Leading up to UK Theatre’s Frontline Conference, we sent out a tongue in cheek reminder of what can go wrong when you don’t have the right tools to manage your customer journey. Having worked front and back of house in arts organisations for many years, I know first-hand that it is often the box office and front of house staff who have to deal with the repercussions of these tricky situations.
That’s why UK Theatre’s Frontline conference is so important. It gives our coal facers a forum to explore issues vital to their day to day reality. This year, some particularly hot topics included finding ways of turning audience feedback into something tangible and actionable, and then later in the day we discussed the notion of how you might approach a manifesto for being truly accessible. The most important topic, for me, centred on how to get different departments working together on organisationally crucial tasks such as a membership scheme relaunch.
This got us thinking...
What types of tools do we already have (or are free) that can help with connecting up your different teams across your whole business?
Collaborative tools like Confluence, Slite and Google Sites are free for many organisations and can be really powerful places to store shared information, forms, projects and meeting agendas and notes. In one of my previous organisations, we brought in Confluence to be our central information point for all things box office and front of house; it is searchable, archive-able and really easy to use.
Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, or other storage options are essential tools for storing and sharing those giga-hefty documents instead of blocking up your emails with giant files!
Do you have regular meetings with marketing and fundraising to hear about their upcoming campaigns and offers on the horizon? If not, consider setting one up or, if that’s not in your remit, petition your managers with a business case as to how you could all work more efficiently if you got together regularly.
Maximise your use of scanning so that when your front of house teams scan a major donor’s ticket as they enter the building, the fundraising team is immediately notified so they can say a little hello. You could also do the same with someone who needs a bit of TLC, a first time visitor or recent membership sign up. And if you don’t have scanning abilities, maybe nudge your ticketing system provider to put it on their road map!
Collaborative tools like Trello and Asana are great for setting up helpdesks and queueing workflows – I use Trello to manage my own personal to do lists for work and home.
A long time ago I became one of those people who would reply to certain emails with “TLDNR”. As far as I’m concerned, any email that is longer than five lines isn’t really an email – it’s a telephone call or face to face. Of course there are exceptions to this (not that many though),
Your ticketing system should have a comprehensive and flexible customer record that empowers you to store all types of information about your audiences, configured to meet the needs of your business. Make sure you are using it to share intel among departments. It should be able to tell you whether the customer you’re speaking to is a donor, member or education participant. It should help you to communicate important information about your visitors with the rest of your organisation, even if that person is on a different floor or even a different building! (If you don’t have a grown up system with a rich CRM component, get in touch.)
At Tessitura Network, we believe that cross-departmental collaboration is vital to the success of thriving arts organisations and that true efficiency can come from unifying your tools and teams. Sometimes this is through using great software; sometimes this is through walking over to your colleague to chat. For some inspiration, wander over to our Success Stories page, where you can read about how organisations like the Black Country Living Museum are using Tessitura to unify their teams.