Your Patron’s Upset? Do Something About It!

Today’s guest blog post is written by Aaron Schwartzbord, Marketing Manager, PatronManager. 

How much do you (and your staff) think about customer service? If someone has a problem with their experience at your organization, what do you do about it? Do you apologize? Do something special for them? Small gestures can go a long way in reminding your patrons how important they are — especially in this age of airlines kicking people off flights. I recently had a very good experience with a company that shocked me with its thoughtfulness.

Last month was my wedding anniversary, and my mom sent me a gift from Hudson | Grace, a wonderful home goods store with a number of locations in California. The gift was a set of cocktail glasses and a pitcher, all of which was shipped from one of their stores. When I opened the package, one of the glasses was broken. The next day I called their customer service line, and much to my delight, they couldn’t have been nicer and easier to deal with. They didn’t ask for a receipt; they didn’t need any proof, they just asked for my address and said that a new glass would be shipped that day.

As a cynical New Yorker, I was sure I’d have to call them again, but I was surprised this week to come home to a box from the store. When I opened the box, I pulled out a new (not broken) cocktail glass. Next to it was something else wrapped in bubble wrap. I opened it to find a bottle of their own branded “dirty martini mix” with a handwritten note:

I was so touched that they did this and, as I said before, totally shocked by how thoughtful and personal it was. I would have been happy with just the replaced martini glass, but the fact that they went the extra mile made me not only want to shop there again but also tell my friends and family all about the store and my wonderful experience with them.

So… what about your organization? Arts and cultural organizations can absolutely offer these types of gestures to patrons that have problems. Maybe it’s a voucher for additional tickets or an item from your gift shop. It doesn’t have to be grand or expensive to be meaningful and show respect and appreciation for your patrons. It just has to be personal and thoughtful.

In addition to the gesture, think about how your staff manages these situations when patrons have problems. As I said earlier, when I called Hudson | Grace they didn’t give me a hard time or make me jump through hoops to get my replacement glass. They were understanding and took care of everything for me. For further thoughts on the customer experience and dealing directly with Patrons, check out Kevin Patterson’s June blog post.

Ultimately, if a patron is having a problem, make things as easy as possible for them — they’ll appreciate it! 

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One response to “Your Patron’s Upset? Do Something About It!

  1. I had a similar experience a few months ago and it is refreshing to hear these stories. Often times the squeaky wheel gets the most attention so it is important to share positive customer service experiences when they occur. My family and I love to play sports, go camping and overall spend a ton of time outdoors, so we spend a fair amount of time at Dick’s Sporting Goods. We were searching for a new bat and couldn’t figure out what was the right fit. We saw an associate on the sales floor and he approached us to ask if we needed help. He asked plenty of important and relevant questions and sized up our arm lengths with a few choices of bats. He taught us how to determine what bat is the best fit and then walked us to the register where we thanked him over and over again. I asked the cashier if they needed his name assuming he would receive a commission and she said they didn’t get commission. It was such a wonderful experience that I asked to speak to the manager, to be sure the sales associate heard that his tremendous efforts did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. I told the manager that the customer service was above and beyond and that associate should be next in line for a raise and/or a promotion! My guess is he didn’t feel like he did anything extraordinary, he was just doing his job and doing it well. I admire that work ethic because it is what I would do. We will be customers of businesses like this for many years going forward and skip the competitors even if it means travelling a little farther or spending a few dollars more on most days. Naturally, I would rather spend money where I am treated with kindness and respect. Thanks again for sharing Aaron and Happy Anniversary!

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