Archive for the ‘2015’ Category

TOP 10 CUSTOMER SERVICE LESSONS

September 14, 2015

In our busy lives, we touch so many products and services, we are bound to call, email, or chat with those businesses (perhaps your business) for help with directions, questions, and problems we are having. Over the past several months, I’ve had more than my share of interactions with customer service departments. Here are the 10 most important lessons I learned:

  1. Don’t Leave Customers On Hold – If the government knows this, why don’t we? When your customer service lines, live chat, or even in-person CS desk starts to stack up, offer customers the option for a callback. It really makes all the difference. Even the IRS does this!
  2. Ask For A Callback Number – Great way to get permission to follow-up, can be used to identify the customer in the future, and of course gives you a way to call the customer back if you get disconnected. If you haven’t already, you should read this by Seth Godin, his first big hit… http://www.amazon.com/Permission-Marketing-Turning-Strangers-Customers/dp/0684856360.
  3. Ask How To Pronounce The Customers Name (and what they prefer to be called) – Calling someone by his or her name makes a big difference.
  4. Listen Carefully To Your Customer’s Questions and Concerns – Although many customer issues can be very similar, every customer is unique, and so are their concerns. It isn’t enough to say; “I understand” from a script. Sure there are tricks like repeating back what the customer said, but without authenticity, it feels hollow. Disney rocks it here!
  5. If Transferring To Another Representative, Stay On The Line Until That Connection Is Made – My bank (Wells Fargo) does a great job with this. It makes the customer feel safe and shows you care.
  6. Don’t Script Everything For Your Reps – A simple example, delivering a rehearsed apology without real knowledge of what you are sorry about is worse than not saying you’re sorry at all.
  7. Train, Don’t Just Script – Go to the Genius Bar in an Apple retail store and you will see and feel what good training will do. Knowledge of a product or service is everything. Spend the money to train your staff properly.
  8. Follow-up – So easy to do, yet so few of us do it. Make sure you have resolved your customer’s question or concern. It can be as simple as an email. Less than a minute. Asus makes the best routers, their customer service is amazing, and they followed-up to make sure everything was straight.
  9. Keep Your Promise – If you say you will call on a specific day, do that. If you promise to have your customer’s issue resolved by Friday, make sure that happens.
  10. Don’t Reward Only New Customers – I’m an AT&T and DirecTV customer, and have been for many years (been through several name changes with AT&T…remember Cingular, AT&T Mobility). AT&T is running a promotion with DirecTV but the small writing in their TV ad says “DirecTV new customers only”. Rewarding loyal customers will get you far.

When is the last time you went through your own customer service process? If you haven’t lately, do it now! You may be shocked at what you find, and remember, the customer service team should be a big marketing advantage for you. Want to create a message for your customers to spread? Solve a problem for them. Exceed their expectations. The money will come.

 

 

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THE NO COMPLAINING RULE

June 17, 2015

The title jumped out at me. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but over the years, I had become a negative person. Someone you didn’t want to be around because they find a way to bring you down too. And negativity is infectious. If you consider yourself in this boat, and even if you don’t, read The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work.

If you are looking for new non-fiction books, there are some good ones out there to read…Becoming Steve Jobs, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, and The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business are all great examples. Yet The No Complaining Rule is a quick read that has the ability to make you happier…almost instantly.  You don’t even have to read the book, just give one exercise a try.

For one week, try not to complain…about anything to anyone. At first it takes a little effort, especially if complaining has become habit, but don’t give up, you will see positive effects in just a day. Get your family, friends, and co-workers to give it a try with you. Just as being negative is infectious, so is being positive!

And speaking of positive tools worth sharing, have you watched this TED Talk from Amy Cuddy on body language http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en?? Nearly 27 million have. If you haven’t, watch it now…and share it, a smile, and have a Coke (for those old enough to remember “Have a Coke and a Smile”).

P.s. Did you know that good friend and Aspen Live family member Greg Schmale is now the VP of Industry Relations at SongKick? Greg puts it this way…”With the recently announced merger between Songkick and CrowdSurge (http://bit.ly/1KThbcv), I’m reinvigorated by the opportunities that lie ahead for the industry and consumers.” You can reach Greg at greg.schmale@songkick.com. Make sure you say congrats!

USING DISCOUNT CHANNELS

April 23, 2015

“Our job is to take the emotion out of discounting” is a line I use when talking with industry peeps about our consulting client, Goldstar. And emotion should never play into your decision to use discount channels to move tickets when making money, reaching an audience, and filling seats is the goal.

At the Pollstar Conference a few months back, a national promoter told me that “if I have to use Groupon or Goldstar, that means I didn’t do my job”. What? Do all of your shows sell-out or are they even projected to? If you are like the rest of us, the answer is no. In many of those cases, there is an audience that doesn’t even know your show is coming to town, so why not use all the tools at your disposal? Once the act hits the stage, every empty seat means $0 in revenue…and not just for that seat.

Shouldn’t we be counting the zeros when average ticket price tells us nothing? We should be measuring revenue per seat like the airlines do. For instance, if the Jim Lewi Band played a 15,000 seat arena and only sold 4-tickets (to my family of course) at $500, the average ticket price would be $500 even though a majority of the house is empty. But by counting your unsold tickets as $0, you find out how much each seat contributes to your bottom line. Based on the example above with a 15,000 cap, your average ticket price is $500, but your revenue per seat is only $0.0333. Revenue per seat tells us what we really need to know.

In music, many tell us of the perception that the show is a dud if you’re listing tickets through a discount channel. The truth, this “perception” is only in the eyes of the business, not the fan. It is an emotional response we give based on protecting the act’s brand and value in the market, but most fans aren’t doing research to find the best deal like they would with other products. Maybe someday there will be a “Kayak for live entertainment” where a consumer can search for the best deal, just not yet. Goldstar, Groupon, Living Social, etc., are all marketing avenues that need a new measurement scale. CPM (cost per thousand people reached) is generally how marketing is measured. It doesn’t apply here as there is an actual sale, so the more tickets sold, the higher your CPM goes. It should be going down.

The only way you will really know is to “test and measure” results. Don’t assume that you are hurting your show or act by discounting (unless it is to your own list) when chances are you are doing the opposite. There is a lot of data to back this up. When done properly, using a discount channel helps move the primary market. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. Otherwise, you are just guessing…and probably wrong.

LESSONS FROM COACHELLA

April 13, 2015

Coachella fever thundered through Southern California last weekend like a speeding train. And not just in So-Cal, all over the country. Every media outlet imaginable covered the star-studded 3-day music festival outside of Palm Springs, where tickets sell-out in minutes, and if you didn’t attend, you somehow felt left out. So what lessons can we take away from what Goldenvoice has built? Here are three:

  1. Trust – In the Lefsetz Letter’s recent Coachella post, Bob’s first point is the most important, “it’s a matter of trust”. You can say this about any “product”. If you make something great, and can find an audience, that audience will trust that the next thing you bring them is at least worth trying. Goldenvoice has built trust as both superior event producers and music/art curators. Building trust takes vision and guts. Charlie Jones,  one of the C’s in C3 Presents, and producers of  Lollapalooza and  ACL festivals talks about “taking a hickey”. He means losing money the first few times at the wheel. C3  believes in building a great product (acts and experience).  That’s the reason why they can sell their events out without announcing a line-up.
  1. Tenacity – You can’t give-up. Coachella lost money for years. In fact, there probably wouldn’t be a Coachella if it weren’t for AEG Live coming in at the right time with financing and support. Yet Paul, Skip, and Rick had the vision and guts to push on without knowing what the outcome would be… and have been rewarded for it. It is good to second guess yourself, but don’t stop at your first hurdle. Being awesome isn’t easy.
  1. Over Deliver – How do you go beyond your fan/consumer/guest’s expectations? Coachella takes place on the same field in Indio every April, and each year those polo grounds are turned into a sound, visual and social experience unlike any other. I’m not talking about having a Ferris wheel, VIP area, or RFID wristbands (although that can be part of it). That’s easy. It is the whole experience; the art installations, carnival games, the unique venue lighting, the polo field itself, arts and crafts vendors, local food and drinks, the music, how fans are communicated to, staff…basically every touch point needs to “wow”. Are you exceeding expectations?

Next weekend is round two in Indio. See what lessons you can take away to make your next product WOW.

SHARING IDEAS

March 29, 2015

Aspen Live, like Allen & Company’s Sun Valley Conference and TED Talks, is about sharing ideas, and we plan to do a lot more of that here (in our newsletter, http://www.liveworksnews.com as well as http://www.aspenlive.com).

In December you will be able to catch highlights from Aspen Live’s 20th Anniversary party.  Till then, we will share information from time-to-time that is worth spreading.  The first is a TED Talk from Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy on body language.  Watch it here http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.

Here is a brief explanation from the TED.com site: Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

Want to share an idea or submit a guest post?  Please send any and all ideas to jim@liveworksevents.com.

You can and should register for the Aspen Live Conference here: http://www.aspenlive.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOP 3 “PRESALE” LESSONS FROM ASPEN LIVE 2015

March 18, 2015

For the 20th Anniversary of the Aspen Live Conference (Dec 10-13, 2015), it was important to reward our alumni with a presale.  In today’s live entertainment landscape, and in music specifically, presales have gotten completely out of hand, confusing the public and burying our message.

This year’s Aspen presale has been our biggest on-sale in twenty years! Here are three lessons we’ve learned from our presale:

1.   Reward Your Best Customers – For Aspen Live’s 2015 registration kickoff, we opened the gates with an offer to our alumni with special pricing.  Only past guests were notified.  Your goal (like ours) should be servicing your alpha fan, not creating hype or even demand.  That can be a byproduct but not in your sites just yet.  You are there to say “Thank You!” We did, and it worked.

2.   One Presale, No More – Aspen is running one presale with an expiration date, which gives our alumni enough time to react, but not so much time that they procrastinate (REMINDER to Aspen Alums, Friday is your last day to save at http://www.aspenlive.com).  Offering multiple presales makes it feel like no one wins… and have you heard our (live music business) radio spots lately?  “American Express customers blah, blah, blah, with an on-sale to the general public on blah, blah, blah (spoken so fast, you can’t hear the dates).  Use your Citi Visa or MasterCard and get a Sherpa to carry you and your friends to your heated seats where a cold Pepsi, the choice of a new generation, will be waiting for you…part of the Bud Light Concert Series, Ford Trucks, and Jiffy Lube.Holy sheep shit!

3.   Make Your Value Proposition Compelling – Not only were Aspen community members given $100-off registration, guests also had first choice on hotel room categories with significant discounts for those who got in first.  It was a simple process that worked far better than we could have imagined.  The first 20 rooms were sold at $175 per night…that’s right, IN ASPEN. The second 20 were $185, then $200, and now $280.  If you acted quickly enough, you saved over $100 per night…and another $100 (minimum) on registration.  What can you “bundle” for your guests so they feel they lose if they don’t act?

If the three easy steps listed above can work for a music conference, it will work for you. Just make sure you plan as far in advance as you can (within reason).