Lesson #1: Pick the right environment
The environment is a hugely important factor in consumer enjoyment. Design, location, time and atmosphere all affect our consumption and they should be managed as closely as possible to maximise the experience.
Good practice: Scheduling Jens Lekman‘s sunny, infectious indie-pop to open the afternoon on a glorious day (admittedly, the weather can’t be predicted)
Bad practice: Scheduling Stars of the Lid‘s neo-classical orchestrations at midnight while a room of inebriated patrons restlessly await the opportunity to dance to Battles
Lesson #2: Accurately gauge demand
Too much of something and you have wasted resources on surplus inventory. Too little and you alienate potential advocates. Supply needs to be accurately forecast, or at least flexible enough to meet any unanticipated changes.
Good practice: The bar staff – seeing the number of people getting hot at the front of the audience – preparing a load of glasses of water in preparation for the onslaught of dehydrated fans at the end of the set
Bad practice: Not having a coloured wristband system in place for Battles (where a different colour signifies which set you can go and see). The resultant debacle meant that on Saturday, demand far outstripped capacity. Priority wristbands for the Sunday performance were handed out to those that failed to get in but this then meant the entire venue had to be emptied in advance of the second performance, and people without wristbands could not be admitted until the set started
Lesson #3: Over-deliver on expectations
Experience dictates expectations to an extent. But they can still be managed through providing the customer with additional, up-to-date information. Making a realistic promise and then exceeding it will stand you in good stead for repeat business
Good practice: Our car broke down on the journey back to London. The repair service said a technician would be with us in 30 minutes. He showed up in 20. We were impressed.
Bad practice: The problem with the car was critical, and we needed to be towed. We were told a tow truck would be with us within the hour. Three calls and two hours later, it showed up. Our goodwill had completely evaporated.
A fourth – personal – lesson would be to extend forward planning from the immediate to the longer term. With particular reference to the amount of sleep required to sustain oneself for the week ahead.