an audience, either someone is not doing their job, or typical marketing is not working anymore.
  • Run your arts business as a business too.
  • Non-profits can be “profitable.”
  • If a certain business model isn’t working for you, explore a new model.
  • Your audience can be part of your team.
  • Ask your audience, they know what you don’t.
  • Treat your volunteers like royalty.
  • Treat your donors like royalty.
  • Thank your supporters often.
  • Be supportive and respectful of everyone on your team and learn to work together knowing that each part has an important role to play.
  • For gosh sakes, program new stuff too!
  • Be true to yourself and your mission.
  • Brand properly.
  • Be relatable.
  • Engage, but also get your audiences involved! There is a difference.
  • The arts matter, but only if you find out why they matter to your audiences.
  • Your thoughts here!  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

5 Comments

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising

How to choose the right ticketing solution for arts audience development

This week I was truly a happy audience development geek when I found Capterra’s ticket software filter.  If you are looking for a ticketing solution, this filter is the best for discovering what you can get for your budget.  Instead of being caught up in the better marketing of some companies, you can now compare features to features to find exactly what you need!

A ticketing program is very important when it comes to audience development.  In fact, it is more important than people realize.  Your ticketing system can either help you or harm you when it comes to audience development.  It is best to have a system where you can track and segment to reach the right people for each particular show or event.  I also feel it is important that the system can track your efforts.  I am a big fan of having the system be able to handle your fundraising and membership tasks as well.  The more you can get closer to an “all-in-one” system, the better off you will be.

It used to be that a system of this nature cost a ton of money.  Only the bigger organizations could afford to buy.  The good news is that during my research for smaller to mid-size organizations (and budgets), I found a list of very affordable solutions that are feature rich and could translate into fantastic audience development opportunities if used to the solutions’ potential.

Here is the list of requirements I wanted for under $7,000, 2-9 users, and Windows/Web based/Mac capable:

  • Barcode / Ticket Scanning (94) – This is important so we can finally start tracking who is showing up!
  • Box Office POS (90)
  • CRM Integration (59)
  • Custom Ticket Designs (83) – It allows you a place for sponsor logos & invites for upcoming shows.
  • Customer Data Collection (89)
  • Customer Database (95)
  • Customizable Branding (87) – A must for audience development.
  • Customizable Fields (94) – Another must for audience development!
  • Customizable Reporting (93)
  • Data Import/Export (103)
  • Database Integration (80)
  • Demographic Data (67)
  • Fundraising (56) – Remember the all-in-one ultimate goal!
  • Installation Support (86)
  • Membership Management (64) – You can handle sponsorship levels with this feature on most solutions!
  • No Fixed Fee (60)
  • Online Ticketing (98)
  • Onsite Ticketing (91)
  • Print-at-Home Fulfillment (90)
  • Remote / Kiosk Sales (70)
  • Reporting (105)
  • Reserved Seating (81)
  • Reserved Ticketing (86)
  • VIP & Discount Tickets (93)
  • Volunteer Management (18) – ChoiceCRM & Glitnir only for this search!  I hope more solutions add this soon.

One feature I decided to cancel on my search was “Online User Selects Seats.”  This would be a nice feature, but if you are budget conscious, I think for now it is best to think of all the other features first.  If they need exact seats, they can call.

I must say that I am not endorsing one over the other, although I have my opinions.  Here is the list of all the ticketing solutions I found that had these features (in order of Capterra’s list, not mine):

logo for Box Office Software

Glitnir Ticketing – Glitnir Ticketing System

2 reviews

[Learn more]

TICKETsage – TICKETsage Custom Solutions

6 reviews

Box Office Solutions (Hardware and Software).  [Learn more]

If you are windows or web based only, there were a few more ticketing solutions in this price range that came up. If you are on a really tight to non-existent budget, I really liked PrimeTix for the lowest costs.  If you want audience development features that a Brown Paper Tickets or EventBrite solution does not have, I would say this is a great alternative to start building relationships with your audience members:

[Learn more]

In my opinion, a ticketing solution needs to be user friendly, have the ability to track your efforts, be customizable when it comes to the data you input (and export), and be able to keep as much of your organizational functions in one system as possible.  Having fundraising, membership, and volunteer management combined with your ticketing, makes sense to me.  You need the ability to capture a complete picture of your audience members in order to be able to build the best relationships with them.  This is why choosing your ticketing solution is important and well worth the time spent on getting it right!

PS  I have spoken to a few of these services. Look for more volunteer management and class management additions on the horizon!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts, arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, fund raising, Fundraising, Online fund raising, Online fundraising, Volunteer coordination, Volunteer Management

Audience development and standing behind your services

This will be a quick one to chew on over the weekend.  I had an experience with a service today that completely let me down.  I asked for a small refund due to unsatisfactory services.  They simply stated that their policy is no refunds.

We in the arts tend to use this statement as well.  No refunds.   However, if someone truly is dissatisfied, and there is proof that the service provided was less than satisfactory, shouldn’t we be issuing refunds?  I am not speaking about the subjective opinions of whether or not someone liked your art.  I am speaking about the customer service that surrounds your art, the experiences that surround your art.  If someone is treated rudely or does not receive their services in the fashion they deserve, a refund is one way to apologize and let them know you want to make it up to them.

Well deserved refunds can actually help with audience development.  It shows that you are listening to your audience members and that you care to give them the best service possible.  Again, I am only speaking in terms of these special circumstances when you know that you have actually messed up or when your organization fails to deliver what is promised.  It takes a big person to fess up to their mistakes, and in being that person, your audience will appreciate that you are on their side. They will also see that you stand behind delivering good service.

Let me put it this way – it is the difference between gaining your audience members’ trust or losing audience members for good.  These little choices in our lives can make a big impact, especially when it comes to audience development.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, Audience Development

How to go the extra mile for great audience development

The other day I ordered a latte, and I forgot to let them know what kind of milk I wanted.   The person behind the counter asked me if I wanted skim or whole, and I was able to get what I wanted based on their thoughtful follow up question.  I have been to other coffee shops that did not ask, and it wasn’t until that first sip that I realized that I didn’t get what I wanted.

Yes, it was my “fault” for not asking in the first place, but when the person behind the counter at the first coffee shop went the extra mile and asked me that question, they were able to create a much happier customer.

Are there questions you could be asking your audiences that would help them become happier?  Are there conveniences that you could add to make their experience a little easier?  Are you getting to know your audiences to the point that you would already know what extra questions to ask or what extra conveniences to automatically add?

Think about it and then challenge yourself to go the extra mile.  When you care and automatically give more than what is necessary to make their experiences better, the better off you will be too.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

My eBook

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

Participatory Classical Music Webinar – Recording

 

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, Audience Development

B.D.A. and audience development

I’m starting a new series called Monday Minute.  These will be short entries based on quick thoughts.

Today I want to talk to  you about B.D.A. What is B.D.A.?  I go into more detail in my new eBook, but basically it is the complete experience you give to your audiences Before, During, and After your event/offering.

You want the entire experience to be memorable in a good way.  If the B is lacking due to terrible marketing or customer service, if the D is is flat and people have a hard time connecting with the art due to lack of creativity, quality or care, if  the A is non-existent and you do not follow up after to thank your audiences and/or offer them a thank you “gift,” you will not be giving your audiences your best.

So, are you offering B.D.A.?

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Although we are not a non-profit, if you would like to support ADS to continue our work, you can donate here.

New eBook!  The How of  Audience Development for the Arts: Learn the Basics, Create Your Plan

Participatory Classical Music Webinar – Recording

Leave a comment

Filed under Audience Development

#NAMPC The National Arts Marketing Project Conference – Winning Audiences Day 2

Part 2 of the adventure unfolds!   Yesterday I felt like my head was still at NAMPC while my body was milling around Boulder, CO.  It was a very strange feeling.  This probably can be attributed to not being able to download the entire experience.  I may never be able to do this, but I will attempt to wrap up some of my thoughts and feelings for day 2 of my conference schedule.

Monday

I wanted to mention the breakfast networking opportunity here.  They provided us with a continental breakfast.  It wasn’t bad, but I was severely missing my protein.  However, the chance to have breakfast with a group of people was delightful!  I met some of the best people here.  It was a more relaxed atmosphere since I forced myself to get up to eat at 8AM (I am not a morning person).   Kudos to the conference for supplying these big tables for a more family style network breakfast session.  One of the people I met was Karin Hensley from the National Storytelling Network.  Since my mom is a storyteller, and we had been to the National Storytelling Festival, we had something to talk about!  You never know who you will meet at breakfast.

9:00 – Engage the Crowd to Do Important Things Like Change the World or Meet Your Revenue

This session hosted by Brian Reich was a little bit of a commercial for his upcoming book and for Kickstarter, but many valuable things were said. The main point is that technology has changed the way we function, and there are ways to embrace this new technology to invite our audiences to become more involved.  The perspective is to make sure you tell your story in a way that will spark interest, and to offer incentives that your audiences would enjoy. The funniest comment was, that if your mom doesn’t want to back your project, you are doing something majorly wrong.

Here are my tweets from this session.

10:30 – Winning Audiences on the Go: Maximizing Engagement through Mobile Apps

I really liked this session since David Dombrosky chose a talk show style format where he asked questions he wanted to know and then walked around the audience taking our questions.  The session became a little bit of a 101 since mobile apps are still new to most of us, but I really enjoyed the examples.  The main message was to make sure your website has a mobile version since more people are using their smartphones to access information – this means that you need to style the information down to a mobile format.  If you are squeezing and scrolling, your mobile site is all wrong.  Also, some apps are meant more for branding purposes than for information.  The Royal Opera House chose to do a game app called “The Show Must Go On.”  This app is a little educational to the backstage aspects of putting on a show, but mainly it is for entertainment and to get their brand out.

Here are my tweets from this session.

12:00 Plenary Lunch: Oliver Uberti

For me, this was the most incredible speech of the entire conference.  Oliver Uberti is a remarkable person with an incredible gift.  He is a curious individual that can’t help creating wonderful art, and he is inspired by the world of people around him.  He connects with people to make the impossible, possible.  The main message he gave us is to honor the people that are in your life and connect with them to help each other on your journeys.  He showed us his people connection chart, which completely blew me away that he took the time to figure all of it out.  The arts message was to make sure you can tell your story in as little as one image to bring your stories to life. He gave us several examples of the stories behind the final story photo so we can see that it takes time and effort to come up with excellence.  In his quiet way, he served as an example for all of us to reach for something better.  After his presentation, the room was very quiet for a few moments before the applause started.  It took a little while before someone had the courage to ask a question.  My new friend Greg Fiedler of the Greater Flint Arts Council asked about his spiritual background in order to understand how Oliver became Oliver.   It was the question that was on my mind as well.  How do you become such an amazing human being?

This was a presentation that my phone conked out so no tweets were tweeted.  I was very glad since I was able to absorb this speech the old fashioned way with my full attention.  Every moment was special and worth it!

You can view the presentation here: Livestream/NAMPC.

Before the presentation, I chatted with Bill Nix from the Palm Beach County Cultural Council.  Florida was definitely represented at this conference (Minnesota too).  Bill was gracious to tell me about his collaborative projects.  I hope to get more information in the near future since we traded business cards.

1:45 The New Customer Service: Customizing Arts Experiences for Your Audiences

This session had a challenge of rising up after the Uberti presentation.  They did a fairly good job.  Katryn Geane from Jacob’s Pillow Dance really knows how to engage her audience.  It was refreshing to laugh several times during this session.  It was a well put together presentation with a strong message that you need to go the extra mile for your audiences.  To me, this message is a no brainer, but it is a message that constantly needs to be repeated.  Sometimes we tend to get lazy.  With the new technologies of the day, we really don’t have an excuse.

Here are my tweets from this session (a few are about the plenary after my phone recovered).

3:30 One-to-One Coaching Sessions

I was one of the coaches at these sessions, and I was delighted to speak with four people from very different organizations.  Each situation was unique, but the overall impression I wanted each of them to carry away with is: get to know your audiences to lead you to your audience development programs.  It is time to have focus groups again, social opportunities to meet them in person, customer service that follows up with them, branding that will attract them and databases that capture valuable profile information to cater your marketing specifically to them. It is also time to start outreach efforts so you can meet your potential audiences.  The advice for audience relations programs were different for each person who came to see me, but the bottom line messages I just shared were the same.

5:15 Lightening Rounds of Research

I must say that I was completely brain dead after giving my all to my coaching sessions.  I spent about 5 minutes in this presentation, and I realized I had plenty already to think about.  Plus, this session was not particularly engaging since they were mainly spouting off their research numbers.  I left and found someone interesting to talk to, Drew McManus.  Drew was someone I wanted to meet, and this conference made it possible.  We had a pretty in-depth conversation about the orchestra industry.  Finding out that he is from my hometown area, I’m sure I will meet up with him again for many more enlightening discussions.  The conference proved that it really is a small world.  He knew some of the same people even though I moved from the area during the time he moved in.  My roommate’s cousin-in-law happens to work with my sister.  Strange coincidences, but fascinating to feel connected.

There were Dine-Around opportunities, but I opted for a quiet dinner with my roommate.  We were both utterly exhausted.  Watching some television helped me to unwind a bit too.  I couldn’t think another marketing thought if I tried.  Well, at least until I attempted to get some sleep.   Tomorrow morning was my presentation, and it was playing around in my head all night long.

The next blog will be my last day and final impressions.  Stay tuned for the final day!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development, Online fund raising, Online fundraising

Audience development and parking…

There has been talk around the twittersphere about the importance of parking for audience development.  One of the biggest reasons why patrons do not come back is not quality or programming, but parking!  Costs are also a factor.  How can this be?

The discussion started via an article that is being sent around:

How Symphonies Grew Strong Audiences By Killing The Myth Of The Average Consumer

In 2007, several orchestra managers joined forces to analyze their collective marketing challenge. A pro bono third-party study by Oliver Wyman (Audience Growth Initiative) found that on average, symphonies lost 55% of their customers each year; churn among first-time concert-goers was 91%! …

The symphonies compiled a list of 78 attributes of the classical music experience, from the architecture of the hall to the service at the bar to the availability of information on the Internet. Using online surveys and other techniques, the list was whittled down to 16 factors with the greatest impact on attendance.

Horns and strings! It turns out the quality of the orchestra, magnificence of the hall, and virtuosity of the conductor were not particularly important attributes. What was? Drum roll! The most powerful “driver of revisitation” was parking! As with other orchestras, veteran members of the core BSO audience had figured out where to park, but trialists identified it as a huge hassle–so they didn’t come back. Another driver was the ability to exchange tickets; trialists found the “no refunds, no exchanges” policy a deal breaker.

Many people have been surprised to see that parking is this big of an issue, but honestly, I am not.  Think back to your own experiences.  Unless there is an event that is a “must see,” if I had trouble finding parking, I will not go the next time.  If the experience leading up to attending becomes a hassle, and the discomfort level outweighs the experience, people will not return.

Here was the list of the 16 main factors they had sited in the study:

Core Product

  • Repertoire
  • Hall
  • Contemporary music
  • Enriching experience
  • Orchestra prestige and quality

Music Enhancement

  • Music information
  • Live commentary
  • Special effects

Hall Access

  • Access
  • Parking
  • Ability to attend

Social Experiences

  • Social outing
  • Bar
  • Orchestra club

Transactional

  • Planning and purchasing
  • Exchanges

In looking at this list, the hall access and transactional were the biggest factors for the reason why people did not return.  This means that the customer service side of your arts business may need attention. The overall experience for the event – before, during, after – needs to be addressed to make your audience members comfortable and happy.  When people are delighted with the overall experience, they are more likely to come back.

This entire report is worth looking at since it goes on to discuss how to keep the unconverted trialists through “killer offers” based on the fact that discounts have the most leverage for increasing single ticket sales. However, the point that it is more cost effective to build relationships with your current attendees due to higher ROI over the years was duly noted.

All in all, the message from this report is clear.  We need to value all of our patrons in ways that they will feel valued.  Making it easy and enjoyable throughout their entire event experience and building relationships with them is definitely the way to go.

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development

Audience Development and service with care…

I have been thinking about good customer service lately.   Good customer service is one way to establish yourself among our clamoring markets.  It is also a good way to show you care about your audience.  Good customer service, service with care, is good audience development.  The following is a quick list of suggestions to add to your daily life:
1. Spell people’s names correctly – You can view the complete blog on this one here: Audience Development and the name game
2. Go the extra mile and provide all the important information needed up front (as much as you can).   If you have people asking you:
a. What is the link?
b. When is it?
c. Where is it?
d. What’s the program?
etc.
either they did not read carefully enough or you did not provide the important what, when, who, how for them in a up front, easy to use manner.  For example, I was invited to meet at someone’s office and they sent me the details on the date, yet they forgot to give me the address.  They probably assumed I would look it up online, but why not provide that information up front in the email?  If it is a patron, it is more work on the patron, and some will say “forget it!” if you don’t supply the information needed.
3. Listen to your patrons and be helpful.  I don’t know how many times I have been on the phone with a customer service agent and they give me the panned answer “sorry I can’t help you with that” only to find out by calling back later, another agent was able to help me with the same request.   The second agent listened to me and was helpful by seeking out more answers when she didn’t know how she could help, and then she was able to help.   We no longer can afford to be the “nay sayers” when it comes to servicing our patrons.  We need to listen to them and be helpful to their needs and requests.
4. Follow up.  If you helped a patron with a problem, you have the opportunity to follow up to make sure you actually did help them.  For example, I switched seats for a person that called in since they broke their leg in a car accident.  I worked on finding the best seat to make them as comfortable as possible.  Then, I called them after the concert to see if the seat worked for them.  There was only one change like this, so why not take a moment to call?  If you say you are too busy, then you are too busy to have happy and loyal patrons.
Follow up can also mean finding out how they enjoyed a concert.  Try this, select a couple of patrons each concert to personally follow up with.  In fact, everyone on your “team” can do this.  A courtesy service call can go a long way in showing you care about their thoughts and feelings regarding your events and programs.
5.  Treat,  everyone with the care they are desiring.  This means that there are some folks out there that rather not get our mailings, but rather get an email.  Or, there might be some people that never want you to call them.  If that last example had “do not call” on their profile, I would have attempted to follow up in a different manner.  Find out how they prefer to be contacted.  You will then be catering their individual wants and needs and how they would like to be cared for.
6. Set a “get back” policy and stick to it.  People are falling through the cracks because sometimes we forget to get back to them in a timely fashion. Some businesses state they will return a call within 24 hours.  Some are less or more in their choice of window.  The point is to let your patrons know what you are capable of doing for them and then do it for them.  I have heard complaints from the general public that they have called or emailed, but no one responded back.  If you think you don’t have the capacity for this, you are setting yourself up for more decreases rather than increases.  People need to feel they are being taken care of.   It’s best to adjust so you can treat them well.
7. Be sure to thank them and be grateful for your patrons.  It’s time to stop being crabby when patrons call.  I have seen some arts orgs that actually feel put out when a patron calls.  Maybe sometimes it isn’t convenient for you when they call.  The best thing you can do is to take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are there doing what you are doing because they make it possible.  Being grateful to them, thanking them, and being there for them is what service with care is all about.

There are many more ways you can service your patrons with care.  If you think of any creative ones, please do reply with a comment. 
Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,
Shoshana

Shoshana Fanizza

Audience Development Specialists

http://www.buildmyaudience.com

FacebookTwitterLinkedin

“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

Leave a comment

Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development