Likely one of the biggest trends going down in live entertainment is elevated expectations.
In many of the pieces of this series, we have touched on some aspect of this trend from the ways that technology is impacting consumer tastes, the way that people love destination experiences as long as they are unique, and the impact of more people spending money on experiences driving more competition for their discretionary spending.
All of these symptoms and more add up to an increase in consumer expectations when they go to a live event. This means that we all have to be sharp as we create experiences, deliver them, and follow up with our customers so that we meet and exceed their expectations.
How do we do that? Here are a few ideas:
Constantly innovate your experience:
I define innovation as consistent progress and when we are laying out our live experiences, we should keep an eye out for ways that we can innovate.
If you define innovation in the way that I do, you’ll be able to constantly look at small things that you can do to increase the value of your experience.
These improvements can range from things like helping people get in and out of your events faster, to the way that you deliver customer service, through to partnerships with local restaurants or breweries, into technology.
The key is that you are always on the lookout for ways to add more value and improve the experience your guests receive.
Give your guests freedom:
Customization is a word thrown around a lot lately, for good reason. People all want something unique to them.
If I’m sharing a deeply held secret, I think that this was always the case, but now we have the tools available to deliver on this promise. Customization doesn’t really have to be that complicated because many of our ticketing systems and point of sales systems allow a great deal of customization already.
In many cases, this makes customization as simple as asking a couple of questions like, “Would you like refund protection on this experience?”
Other ways that you can allow customization is through add-ons like a drink at the event, pre-purchasing merchandise, and offering additional forms of access.
In reality, I think the only limitation to what levels of customization we can give our customers is in our own creativity.
Always deliver a world-class customer experience:
If you have never heard the name, Jesse Cole, Google him. Jesse is the owner of the Savannah Bananas in the Coastal Plain League, a wood bat summer baseball league.
Which if you don’t know is below the minor leagues, but Jesse and the Bananas are doing something amazing because they are on a 78-game sellout streak that has seen them sell out all of their games in 2017 and 2018, and so far they haven’t missed a sell out in 2019.
That’s a great statistic, but the reason it is important is because it shines a light on the experience that the team delivers to their fans each and every game.
From ushers dancing in the aisles, to the man-nana cheerleaders, to the banana mascot, the big idea that hangs over the team’s games is that they are putting on a show, no matter what happens on the field.
You might think that you have absolutely nothing in common with summer league baseball, but the idea of putting on a show is consistent with the experience that customers receive when they visit a 5-star hotel, fly Upper Class on Virgin, or just become a regular at their local restaurant.
Delivering world-class experiences at scale is difficult, but in the modern world where consumers are spending more on experiences, demand more from their expenditures, and can share a good or bad experience in an instance, what other choice do we have but to do our best to deliver just that?
When you pull all three of these ideas together, I actually think the challenge isn’t as difficult as we might think initially. All meeting higher expectations really comes down to is not taking your customers for granted, thinking about how you can make their experience better, and making the effort to deliver.