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The New Customer Service
 

The New Customer Service

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Amelia Northrup of TRG Arts, Aleta King of Pittsburgh Symphony and Katryn Geane of Jacob's Pillow Dance made this presentation during the 2011 National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) Conference.

Amelia Northrup of TRG Arts, Aleta King of Pittsburgh Symphony and Katryn Geane of Jacob's Pillow Dance made this presentation during the 2011 National Arts Marketing Project (NAMP) Conference.

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  • I’m sure everyone in this room has had an experience similar to this one: (play Chase video)Everyone can relate to this commercial not only because we all hate phone trees, but also because we share the desire for personalized, easy service. Yet, when someone calls an arts organization’s ticket office, they are typically greeted by that same old automated voice. In the case of an organization’s most loyal patrons, do we really mean it when we say, “Your call is very important to us.”?Web link to video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoFjQ50x4LE
  • That’s one of the questions we want to answer today.Welcome to the new customer service. I’m Amelia Northrup, Strategic Communications Specialist at TRG Arts, the data-driven arts consulting firm. Today I welcome Aleta King, Senior Director of Patron Development at Pittsburgh Symphony and Katryn Geane, Marketing and Communication Coordinator at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.I’m excited…. vampThese panelists represent best practices in makingcustomer service patron-centric, but I don’t doubt that we have many people in the room today who are also leading innovations in customer service.We want this session to be open to discussion. We’ll have a few breaks for questions during the presentationand plenty of time to talk at the end, but [CLICK]if you are on Twitter, feel free to ask questions on the #newCS or tell us about your own successes, experiments and ideas around customizing arts experiences and customer service.
  • I’ll start by addressing the question: how is customer service changing?Then we’ll have our panelists present some practitioner examples:Aleta will discuss better customer service through structural changes.Katryn will discuss better customer service through social media.We’ll have a long discussion period at the end. Again, we want to hear your thoughts, successes, challenges with customer service so keep the tweets coming.
  • As you may have guessed by its title, this presentation will focus on how the traditional definition of customer service is changing. Many of these changes have come from technology and how it has changed customers’ expectations.
  • In an increasingly segmented marketplace, customers now expect products and services to fulfill their specific needs.Retailers like Amazon and Netflix use sophisticated technology to recommend more products, remembering buying history and order information, and tailoring the experience to each customer’s preferences. Living in a world of technology that remembers us, consumers have come to expect customized experiences and knowledge of their experiences.
  • What about the arts? In the arts, the experience [CLICK] is the product. Look at the language we use to describe our industry. It is ALL about experience. The word “experience” is an essential part of our vernacular.Smart arts managers know that the arts experience starts from the time a patron picks up the phone or goes online to order a ticket and ends when the patron arrives home after the event. Wecan enhance the artistic product by making the EXPERIENCE better, whether it be through ticketing buying, dealing with complaints, helping patrons find their way to their seats, or making parking clear. Good customer service has an impact every step of the way.What is so important about that?
  • TRG’s years of client experience and patron loyalty research shows that patron loyalty is a process—a process that begins with the first time they pick up the phone to order a ticket and grows with accumulated experiences with the organization.[CLICK]We think of patron loyalty as a ladder. Patrons start at the bottom of the ladder [CLICK]as a “tryer” when they have their first interaction or transaction with the company. An accumulation of experiences brings the tryer from buying a single ticket to [CLICK] becoming subscriber or member—a “buyer”. From there a patron deeps their relationship by becoming one of an organization’s most loyal, most highly engaged, highest investing patrons—[CLICK] a long-time subscriber or donor—an “advocate.”Aleta has an example that is a little more detailed, but you can see not only how patrons move up, but how each department has a role in fulfilling each segment’s needs. A tryer is usually handled primarily by front-of-house and box office staff, a buyer by marketing, and an advocate by development. Good experiences and connection with the organization at every stage of the gamemoves patrons up the ladder.
  • A patron’s experience, then, is a set of related interactions that, together, determine future buying and donating behavior. We need to view customer service the way a patron sees the experience, not the way we see it. This is the very definition of patron-centric customer service. Patrons experience our organizations in a variety of ways, not just from our online presence or talking to box office staff. Patron experience and customer service spills over into the other departments of our organizations:In other words, the box office talks to 100 people a day, but Mrs. Smith only talks to one box office.
  • The experience arts patrons have unfolds in a variety of ways and involves each department, including:the marketing materials they see advertising an eventthe interactions they have with box office staff or online ticketingthe ease or difficulty of parkingthe way they pick up tickets at the venuethe manner in which they are seated by the ushers, and, of course, the artistic experience. But wait--it’s not over yet--they’ll also remember how crowded the bathrooms were at intermission, the interactions they had with staff or other patrons in the lobby, how the traffic was on the way home, AND when–or whether–the organization thanks or even acknowledges them for coming. They remember these aspects of the experience time after time, for every event they attend.In this way, Customer service has an effect on every out-ward facing department.As Scott Stratten says, customer service becomes everyone’s job.
  • In an increasingly public and viral world, the line between these departmentsand customer service blurs. As David Meerman Scott posits in Real-Time Marketing and PR ““Not only are customer service needs immediate, the consequences if they are handled incorrectly are immediate as well.” What he’s saying is that—because it’s everyone’s job—if there’s a bad experience any step of the way, you’ve lost them. And, with today’s technology, there might be a consequence that’s online and public. (which Katryn will touch on)Arts orgs can create good customer service by adopting a patron-centric models where customer service is everyone’s job.
  • Going back to this definition, in our world, product and services must not only have MET our customers’ expectations… [CLICK]
  • …but exceeded them. How are marketers in the field exceeding customer expectations? Our panelists will be presenting examples of their experiences and successes.
  • One example of a company becoming patron-centric is that of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.Senior Director of Patron Development Aleta King and her team of personal Patron Service Representatives provide customer service by personalizing the ordering and ticketing experience.
  • The PSR concept is in the area of “Annuity” in the PSO’s Strategic Plan.
  • The PSR program is the most significant change we have made to achieve this new way of thinking.
  • Still working on this, just a few quick notes so far. Building relationships is a process over time. We have had some short term successes, but we are still tweaking the program and working on those relationships. The most difficult thing is measuring the tactical goals/metrics. People want to see numbers and want them now, but relationship building doesn’t happen overnight.
  • You started this program in a down economy and it did cost money. Did you have any pushback?Innovation model.
  • While Aleta and her team exemplify the more traditional view of customer service, Katryn Geane, Marketing and Communication Coordinator at Jacob’s Pillow focuses on outreach—specifically with social media. Jacob’s Pillow not only does an outstanding job providing customer service, they have formed a social media policy around customer service and empowered Katryn to do what needs to be done to serve patrons.
  • No server wants to arrive at their recently-vacated table to see this message from customers. This is what good customer service aims to avoid. Hopefully, that person did not take to Twitter to vent their frustrations as well!And here’s a thought on what a change in semantics could do: “If we stop calling it ‘social media’ and say ‘customer service’ instead, will people do it more?”It is nearly impossible to engage via social media without also providing customer service. Even if you don’t talk to anyone but your company has a presence on social media platforms, you’re providing customer service. I wouldn’t recommend not talking to anyone, but more on that in a few slides…
  • Let’s start with one extreme example of customer service from the airline industry (an industry that people really like to complain about on social media):KLM airline has so committed to customer service via social media that they promise to answer every tweet/post within the hour anytime, day or night. (It’s true, I’ve tweeted at them and gotten a quick response.)To official launch and raise awareness of their 24-hour social media presence, they created what they called the “living alphabet” wherein they responded to some tweets sent to their Twitter handle in a unique way: KLM employees at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport lined up holding letters that spelled out the 140-character responses, which was filmed and posted to the company’s YouTube page. KLM wanted to show that they were willing to go the extra mile to connect with and appreciate their customers.This is (obviously) an extreme example, but one that shows that customer service via social media is nearly limitless.
  • Customer Service: Proactive and Reactiveaka Broadcasting and CommunicatingProactive: identify and resolve issues before they become problems Examples: product/show reviews to help inform your patrons; Reactive: responding to customer inquiries/questionsie phone calls, letters; now tweets, posts, emailsSame with social media communication: Cannot engage via social media without also providing customer serviceYou’re on social media FOR your patrons, not just to talk about yourself
  • Using examples from Facebook, but the same kind of interactions happen on Jacob’s Pillow TwitterProactive and Reactive can also be considered Communicating and Broadcasting;Giving info is “broadcasting” but also fulfilling a purpose—if the people have chosen to make a connection with you (friending, liking, following), then they’ve taken an action that says they want information from you.Proactive Examples 1Information about community classesTicket updates about seat availabilityRain plan updates for outdoor performanceThis sort of general-but-community-interest information shows that you’re aware of what the community is interested in and also that you’re preemptively providing information so they don’t have to call you.
  • Proactive Examples 2Here, I posted a link to information about an upcoming talk with the choreographer of a wildly popular show.Information included with the link was her name, the talk topic, the time, and that it was a free event.Patrons don’t even have to really click on the link to know the pertinent details.Broadcasting can lead to communicating!Customer service can lead to conversations; Here, a patron asked about the availability of a talk with a choreographer online I answered her question and directed her to our other online resourcesNote: Our policy about when celebrities visit, we don’t post about it until after they leave (ie Billy Bell, David Hallberg, also in 2011: Tyra Banks, Jimmy Smits)(And appreciate the adoring/slightly stalkerish comment about ABT dancer David Hallberg) 
  • Reactive Examples 1Answering questions, giving resources, general helpfulnessGrounds opening: “Today at the Pillow” (offering extra resources, empowering the audience)Internships: giving another contact for additional informationAlways great to go the extra step; don’t just give yes/no answer, elaborate, steer the conversation where you want
  • Reactive Examples 2: When Patrons Get CrankySometimes we hear from colleagues that there’s a fear of getting on social media because “what if someone says something bad or negative?” Here’s an example of that situation…Alan’s comment: “This season so far has been a major disappointment. I actually walked out on tonight’s performance. Something I have never done before in my life. And from the number of empty seats after intermission, others must be feeling the same way.”Before responding, we researched Alan in our ticket and donor databases to get an idea of his relationship with the Pillow so we could respond appropriately. We learned, based on his ticket purchases, that he had seen Carte Blanche that night (pictured here); the Pillow presented the U.S. full company debut and so it was new company for our audiences and the choreography was by an Israeli choreographer and not what people think of as typical “modern dance.”Our response: “Alan: Thank you so much for your feedback and we appreciate your perspective. We always hear many varying responses to the companies we present and this week we've also heard that people have been deeply moved, astonished, indifferent, or confused...” and it continued from there. This response wasn’t completely off the cuff; we thought about it, thought about what kind of tone we wanted to take (appreciating his viewpoint while pointing out his isn’t the only opinion) People were confused, indifferent, put off by this show; wasn’t the easiest show to watch We wanted to be honest, validate his opinion, but also show that his wasn’t the only one We don’t “apologize” for the art; we make people feel heard, and understand that some things aren’t for everyoneOther people responded!We’ve cultivated a community that is accepting of varying opinions and views on the art of dance.“It’s the performances that you liked the least that you think about the most.”We seeded this responses a little—sent it out to staff and interns asking them to respond if they wanted to (but not required)Other comments: agreed that they didn’t like everything they’ve seen at the Pillow but were happy they got the opportunity to see lots of diverse work[This type of comment makes us especially happy because it’s part of the Pillow’s mission to “to engage and deepen public appreciation and support for dance.”]TWO POINTS: 1) Alan went immediately to our FB page (commented THAT NIGHT), so he knew it was a place where he could immediately air his thoughts; 2) we responded, didn’t delete the post, and other community members also voiced their opinions in responseReactive customer service turned community engagement: total win
  • Reactive Examples 3: He’s Back!Alan is back a month later saying that another performance he saw was “almost dance” and “a bad attempt at magic.” Another patron had, of course, the opposite opinion and voiced it.We, again, responded and thanked BOTH patrons for their thoughts.AND, the best part of this whole situation is what happened at the end of the summer with Alan. Alan has been a Pillow ticket buyer and low-to-mid-level member since 2007. He attended one of our education events in late August and, after experiencing the benefit performance, talking to students and guests artists, and speaking to our Development team, Alan became a student sponsor by giving $5,000 in addition to his $250 membership. Now, we know this is not entirely due to his interactions with the Pillow on Facebook, BUT if his comments had been deleted or he had been chastised for sharing his thoughts, he probably wouldn’t have felt good enough about our organization to give that sort of additional donation.SO—what you do online DOES matter and it DOES make a difference to the patron and how they view your organization. Even the littlest “thank you” or link brings them closer to your organization.Also, let’s note Mary: she completely ignored these other comments and put her own comment about how she loved the other performance
  • If you’re not providing information AND engaging in conversation, you’re not using social media to its fullest potential; don’t have to jump in all at once, can be a gradual immersion. Social Media Policy Development: How do you start? Who should be the one behind the Facebook/Twitter account? This is what we have established, but you should look at your own organization and change as necessary. At the Pillow, we have a team that is “in charge” of different social media platforms, but we all know the overall strategy and plan of action. Voice should be knowledgeable, authentic, and friendly, but not overly-casualWe use phrases like “check out this video” and “our Pillow friend” but never “yo, dude, check out this mad hot clip” or “this dancing is totally sick!”Using common language is ok, don’t want to sound overly-sophisticated or “snooty” and put people offWhomever is in charge of your online voice—one person, a team—they should know the feeling and the brand of the organization and your management team should be comfortable with that person speaking as the online voice (so… probably not your temporary intern).Information shared should be relevant and related to the online community, the dance field, and/or the Pillow itself.Content posted (i.e. article link) or curated (i.e. YouTube playlist) is always related to dance, dancers, a conversation going on in the dance community (i.e. Black Swan, Dancing with the Stars), or an immediately related situation (i.e. School alumnus winning an award)Always something to tie it back to dance/the Pillow to give validity and authority to the conversationConversations are encouraged; ask questions and seek answers from all community membersIn the case of an upset patron, listen to their concerns, validate their feelings, and provide options to rectify the situation (if necessary)Sometimes people don’t want you to DO anything, they just want to feel heardIf conversation gets particularly vitriolic, it’s OK to take it off-line“Here’s my email, why don’t you send me a note so we can talk more and find a solution.”“Call our Box Office and ask for Melanie, our manager, she’s ready to help.”
  • If you’re not providing information AND engaging in conversation, you’re not using social media to its fullest potential; don’t have to jump in all at once, can be a gradual immersion. Social Media Policy Development: How do you start? Who should be the one behind the Facebook/Twitter account? This is what we have established, but you should look at your own organization and change as necessary. At the Pillow, we have a team that is “in charge” of different social media platforms, but we all know the overall strategy and plan of action. Voice should be knowledgeable, authentic, and friendly, but not overly-casualWe use phrases like “check out this video” and “our Pillow friend” but never “yo, dude, check out this mad hot clip” or “this dancing is totally sick!”Using common language is ok, don’t want to sound overly-sophisticated or “snooty” and put people offWhomever is in charge of your online voice—one person, a team—they should know the feeling and the brand of the organization and your management team should be comfortable with that person speaking as the online voice (so… probably not your temporary intern).Information shared should be relevant and related to the online community, the dance field, and/or the Pillow itself.Content posted (i.e. article link) or curated (i.e. YouTube playlist) is always related to dance, dancers, a conversation going on in the dance community (i.e. Black Swan, Dancing with the Stars), or an immediately related situation (i.e. School alumnus winning an award)Always something to tie it back to dance/the Pillow to give validity and authority to the conversationConversations are encouraged; ask questions and seek answers from all community membersIn the case of an upset patron, listen to their concerns, validate their feelings, and provide options to rectify the situation (if necessary)Sometimes people don’t want you to DO anything, they just want to feel heardIf conversation gets particularly vitriolic, it’s OK to take it off-line“Here’s my email, why don’t you send me a note so we can talk more and find a solution.”“Call our Box Office and ask for Melanie, our manager, she’s ready to help.”
  • Can/should use social media to provide proactive and reactive customer serviceReally can’t use social media without providing customer service, unless you’re just throwing out information and not engaging with people who respondOpen up avenues of communication between your organization and your patrons/potential patronsWith social media, people want to be heard and they want to know that their questions/complaints, issues are being addressed by a person and taken seriouslyBrings your patrons closer to your organization, makes them feel appreciatedBy offering information proactively AND responding when the patron initiates contactYou never know, you may have a hundred “Alans” in your community!
  • How do you relate these efforts to front-of-house?How do you accurately assess a patron or a group of patron’s needs?How much should you broadcast vs. converse on social media?How do you decide who responds to comments online?How do you initially set up a social media customer service strategy?How do you tie in interactions on a CRM system?How do you capture people information on people who only communicate with you on social media? Is it ok to bridge that gap?When do you take a conversation offline?How do you get organizational buy-in for structural changes around CS or social media for customer service? Patron buy-in?How do you know if it’s the time to implement a program like this?How do curb the problem of “internal lingo”? How do you know when to assume patrons know what you talk about?What are the considerations that go into making a structural change like the PSR program? (training, communication to customers, etc.)If your org is trying to be more patron-centric, are there any other changes you recommend in tandem to the PSR?Who’s in charge of moving valuable patrons to donors? How does marketing/ticketing work with development?Knowledge of experiences—how does this play into your individual organizations’ CS?How much time do you spend talking about parking?For crowd:How are you using social media to provide customer service?What structural changes are you implementing to provide customer service?

The New Customer Service The New Customer Service Presentation Transcript

  • The New Customer Service Amelia Northrup, TRG ArtsAleta King, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Katryn Geane, Jacob’s Pillow #newCS #NAMPC
  • Trends Examples Discussion3
  • Customer Service ( rvəs)“Customer service is a series of activitiesdesigned to enhance the level of customersatisfaction – that is, the feeling that aproduct or service has met customerexpectations.“ Turban et al. (2002) 4
  • Expectation of Customization5
  • Experience the magic and the spectacle of the toymaker and the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy. -Lone Star BalletThe Arts Experience6
  • Patron Loyalty The process of finding new buyers that are converted into frequent buyers, subscriber/members, donors Advocatesand, ultimately, lifelong patrons. Buyers Tryers 7
  • Related interactions Graphic: Achieve Guidance Blog8
  • PR Front- of- Development House Customer Service Marketing Ticketing9
  • “Not only are customer service needs immediate, the consequences if they are handled incorrectly are immediate as well.” -David Meerman Scott Real-Time Marketing & PR10
  • Customer Service ( rvəs)“Customer service is a series of activitiesdesigned to enhance the level of customersatisfaction – that is, the feeling that aproduct or service has met customerexpectations.“ Turban et al. (2002) 11
  • New Customer Service ( rvəs)“Customer service is a series of activitiesdesigned to enhance the level of customersatisfaction – that is, the feeling that aproduct or service has exceeded customerexpectations.” 12
  • Examples First: Improving customer service13 through structural changes
  • Pittsburgh Symphony OrchestraPatron Service through Structural Change
  • Annuity GoalSignificantly increase Constituent Household Investment over time measured by increases in the number of Households and increases in the Average Revenue per Household
  •  OurAudience is the primary source of operating and endowment revenue Gaining a deep understanding of this idea and its implications is critical The League of American Orchestras © St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, LodeStar Associates
  • The “Annuity” Building ProcessCreating Definable, Sustainable, and Predictable Revenue
  • Fundamental Shift in Thinking Old Thinking: Economic Engine based on producing concerts and selling tickets New Thinking: Economic Engine is based on development of patrons through deep reciprocal relationships w/ the PSO The League of American Orchestras © St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, LodeStar Associates
  • Patron Progression Model Single Early Loyal Pre-SuperExposure “Super-” Ticket Subscriber Subscriber Patron Patron Buyer Household Household Household Household Household
  • Annuity Strategy Patrons First– Rethink and Redefine (reciprocal) relationships with our patrons – Connect with Patrons – Build Commitment with Patrons – Increase “Household Investment” of Patrons – Offer Transformational Artistic Experiences – Ensure Total Experience is Outstanding
  • Annuity Tactics Patron Progression Model Patron Service Representatives Transformational Artistic Experiences Total Experience
  • Patron Service Representative (PSR) Purpose Increase Patron household commitment and investment in the PSO by developing deep reciprocal relationships with Patrons and by offering outstanding service, education, and sales opportunities.
  • Patron Service Representatives Patron PortfolioThe PSRs will work with: Patron Households - Subscribers and Subscriber/DonorThe PSRs will not handle: Single Ticket Customers Donors who do not have a Subscription Major Donor Households ($1,500+ ) AF gifts will be handled by Donor Relations
  • PSR Program Tactics Education Service Sales Offering outstanding,  Enabling enhanced  Encouraging personalized attention artistic experiences Subscription and Donation retention Promoting increased Customization of service  Offering easier Household Investment transactional experiences
  • Positive Outcomes to Date Identification of Planned Gift candidates 2% increase in renewed subs 2% increase in renewed donations Increase in the average donation Numerous written positive comments Patrons donating in the name of their PSR
  • Hi Shannon,Just opened my mail from the PSO and see your smiling face.How great to now know what you look like. Here’s a pic of mein Kona, Hawaii last November. I’m at the City of Refuge withmy 2 scary boyfriends.Thank you for being patient with me and all the help youprovided. Marian
  • Questions?
  • Examples Second: Improving customer servicethrough technology
  • “KLM answers every tweet and post in person. Within the hour. Day and night.”
  • Customer Service:Proactive and Reactive,Broadcasting/Communicating• Proactive: identify and resolve issues before they become problems• Reactive: responding to customer inquiries/issues Cannot engage via social media without also providing customer service
  • Proactive Examples: Providing Information
  • Proactive Examples: Providing Resources Scholar-in-Residence Philip Szporer and Choreographer Crystal Pite
  • Reactive Examples: Answering Questions
  • Reactive Examples: Opinionated Patrons Carte Blanche, U.S. full company debut
  • Reactive Examples: Opinionated Patrons… Redux Jonah Bokaer
  • Social Media Policy Development • Voice: Knowledgeable, authentic, and friendly, but not overly-casual • Information: Relevant and related to the online community, the dance field, and/or the Pillow itself. • Conversations: Encouraged! Ask questions and seek answers from all community members • Upset Patrons: Listen to concerns, validate feelings, and provide options to rectify the situation (if necessary)
  • Takeaways• Can/should use social media to provide proactive and reactive customer service• Opens up avenues of communication between your organization and your patrons/potential patrons• Brings your patrons closer to your organization, makes them feel appreciated You never know, you may have a hundred “Alans” in your community!
  • Questions?
  • DISCUSSION41
  • Amelia Northrup@TRGArtsanorthrup@trgarts.comKatryn Geane@jacobspillowkgeane@jacobspillow.orgAleta King@pghsymphonyAKing@pittsburghsymphony.org