3 Reasons to Consider Call Center Outsourcing
I hear it all the time in my travels visiting large and small venues across North America: from sports arenas to non-profit theatres, venues just do not have enough time and labor resources to provide the customer service they wish they could. Budgets are tight and labor costs continue to rise, resulting in leaner box office operations and often, stressed out staff. The solution in the past has been to either reduce box office hours or cut back on staff, but there’s a third option: to extend your ticketing operations with a white label call center. Read on to discover three ways that partnering with a white label call center can benefit your venue.
1. A white label call center can help you sell more tickets.
There are several reasons why a white label call center can help you sell more tickets, and the first reason is availability. Although the modern online ticketing site offers 24⁄7 convenience to shoppers, there are still many patrons who prefer to purchase from a human, whether in person or on the phone. Oftentimes, they have questions that are presenting a barrier to purchase – many of these could have been answered with a little extra searching on your website, but some are a little more subjective: “Where can I sit for the best view of the players entering the rink?,” “Is the obstructed view from this seat really that bad?,” “Is this show appropriate for a five-year old?” etc.
It’s important that your venue has someone available to answer these questions. Otherwise, you will risk losing the sale. A white label call center allows you to expand your phone hours, with access to a professional agent for up to 13 hours a day, 7 days a week. Perhaps your box office is only open for a few hours leading up to your shows, or you’re closed on Mondays because foot traffic is so low, or it’s your off-season. With a white label call center, you can ensure that someone is available to answer those questions and convert these potential customers.
Not only does a call center expand your opening hours, but it also gives you access to professional agents who are trained to close sales for your venue. Cross-selling and up-selling are second nature for call center staff, so a call that may have started out as informational (“how much are tickets for tonight’s game?”) could easily turn into a sale of tickets plus parking passes, a VIP bundle, or even a season package. A white label call center will also be trained to represent your brand, and fully equipped with all of the information they need to answer questions about your venue, whether you are a small theatre or a large arena.
2. It can be completely patron-funded.
The best part of a white label call center is that, if implemented properly, it can serve as an additional sales channel at no cost to your venue. By adding a small surcharge to your per-order fees, you simply pass along the cost to your customers (and sometimes, if the volume of sales calls is high enough, it even becomes a small profit center). The fees themselves don’t have to be outrageous, and they shouldn’t be. Unreasonable, highly inflated ticket fees will drive away customers. This unethical practice has come under greater government scrutiny in the past few months, with the FTC holding an Online Event Tickets Workshop this past June.
However, a few extra dollars, in most cases can be justified and not seen as price-gouging (for the record, a study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that the average sporting event ticket fee was 20% of face value whereas concerts were 30%).
In my experience working as the former board President of a non-profit theatre company for 10 years, we struggled with managing ticket sales in our off-season and even staffing our phone lines and box office in the weeks prior to a production. The answer for us was to outsource to a white label call center, and only have the box office open in the hour leading up to the production.
When we implemented the call center, we charged $4.00 per phone order, with an additional $3.50 to have the tickets printed and mailed (which was also handled by the call center). All other customer-service related questions are handled professionally and free-of charge. Typically, at the accesso ShoWare call center, every fourth call is a sale. These calls take approximately 3.5 minutes on average compared to informational calls which are answered in about 60 – 90 seconds. Shortly after implementing, we saw immediate benefits: 95% of patrons saw it as a positive change that allowed us to offer extended hours and put more funds toward the productions.
3. You can reduce the burden on staff.
Part of the reason that call center agents can drive sales so efficiently is that they’re free of the many distractions that happen at the box office. Anyone who has worked the box office on a busy night knows how stressful it can be to manage will call, walk-up sales, ticket transfers, exchanges, refund requests, and everything else that is unfolding right in front of you. It’s easy to dismiss a ringing phone in favor of the long line of patrons standing before you. A white label call center can give your box office staff one less thing to worry about, so they can focus on providing outstanding in-person service while letting the call center answer the phone and close sales.
For my non-profit theatre, partnering with a white label call center meant that we could utilize our administrative resources more effectively. We had a large group of volunteers who formerly staffed the box office, and they could now usher patrons to seats, engage in conversations about other performances, or help with outreach efforts. You may discover that your box office staff enjoys helping with social media outreach or is willing to help with mass-mailers. Giving your staff more opportunities to help with different tasks allows them to enjoy skill variety and more challenging, meaningful work, which can lead to higher satisfaction and retention.
Does your box office staff get bogged down with lengthy phone calls about complicated ticket exchanges? Outsourcing to a white label call center might be the answer, and many call centers are flexible enough to be configured in such a way that would allow for this. For example, you could retain your normal box office telephone number for normal ticket sales but use a call center exclusively for exchanges. Some white label call centers can even take on all order fulfillment (including from online purchases), taking on the costs of printing, shipping and postage.
If you’re looking for a way to provide real-time support for your customers while selling more tickets and lightening the load of your box office staff, a white label call center may be right for you! Our accesso ShoWare call center serves as a seamless extension of different venues across a wide variety of industries, from sports arenas to hockey leagues, dinner theatres, state fairs and even zoos. If you’d like to see how our accesso ShoWare event ticketing software and services like the call center can move your business forward, contact us here for more information.
Joe Wettstead – Vice President Client Services, accesso ShoWare
Joe lives in Irvine, California with his wife Elizabeth, and his three kids are close by. He joined the accesso team in 2009 and has worked in the SaaS industry for 25 years. When he’s not helping clients find unique solutions to business challenges, Joe loves golfing, hiking, surfing, traveling, wine tasting and really taking in all Southern California has to offer.