You’ve Got a Friend in Me: Friendliness at the Box Office

Today’s blog post is written by Kate Levine, Client Support Specialist, PatronManager.

At the end of my senior year in high school, I was awarded the superlative of “friendliest” by my peers in the senior class. At the time, I was really surprised that my classmates voted for me to have this specific title, not because I wasn’t friendly, but because I was a fairly quiet teenager! Nevertheless, I was honored to be thought of in this way and graduated feeling hopeful that I would carry this trait with me throughout my life. 

As I started my career in box office management, and now in customer support with PatronManager, I have found friendliness to be a vital asset for my work! With a few years under my belt being on the front lines in various customer service roles, I can safely say that simply being a nice person is a huge part of what has made me successful. But beyond basic human decency, why is this idea of being friendly such a big deal in our industry? To quote a blog post I recently stumbled upon: 

Sincerity, openness, lack of condescension, and good, old-fashioned friendliness are all things that people seek out in their social and interpersonal relationships. So it’s a no-brainer that folks value them in their business relationships, too.

The writer is on to something here — your patrons want to have a good experience with you. If you put in the effort of making folks feel welcome and comfortable in your space, they will likely come back (and maybe bring friends). 

So, let’s talk about the tools you can use to help maintain friendliness throughout the workday. This article from Help Scout with a list of twelve simple phrases to improve customer service interactions is a great place to start! I know I have personally used the first example of: “Happy to help!” as my starting line for many interactions, both in person and over email. As simple as it sounds, authentically showing your patrons that you are happy to be of service and want to make sure their needs are met is valuable to your organization for brand loyalty and continual growth. 

Sometimes, however, this can be difficult — especially when what your patrons are requesting is not possible. So how can you maintain empathic kindness while saying no? My amazing colleague Jude Shimer wrote about this a few months back in their blog post “How to Say No.” To quote them: 

The customer is not always right about what they can have. But the customer is always right about how they feel. They understand their own circumstances better than we ever could. And a person’s feelings may lead them to ask for something specific when other solutions could address their needs just as well or better.

Eagerness and enthusiasm to please are appreciated, but actively listening to a patron’s wants with feelings of empathy and patience can at least make them feel heard, even if the ultimate answer is “no.” 

As Marlboro High School’s 2010 “Friendliest Student of the Senior Class,” I’ll leave you with these parting words. Yes, friendliness is really important, but it’s what you do with it that matters. It’s the opening of doors for people. It’s the hellos, goodbyes, pleases, and thank you’s. It’s the empathic, thoughtful conversations on the phone about how a recent performance moved them to tears or, in their opinion, could have used a flashy tap dance sequence. Regardless of what it means to you, simply being friendly can help create a great foundation for your organization to build deeper relationships with every patron. 

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