Tag Archives: customer service

#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

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

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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

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

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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

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

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Filed under arts management, arts marketing, Audience Development