By: Kara Parkinson, Customer Acquisition, Retention & Growth at AudienceView
The customer touchpoint – any act of communication between organization and customer – comes in many different forms for entertainment venues.
Your pre-show emails, website and phone calls may be early interactions, but it doesn’t end there.
‘Magic moments’ can happen in many ways. There is a continuum of pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase touchpoints that come together to give your customers an outstanding pre-event experience with your venue, show or team.
Touchpoints can be both planned or spontaneous. Any unplanned touchpoint can be exciting and provide incredible customer satisfaction, but you can also pre-plan them to surprise and delight your guests.
In the pre-purchase stage, you need to consider if you are ‘hunting’ or ‘farming’.
Hunters are looking for new attendees from outside of your database. They may have heard of your organization but haven’t yet experienced anything you are offering. If you are ‘farming’, you are reaching into your existing database to engage previous customers with new experiences.
You also need to consider what outcomes you want from the customers you hunt or farm. Are you selling season tickets or a package? Seeking a donation? Trying to get them to come to a different type of show or sport than they’ve traditionally attended?
When you’re out hunting, there are a variety of ways to reach new attendees. Here are five to consider during the pre-purchase stage:
- Special events. Can you offer something that goes beyond the event itself, like an opportunity to meet members of your cast or team?
- Open house. Invite people to take a look behind the curtain, backstage or in the locker room at no cost to them. You can arrange this on your own or see if you can participate in an event like Doors Open Toronto or Open House New York when cities and organizations promote amazing venues just like yours to the public. This helps people preview their experience before they commit to spending money.
- Earned media. Create great relationships with your local radio station or paper, then reach out with interesting stories that they can share with their audiences. Here are some helpful tips on the art of giving a great interview to help you prepare.
- Contests. Share contests through your social media channels. These can be low-cost ways to reach new people. Providing entries for social shares is free and gets more eyes on your venue.
- Out of building events. Is there a local event your cast or team can attend? They can take photos with fans, perform, teach children how to play their sport and more.
Be sure to keep active attendees engaged too, especially those you are farming. Reaching out throughout the year has value. Send them video clips of what you’re doing or to show your donors how their money is being spent.
Leveraging in-person touchpoints
There are many ways that in-person touchpoints can help provide a great experience. People buy from people; we all want to buy from someone we like and trust. Make sure your frontline staff is well trained to help your customers feel comfortable and welcome.
You can improve your customers’ experience through shareable moments like selfie spots or a lobby exhibition of what they’ll see on stage, which can be highly interactive and a lot of fun while your customers wait. You can also do this virtually with a localized social media frame or filter.
Online content helps extend the experience pre or post show. If you have the capabilities in-house, interview cast members or athletes and share their stories. AudienceView Unlimited, AudienceView Professional and AudienceView Select clients also have the opportunity to reach out to TheaterMania to leverage their suite of content and even purchase custom content.
During the purchase cycle, you can also offer targeted upsells or add-ons to enhance the customer experience on event day. This is especially welcome if offers are available exclusively online or provides value such as express access to concessions or a show memorabilia counter.
After the purchase
Your customers’ journey doesn’t end once they’ve bought a ticket. There are three more stages — before the event, at the event and post event.
Before the event, send your customers a pre-show email. Give them the information you think they will need. For example, if they’ve never been to your venue before, help them understand where to park and where to eat. Let them know if there are any specific venue rules; are they allowed to bring in bags? Is there a dress code? We recommend sending your pre-show email 10 days before the event so attendees have at least one weekend to prepare any special elements. You can send attendees a reminder email the day before the event as well, just to make sure they’re not missing any key information.
At the event, you can surprise and delight your customers by leveraging the power of your software (like our AudienceView Unlimited, AudienceView Professional or AudienceView Select offerings). Surveys or forms allow you to ask questions, or use their purchase history, key dates (birthdays, etc.) to surprise and delight them during their visit. These can become shareable moments, which are free marketing for your venue or show!
Special touchpoints can also take place at your event to create profoundly meaningful moments. A cast sing-along or special photo opportunities all provide attendees with ways to share their experience.
After the event
After your customers have left your show, you have a short window when they are still feeling the ‘afterglow’ of their experience. You can extend that with customer touchpoints.
If you’ve had a winning game, what about sending an “Are you our lucky charm” email invitation to the next game? How about an ‘I’m sorry we missed you’ to attendees who didn’t scan in. Be sure to leverage your attendance data to make this phase make sense.
AudienceView’s suite of software and media offerings allows organizations of all sizes and types to engage customers in ways you’ve never been able to before. Explore our offerings and reach out to us to find out how we can help.