We receive a number of weird and wonderful refund requests which gives you an insight into the sometimes bizarre world of daily customer queries. We do appreciate that some of these requests are beyond any event organiser’s control and that you simply can’t afford to cover these costs as a customer had to carry their wet coat around with them all night.
But what about those queries where a customer has made an error or life throws those lemons at them and they simply can’t make lemonade out of it? With this in mind, throughout the year, Customer Care (CC) have been an unstoppable force by opening the dialogue between promoters and your patrons with genuine queries that need your attention.
You may have even received one of those pesky emails from CC recently, asking ‘What’s your best advice, in order to keep the customer happy?’. We’re not saying you need to give refunds to anybody and everybody who asks for one (as we’re here to help promote and develop your business), but offering certain refunds can actually have a positive impact on your brand.
It’s no secret that us guys in Customer Care love a helpful promoter – we can’t get enough of you. There is nothing more pleasing to our ears than an event organiser who is willing to take into consideration an individual customer’s circumstances.
Below are two real examples of customer queries that our team have referred over to the relevant event organisers. We’ve featured these two queries alongside the promoter’s response, as, over the years, they have been more than helpful and responsive to all our Customer Care communication. Both boast wildly successful festivals and club nights, whilst also leading by example when it comes to customer satisfaction: Joe Gibbs, Belladrum Festival and Pete Jordan Weird Science/ MADE Festival.
Real Life Query:
CC: I’m just getting in touch as I’ve received a call from a customer who has accidentally bought Made Festival tickets instead of Beyond the Tracks tickets.
Is there anything you can do to help the customer?
Pete Jordan: Given the different nature of the two shows, I wouldn’t normally have an issue. The only problem is that we are now sold out of this allocation and to go back on sale with it would not look good.
It’s not ideal, but since the events are so different I guess we’ll have to refund. Please can you put the three tickets back on sale?
Why do you believe flexibility is key to a successful business?
Having the ability to make quick decisions allows a business to navigate the constantly changing business climate. When it comes to the tricky and unpredictable world of music events, being held back by red tape and corporate lethargy often means it becomes a focus on numbers rather than people. This firmly goes against our business ethos.
Pete Jordan – Weird Science/MADE Festival
Pete perfectly proves how issuing a refund can positively impact your brand. If you know tickets are likely to sell before the event, it might be in your best interest to issue a straight refund. By putting that unwanted ticket back on sale, you’ve in turn made two customers happy. The original customer has received their refund and they now have an elated experience with yourself as an event promoter, only strengthening your reputation. As Pete says, ‘ Even though most promotion is digital these days, word of mouth is still a very impactful medium and ultimately it is customer satisfaction that helps us build as a business’.
Secondly, additional tickets have been made available for someone who would be excited to go to your night. In turn, you will organically increase the footfall at the event, upping the bar spend and all this comes with the free marketing via your patron’s Instagram photos/tags/tweets and mentions.
Real Life Query:
Customer: Hi i was wondering if you can help me i bought a ticket for Belladrum festival it was a 3 day ticket on the payment plan scheme i was meant to buy the 2 day ticket which i have done so now am i able to cancel the 3 day ticket please and get my deposit back? Thanks
Joe Gibbs: If this was within the 72 hour cool off then we must honour; even if it wasn’t, if they have bought a two day ticket then fine.
Why do you believe flexibility is key to a successful business?:
The circumstances that customers encounter in the ticket buying process when they come across problems are rarely identical, and people make genuine errors. We believe that where there has been a genuine error made, we should help where possible. We also believe even when helping transgresses our own T & Cs we should help it all it requires is some effort on our part.
Joe Gibbs – Belladrum Festival
This query was sent over to CC, directly from Joe, which shows his hands on and receptive attitude towards customer service. Another way to keep customers happy is to transfer/swap their tickets to another date if your event is held over multiple days, or if it’s a weekly/annual occasion. They will get the same experience they have already paid for, just on another date. Win Win.
These examples may seem like isolated cases, however, CC receive numerous queries on a weekly basis. What makes Joe and Pete excel in customer satisfaction is their prompt responses and commitment to taking the time to engage with every individual customer as a human being.
They accept that the customer is central to their success. Events are nothing without customers and put simply, cannot exist. Taking the time to consider personal circumstances and issuing refunds, is just another aspect of running their businesses efficiently.
When you control your event, you determine the attitude towards your customer service. It’s really down to you and your team to adopt customer-centric core values. Pete and Joe explain why.
Why is keeping customers happy important to you, both personally and to your brand?
Festivals are wonderful, escapist events where people go to enjoy themselves. The start of that process of buying tickets and understanding how to attend the event in the most comfortable, hassle-free way. Poor service at this stage shows disrespect to the customer and begins to spoil their festival experience. Furthermore, in an age when so much is automated and done at several removes from people, we believe that treating someone as an individual on a human-to-human basis, is what our customers deserve of us.
Customers are the lifeblood of any events business. Our business exists to provide people experiences, memories and in an increasingly disconnected world, the ability to connect with others and of course the artists. It’s a simple formula, happy customers return to your events over and over again.
Joe and Pete’s success stems from their real desire for the customer to have an enjoyable and unique experience. They feel passionate about their product and want to pass this on. The first step to achieving this is perfect customer care and this begins with the ticket buying process.
We’d like to say thanks, Joe and Pete for taking the time to answer our questions and for sharing our mission in continuing to make customers happy. They make our daily lives in Customer Care even more gratifying.
Note: the word customer was used 38 times in this post, you’d think they are important to us or something…