Our most loyal fans often stand to queue for return tickets in the cold for up to three hours, only to be told at 7.30pm that there are no tickets available. Anyone willing to put that much commitment into buying a ticket is a great ambassador for your show. These are the people who will bring their friends back to see the show and promote it on social media — we need to provide a better Return Queue system to this group of loyal fans.
Customers queue outside the box office until the show begins for return tickets. They are often standing outside in the rain, and have no guarantee of whether or not tickets will be available. They each spend 2–3 hours waiting and have no opportunity to go for dinner, get a drink or go anywhere whilst they wait. The theatre magic is ruined for these people.
A better way of managing Return Tickets
Customers come to the Box Office at 6pm and give their name and mobile number. They are then free to go away, shop, have dinner, etc. When tickets are returned to the Box Office, an SMS is sent to the first person on the list who then has 10 minutes to come to the Box Office to purchase the tickets. If they don’t arrive within 10 minutes, the next person on the list is messaged, etc.
- Customers aren’t forced to stay in one place, but are free to have dinner, shop, etc.
- Customers can make use of the theatre bar/cafe/restaurant, increasing patron spending.
- The theatre has customer data to use for marketing.
Is it practical?
Yes. Dozens of services allow automated SMS sending and plug-in to CMS/ticketing software.
What if the customer doesn’t arrive within 10 minutes?
This system liberates the customer to explore the area, and will automatically text the second person on the list if the first doesn’t arrive.
What do you think? How do you manage your return queue? Let me know in the comments below.
Originally published on January 20, 2015.