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I?ve been fortunate to work with some fantastic people who work on the front line, writes Adrian Phillips.
Whilst training Box Office staff, I?ve got to discuss the job that they do and what they like and don?t like about it; and the feedback I hear isn?t all good. I?ve produced two lists that make interesting, if not comfortable reading:

Things that people like about working in a box office:

? the people they work with
? getting to see productions
? dealing with members of the public
? flexible working hours

Things that people don?t like about working in a box office:

? it?s always their fault if things don?t sell, but if they do, they never get any praise
? they work in small, cramped conditions with no natural light
? they?re badly paid
? they?re the last to be told anything - often finding out about special offers, for example, from members of the public
? when they do receive information it?s often in memo format, with no chance to ask questions
? they get no formal training, other than how to use the ticketing system, and they?re certainly never taught how to sell
? people in other departments know nothing about the job they do and they know little about other departments
? they?re asked to gather a lot of information, but are never told why it?s important to do so
? dealing with members of the public
? working long hours and weekends

The first thing you?ll notice is the discrepancy between the lengths of the two lists. Now you may be thinking that people always moan about their jobs and that none of the long list would apply to you, but these comments have come from every venue and organisation I?ve worked with, to a greater or lesser extent.

What comes across very strongly is that box office staff, by and large, feel undervalued and unsupported in the work they do. One more list helps put the value of the Box Office in perspective.

What do Box Offices do?

? sell tickets
? promote your venue and all you offer
? act as the direct sales arm of your Marketing Department
? act as the conduit for information between you and your customers
? deal with comments and complaints
? provide a ?human voice? for your organisation

In other words, if they don?t do their job properly then you cease to exist!

Adrian Phillips is an Account Manager with the Phone Room. For details of the Box Office or Management Courses he runs, t: 01865 324000 e: adrianp@phoneroom.co.uk