Hands up those who like being contacted by telemarketers? Anyone? No one? I for one sit on the fence when it comes to what some people would classify as a nuisance call. When at 3.00pm on a weekend it may rudely interrupt that well deserved ‘nana-nap’, or at 7.15pm on a weeknight it may interfere with refereeing skills as the kids argue about where to place the knives and forks, hopefully handled carefully and pointy-end down, as you are about to put dinner on the table.
Long before I was a Ticketing Officer at Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre (DRTCC) I was once a telesales person. Cut me some slack – I was young, living and working abroad and eager to travel. As one of my first jobs in the UK, I wasn’t very good at it. My ear was not yet attuned to the multitude of accents and working for a company that had something to do with car sales was not a logical choice. Although I was born in Bathurst the year the Great Car race was renamed the Hardie Ferodo 500 and lived within walking distance of Mount Panorama, this did not automatically make me a car expert, especially when it came to foreign models...
Me: And what model of car do you presently drive sir/madam? (Writes on notepad ‘A-W-D-E-E’ (Audi)....’V-O-X-A-L-L’ (Vauxhall)...’P-O-O-J-O-E’... (Peugeot)... ‘R-E-N-O’ (Renault).
Unfortunately for me there were no Fords or Holdens in the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea.
Thankfully I am now practiced at deciphering accents, and in the box office my know-how is required for things other than cars. But perhaps remnants of my telemarketing experience lingers and is still of use, albeit in a not so obvious fashion.
As we approach the pointy-end of the year at DRTCC not only are we preparing for our Season Launch on Sunday 16 November, we are also planning and booking shows for the future. Although it may be easier to cast a vote amongst staff and volunteers to see what shows we would personally like to see at the theatre and how we would rate ourselves, it is probably not kosher or good business practice. Since it is not our style to contact and annoy patrons at 3.00pm on a weekend or 7.15pm on a weeknight, each year we opt to devise a survey for both regular patrons and subscribers so we are not the only happy people at the theatre. To show we understand people lead busy lives and may be reluctant to sit for five to nine minutes, there is an enticement attached to complete the survey in the form of a gift voucher for one lucky person, or two in this case – subscriber and non-subscriber.
Personally I would be very pleased to win what is effectively a couple of free tickets to a 2015 Season show, especially since I am privy to the exciting line-up of entertainment we have coming in the New Year. However being a DRTCC employee I am precluded from completing the survey and entering into the draw, but if I did submit my answers they would be as follows:
My answer is in paragraph two. If you also don’t know much about cars and the history of what is now the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, it is between 30 and 49.
How many shows did I attend during 2014?
Let me check my little box of ticket stubs and consult my diary and archived roster. As a patron I have attended three to five shows this year and as a box office staff member with an advantage of taking a sneak peak at a show after finishing a shift, I have seen an equal amount of three to five shows. Effectively I have attended a total of nine-plus shows.
Did you purchase a Season Subscription for 2014?
If no, what reasons prevented you from purchasing a 2014 Subscription?
Certainly not the purchase of a Nespresso machine that has saved me at least $30 a week on coffees bought at cafes. It is likely I did not subscribe because I was pre-occupied in November and did not have the foresight to mark in my calendar the almost three month period which gives people the opportunity to sign up and become a Subscriber. Without difficulty I could have chosen and locked in five shows, and then some and previewing the 2015 Season – double that!
How do you find out about the shows at DRTCC?
Before I obtained a driver’s license the year the Olympics were held in ‘Syd-er-ney’ I lived in that same city and used public transport and commuted past countless walls and posts plastered with posters advertising various shows and events. These days’ walls and posts are more commonly associated with Facebook, and to the same end on my Facebook feed I find out about shows at the DRTCC. Astutely, I subscribe to the e-Newsletter and when not saving $5 a day I pick up show flyers in cafes.
How do you spend the hour prior to coming to a show at DRTCC?
Growing up in a city where there was no cinema, no theatre and a big night out was wearing your pajamas to the drive-in, I tend to make a night of going to the theatre. When dressing for the occasion I steer away from tulle, no one needs me poofing past him or her to my seat in the middle of the row. Plus now we are no longer living in the 80s my hair is below parking structure height clearance for those seated behind me. Ideally I arrive at the theatre in time to leisurely partake in a pre-show beverage and place an order for one during interval to avoid the crush at the bar.
How do you rate customer service levels of Theatre staff?
Rating customer service is challenging. My experience in such a role is somewhat extensive, so I am not very forgiving of poor customer service. It is in the best interest of a business to employ staff that aim to produce a satisfied customer, not lose them. Sure we all have bad days, but if you are in any business dealing with people and you’re not prepared to put on your best cheery face despite your bad mood, you might want to reconsider your job. My expectations are high, and as such I would rate the customer services levels of all Theatre staff as exceeding my expectations.
What contributing factors would entice you to see plays at DRTCC?
One of the best three things about going to a play is being able to dissect it afterwards, which is not much fun when you’re discussing it with yourself. The days of being a school student on an excursion to the ‘big smoke’ to see a play are behind me, and thankfully so is the subsequent intense examination of said play in a five page essay. But I still like to converse about what I’ve seen on stage, so a two-for-one ticket offer would attract me to see more plays and to even cover the cost of the friend who accompanies me!
Do you have any suggestions or recommendations that would make you come back to DRTCC time and time again?
Three words – coffee, cake and couches. Although dangerously, this may make me never want to leave.
Calendar of Events at DRTCC:
- November 1 – Wayne Scott Kermond in Candy Man
- November 8 – Vera, The Magic of Dame Vera Lynn
- November 13 & 14 – Pete the Sheep
- November 16 – 2015 Season Launch
- November 22 – Cinderella (Dubbo Theatre Company)
- November 24 – Dubbo Ballet Studio Variety Gala
- December 6 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Dubbo Ballet Studio)
- December 10 – The Sun Records All Stars
- December 14 – Imagine (Stepping Out Dance Factory)