A few articles ago, I talked about restructuring the Inside Sales Department to evolve for the 2020’s and beyond. Following that article, I received many emails asking how other sports department roles could also evolve.
One department that is often overlooked in terms of vital contributions to the rest of the organization is the Ticket Operations Department. For years this department was viewed as the Box Office individual sale, the printer of the tickets, and the billing and payment area of ticket sales. There’s so much more that this area can contribute to the growth of the organization. For instance:
- Info gatherer and front line to service. Those with an open Box Office staff must realize the roles are vital, as they are the front line to the customer. The service they receive at the box office windows are key to starting the relationship. Questions they asked that can be added onto the ticket sale account can garner info for us as to where they are coming from, who all is attending, etc. A little conversation other than ‘here’s the best I have’ can really give us a stronger picture of the walk up traffic. For those not using phones to order their tickets as they walk up, some teams are using ipads in which info can be downloaded prior to them getting to the window, thus capturing the info that can help us.
- Analytics and team collaboration. A strong Ticket Operations Department will be able to analyze the data that can help other departments. Analyzing the season sales and types of plans based on location, business classification, buying times, buying times in relationship to ads or marketing pieces, key events happening to drive the sales at that time, etc. can help the season sales department know how to best fine tune their strategy. The same goes with premium and group. Key analysis can also help drive individual sales in conjunction with the Marketing Department. Tracking the individual ticket sale based on marketing pieces as well as identifying key words in the marketing pieces that drive the sale can help us increase the individual sale.
- Analysis of trends. Identifying buying trends and making recommendations can help ticket sales strategize types of plans to offer, bring new ideas to the table, and keep our sales a step ahead.
- Online sales. Knowing that it takes someone a minimum three impressions to commit to something, the Ticket Operations Department can oversee opportunities to maximize the online sale for the long-term. Sending an online offer immediately after the game for another game keeps the client interested and more often, committed. No better time to strike than while they are feeling the energy and excitement of the game they just attended. A team I used to work with that had this offer come up online through their Ticket Ops Dept. had a 67% success rate for tickets purchased again. They would send a different offer after the second game, and after the 3rd game would suggest purchasing three more before the season was out and get benefits as a 6 game season ticket holder. All of this created online and managed by the Ops Dept.
- Live chat. A live chat option can enhance the individual ticket buying experience. People have questions and often spend forever trying to find answers on the site. A live chat option could mean the difference between a significant up sell or a potential season or group sale, but most importantly a positive buying experience right from the start.
- Collaboration and meeting with Ticket Sales. Understanding how to streamline the ticket buying system from the sale department point of view can increase sales by taking away a lot of unnecessary steps. Meeting with them, listening to concerns, and
- Collaboration and meetings with Marketing and Communications. Understanding their process and adding the Ops analytics with it enables Marketing to target market their messaging and selecting their messaging better for the walk up sale. Understanding the analytics of key words in communications and sales spikes helps the department understand what types of words are influencing words in the market.
- Ticket Services. Separate from season and group sales, a Ticket Ops Dept should host their own Ticket Services Dept. for individual buyers. Whether they purchased online, through the box office or on the phone, a department they can go to with questions or problems makes the trust in the single game buying stronger. They are the first step in building the relationship to convert to plans. Handling their problems, facilitating the sale…it all says ‘you are valued.’ And this is what will keep them coming back.
- Creating their own individual strategy and rewards for purchasing. We want to create loyal, repeat customers. Single game purchasers are generally called by the Inside Sales Department every quarter to be asked if they want season tickets. But more importantly, how can we first build their purchases and make them loyal? This is where Ticket Ops can create a strategy along with contests, rewards for multiple purchases, etc. Shouldn’t the individual buyer be as valued as a long-term buyer? Are we not trying to build the value so that they want to come aboard permanently with us? Rather than calling them quarterly, let the department create ways to have the customers become repeat buyers.
The days of printing tickets and taking payments are no longer the job description of a Ticket Operations Department. This department should be the right arm of every other department in the organization. They have the ability to offer insight to drive sales and make recommendations based on trends. This is far better than shooting arrows…through redefining their role, they will help us fine tune our selling strategy.
How has your Ticket Operations Department evolved? What will you be doing differently to make your department more valuable to the organization?
Kathy Burrows, SOS…Sold Out Seating; CEO: Chief Energy Officer
Helping YOUR team have ‘2020 Vision and Beyond’: sales, leadership, retention training. Now filling fall and winter teams. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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