Tell Me What You Know! Live Chat Patron Support

Adaptistration-Guy-012aI had an interesting conversation with a colleague yesterday asking what I knew about live chat services to field patron inquires as an addition to email, phone, or social media offerings. From a technical perspective, it has never been easier to implement a solution, like LiveChatInc.com, via your website but it is still rare to come across a performing arts org that offers it alongside primary points of contact.

Based on my discussions with arts administrators, the challenge isn’t technical so much as labor; having someone knowledgeable enough to field questions who is also available outside of regular business hours is not an easy nut to crack. To that end, I’m curious to hear from arts admin readers out there to help aggregate some light on this shadowy subject.

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For those who either offer a live chat offering or have explored it within the past year, I’m sure everyone would be grateful to hear about your experience and insight so thank you in advance for laying some knowledge on us via a comment.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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4 thoughts on “Tell Me What You Know! Live Chat Patron Support

  1. I never even considered that arts orgs might use such a system, but it’s great to hear people are thinking about it. Chat is always my first choice when I need customer support, and I’m always disappointed when a company doesn’t offer it.

    • Same here, I opt for it so long as the wait times aren’t too bad and it isn’t a fire level emergency. By and large, they work great except for those staffed by under-trained reps (but that’s no different than any other customer service point of contact). I do know that one of Venture’s users, Palm Beach Opera, is trying out a live chat service: http://screencast.com/t/Oe6ZZlEoaCsm but I don’t know what the plans are for hours, staffing, etc.

  2. We just installed it today on our website (pbopera.org) and I’m looking forward to seeing if anyone uses it. I will be manning the chat during business hours and in the evenings during the test period. If we decide to keep it, then we’ll create a rotating staff schedule for it.

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