The Ticketing Industry Social Community (TISC) Awards took place last night at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, including the STAR Customer Champion Award. While we have previously made this a publicly voted award for a company providing outstanding customer service, this year we decided to make this an award for the brilliant work they do for their companies, their customers and for STAR.
We wanted to celebrate the customer service staff that often aren’t the people we see at conferences or other ticketing events, such as TISC, but who are key to STAR being able to deliver its approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service. There are many of those people throughout our membership and we are very grateful for the co-operative relationship we have with them to help resolve customer complaints that come to STAR.
Nominations were submitted by TISC members and we would like to give a particular shout out to some of those who were nominated:
- Cate Gordon and Jen Taylor at ATG
- Becky Sloss at See Tickets
- Ella Piper at London Theatre Direct
- Georgia Poole, Sharon White and Sean Smith at Ticketmaster
- Hatti Simpson at Nimax
- Billie Burrows at Eventim
- Philip Goudal at ABBA Voyage
- Stacey Jackson at The Ticket Factory
- Xanthe McKilligan at LW Theatres
There are many other such staff at companies we work with all the time that are not members of TISC and we look forward to finding a way of celebrating all those people at some point in the future.
Megan and Helen in the STAR office, who have the most contact with these people had the difficult deciding votes and would love to have given all of them an award. In the end, they decided to announce not one but two co-winners of the STAR Customer Champion Award.
Lee Mulvey at Ticketmaster’s almost daily contact with STAR goes back more years than any other customer services staff we work with. He has considerable experience and skill at navigating resolutions across all genres, where ticket agent, venue and promoter may all have a part to play.
Leah Snook at TodayTix heads up a great team and ensures that responses to STAR are quick and helpful in addressing the issues at hand and working towards a speedy resolution.
Our thanks and congratulations to Lee and Leah and to all who were nominated, as well as all the other great customer service staff we work with throughout the STAR membership.
The STAR Council has carefully considered membership fees for 2024 alongside STAR’s budget for the year which shows an increase of 11.9% representing the growth in STAR’s services as well as the cost of living. This increase will be recovered through a 7.8% increase across the board except for the top two tiers of Full Membership where there will be a 12.8% increase. This difference is to help better apportion incoming fees to those top tiers, from which the most disputes reaching STAR’s ADR service originate.
STAR’s dispute work continues to be a significant priority, with 2023 having been another busy year. Our work in other areas continues as well, including liaising with other industry and regulatory as well as law enforcement and government.
We have compiled a page of resources which we hope will be helpful to members in finding information relating to the protected characteristics included in the Equality Act. We welcome any further links from members that could be included on this page.
The Ticketing Professionals Conference in March has a particular focus on EDI and STAR will be presenting a panel discussion on increasing diversity in the ticketing workforce. As part of that work, we will soon be surveying members about their own work in this area, to help inform that session. The survey will be sent to our principal contact in each member organisation.
We are pleased to be returning to the Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells Theatre for our annual seminar, which is preceded by the AGM. This will take place on Tuesday 25 June from midday onwards. The STAR Council is already putting together a great programme for the afternoon, but are keen to hear from members about any topics they would like to be discussed during the afternoon.
The four Arts Councils have recently provided a bit more information on their forthcoming access scheme for D/deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people attending arts and cultural events. This has been trailed for a long time and progress has been slow especially because of delays caused by the pandemic. This first step is a launch of their website to gather interest and an announcement of the name of the scheme – ‘All In’.
It will eventually be a membership scheme, much like the existing Nimbus Access Card, but that part of the work is yet to begin.
There was an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row recently with Andrew Miller who is a sector champion for this work (about 15m in).
The FAQs on the website suggests they have been in discussions with ticketing companies but members who attended the STAR seminar in June may remember that the audience was asked if anyone had been contacted and no hands went up. They have stayed in touch with STAR throughout and keep us up to date on their progress.
It is currently unclear what the scheme will actually offer, particularly as it says it is based on the success of the Hynt Card which has been operated by Arts Council Wales for some years. That is principally to ensure a companion ticket for all cardholders, much like the CEA Card that is used by cinemas rather than highlighting the reasonable adjustments that a customer needs which may be different to that need for a plus one. There is also a question about the level of evidencing involved. In the interview, Andrew Miller says that fraud hasn’t been an issue for the Hynt Card, but I know from the work we did early on in our efforts to improve ticketing for disabled people that evidencing and fraud were of particular concern to the some of our members.
The situation for disabled people buying tickets in the commercial sector is considerably better than it was and is constantly improving.
Nimbus continues to work with many events, venues and attractions to improve the experience of buying tickets for disabled people, although some companies have invested in doing this themselves.
A comprehensive scheme that improves the experience of all disabled people buying tickets across the sector, unifying the system, would be a great achievement.