Moving Forward with Chargebacks: Interview with Customer Service Manager Kathryn Turney

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Customer Service Manager Kathryn Turney manages 20 part-time Call Center employees who handle ticket on-sales, fulfillment, and all the usual questions a local box office might be called upon to handle. She also manages credit card dispute (chargeback) responses for OvationTix partners on our shared merchant account. Like many OvationTix partner box office managers, Turney stays organized!

Turney may have learned early organizational skills growing up in a nonprofit community theater/arts center in Cannon County, Tennessee. “I’ve been on stage since the age of four, backstage since I was old enough to work a screw gun,” Turney says. Holding a B.A. in English with a Dance minor, Turney has served as a box office and front of house manager for many theaters and events in New York City, which she now calls home. Turney’s interview offers insight into how the OvationTix Call Center helps our partners sell tickets, answer questions and win chargebacks… all with a personal touch, good humor and organizational skills.

Like many OvationTix partner box offices, your work and that of the Call Center staff requires quick turnaround. How do you plan for that in the Call Center?

Checklists are very helpful. OvationTix partners who regularly use our Call Center provide us with questionnaire responses which guide us–and the caller–through any number of patron requests. Even with a straightforward ticket sale there are steps–a script–that we go through to ensure the best possible service. Layer on top of that the non-sales calls we receive: neighborhood information for parking and dining, exchange requests, class sign-ups… the list goes on. Checklists also help us train new Call Center employees.

And scheduling! The Call Center recently expanded its hours to better serve buyers in the Pacific Time Zone. Tracking when and how many people call and hearing from our partners when they’re planning a big on-sale is crucial to minimizing wait times–under 3 minutes on average for last month. We recently upgraded our phone system to gain better metrics on our calls and optimize our service even more.

How do checklists help with chargebacks?

A great deal! We have a set of procedures that we strictly follow to try to win as many of these cases as possible on behalf of our OvationTix partners. For those partners not on our shared merchant account, these procedures may be helpful for you to follow with your internal chargeback requests.

You’ve talked about the Call Center as a whole; let’s talk about people. “Who” are the Call Center staffers?

I’m fortunate to work with a dedicated group of performing arts lovers who come into work each day to help other fans access the events they want to see. Many of us in the Call Center are artists and/or producers in one way or another or at least have an appreciation for theater. The part-time and relatively flexible scheduling allows many of us to pursue artistic and other endeavors while doing more traditionally-compensated work for the broader theater industry. For instance, late last year TheaterMania published an interview with a former Call Center staff member, Lucas Steele, who is now performing on Broadway.

It sounds like the Call Center is similar to many box offices of our partners around the country.

Yes, I think so. Just imagine the kind of calls your box office or administration line receives and expand that number to a national scale. By percentages, many of our calls are NOT straightforward sales calls: the patron is asking questions. Maybe they aren’t comfortable going online to get the information or provide payment information or maybe they simply aren’t near a computer or mobile device at the time. Much like the OvationTix software itself, I think of the Call Center as meeting patrons “where they are.” That can be geographic, technological, or where they are in a sales process. Obviously we try to turn as many calls into sales calls as possible.

What are some of the stranger calls you or Call Center staff have taken?

How long is this interview?! Too many come to mind, though I must say the stranger calls are sometimes the best opportunities for us to provide good sales and service to the patron and our OvationTix partners. They certainly keep the job interesting. There is the occasional celebrity sighting–er… hearing, I guess… lots of calls to guide customers through making their first purchase online. And then there was the time a patron was looking to give away their cat!

The most heartening stories are the more “human” ones. A few of our employees have ended up reconnecting with friends or family members from their childhood or hometowns. And while this sort of thing may not happen on a daily basis  it is an important example of how the human connection remains really important to many buyers who rely on us and our OvationTix partners to continue to provide great service.

Contact Client Services for more information on the OvationTix Call Center and its available services.

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