My newest (cyber) friend is Erin Vargo who is the Audience Development and Group Sales Manager at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.  She recently sent me a very interesting blog post from the off-stage right blog:

Better box office and front of house service keeps your customers coming back – almost as much as your programming

She accompanied the link with her thoughts:

In my past life, I worked in marketing and PR for big box retail (Borders, followed briefly by B&N), and I am in total agreement about the massive disconnect between the “front lines” and the folks who often make the decisions.

We happen to have some of the best frontline staff anywhere, here at the theatre. And there’s certainly less of a gap in terms of the people who actually provide customer service and the folks in director-level positions. BUT still – for group sales in particular – I think we can learn from this.

As sellers of group tickets, as caretakers of the “big evening out” for people, as customer service representatives ourselves, we directly affect our income by virtue of the service we provide, and the information we gather. We have changed several practices here, based on repeated feedback from customers (for example, allowing multiple credit cards to be added and charged for a group; adding phone access to promotions formerly accessible online only, etc.). Then we let them know that we listened and changes our ways because we value them. It makes a difference.

How do you see our role? Do you have thoughts about the dynamic the employees on the front-lines as sources for positive change? I’m interested to know what you think.

I would like to ask this same question to all of you out there:  what are your thoughts?

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