As an innovative leader in the world of theatre, you’re likely looking for new ways to improve the experience for your patrons. That could be through technology upgrades, more immersive showcases, better-quality merchandise, or stronger theatre-patron relationships.

One method for enhancing the audience experience that you may not have considered is the use of post-show surveys. On The Stage (OTS) explores why post-show surveys amplify an already great experience, and how to leverage them for your next production.

3 Ways Post-Show Surveys Enhance the Audience Experience

When considering why you should implement post-show surveys, you may be (rightfully) thinking of all the perks they’ll offer. After all, they allow you to collect feedback directly from your target market. But remember – the goal is to better serve your patrons. So, how can these surveys benefit them? 

They offer the chance to impart invaluable insight. 

We all want to feel as though our opinions are valued, and patrons are no different. Post-show surveys offer them the chance to voice their opinions, share preferences, and impart valuable insights to theatre leadership. Armed with this data, theatres can craft tailored experiences that better resonate with these patrons, fostering repeat attendance and long-term patronage

So, in this sense, post-show surveys are a win-win: For you, these surveys help you more strategically target your audience, learn what motivates them to purchase tickets, and understand how to convert patrons from one-time ticket buyers to donors. For patrons, they’re able to have a say in the media they’re consuming — and in the long run, they will likely receive more customized, enjoyable experiences. 

They foster loyalty. 

Along the same lines, a post-show survey shows a patron very clearly that their opinion is valued, especially if programming is changed after to reflect the preferences or critiques they provided.

A person who feels seen, heard, valued, and empowered will also feel a stronger sense of loyalty to whatever person or entity instilled those feelings – so let’s make sure it’s your theatre! After all, a loyal patron buys more tickets, visits more frequently, shares more content, buys more merch, and generally enjoys the content of the theatre more enthusiastically. Another win-win! 

They encourage creativity and collaboration.

Sometimes, we need a push to think critically – and post-show surveys can do just that. If you ask the right questions, a survey can help your patrons better understand your material, think about their own likes and dislikes when it comes to theatre, and gain a greater appreciation for theatre at its core. 

As a performing arts entity, your job should be to foster a stronger respect for the arts at large. A post-show survey enhances the audience experience because it causes a guest to think about your show – and about performing arts in general – long after final bows.

4 Ways to Leverage Post-Show Surveys

Ensure the process is straightforward.

Even the most passionate theatre enthusiast will throw in the towel on your survey if it’s bloated, too technical, hard to navigate, or a rambling mess. Instead, make sure your questions are clear and concise, making the process as easy as possible for patrons. Additionally, your online platform should be optimized for mobile and easily traversable for patrons from all walks of life – i.e., those who are tech-savvy and those who aren’t. 

Get specific. 

The whole objective of a post-show survey is to gain meaningful feedback and insights into your audience’s preferences. That being said, avoid vague questions: “How did you like the show?” or close-ended questions: “Did you like the show?”

Instead, ask as specific of questions as you can, whether those are about certain scenes, lighting or sound choices, or about the decision to run this particular show. The more specific you get, the more insights you gain into your audience and what they enjoy. Your goal is to receive actionable objectives that can make an impact down the road. 

Offer incentives. 

Like many, your patrons may not feel motivated to fill out a survey if there’s “nothing in it for them.” Fair enough! Incentivize participation through a variety of avenues, which can include:

  • Discounts on upcoming show tickets 
  • Entries into a larger prize drawing 
  • Discounted ad rates in your show program 
  • VIP experiences like early entry, backstage tours, or food/drink delivery direct to the seat
  • Free merchandise 

The only caveat here is that you make it clear that you still want honest responses – no one should feel pressured to be more positive than they had planned to be in order to get the perks. 

Utilize multiple channels. 

Maximizing participation in your survey is the best way to get a true sense of the general audience’s perception. That being said, you’ll need to promote your survey on as many channels as possible.

Consider all social media platforms, as well as targeted email marketing, online forums, and advertising on your show site. In short, the more touch points you have to access this survey, the better. This way, you’ll get the most diverse and representative sample possible. 

Questions to Consider 

There are a variety of questions and themes to consider when constructing your post-show survey, which are broken down by theme. 

Overall satisfaction with the experience

These will be your most vague or open-ended questions, asking patrons about how they generally felt about the show and the experience at large. Questions to stimulate thought can include:

  • How well did the show align with your overall expectations?
  • How likely are you to attend another show with our theatre?
  • Were there any components missing from the overall experience that you hope will be there for the next one? 

The ticket-buying, entry, and scanning experience

Learning about your patron’s ability (or lack thereof) to acquire tickets, scan them, and find seats is critical to making a better, more accessible and inclusive experience for everyone. Some questions to address this include: 

  • How easy or difficult was the ticket-buying process – whether through the physical box office or the online portal? 
  • How smoothly was your theatre entrance and ticket scanning experience?
  • Did you encounter any issues with accessibility or finding your seat? 
  • Do you have any recommendations on how to streamline the ticket-buying or scanning process? 

Themes and content 

About the show itself, you’ll want to get into the nitty gritty – whether it’s the technical aspects of the show, the costuming, the acting, the themes, or the show pick itself. A few questions to ask:

  • Do you think the show itself offered relevant topics for audience members?
  • Did you enjoy the themes of the show and find it entertaining?
  • What types of shows do you want to see more or less of in our next season? 

Customer service and staff interactions 

An entire evening of theatre can be ruined by unfriendly staff or poor customer service. Let’s hope your box office team is prepped and ready to handle any hurdle – but if not, make sure you’re getting the feedback to fix it. Consider the following questions: 

  • How would you rate the helpfulness of our staff during registration, entry, and post-show exits?
  • Are there any ways our staff could better accommodate you in the future? 

Logistics and value

Taking a step back from the actual meat of the show, you should also try to gauge your audience’s opinions about its perceived value. 

  • Do you think you received the best possible value for your ticket?
  • When watching the show, did you feel as though you were watching a professional production? Why or why not?
  • How do you think we can maximize value for patrons with our next show? 

On The Stage Booking and Marketing Layer

With major industry shifts over the last few years, it’s more imperative than ever that new strategies are implemented to keep audience members happy and coming back for more. On The Stage (OTS) is answering the new challenges with a new suite of revenue-accelerating features and workflows that will enable you to engage with your patrons in more targeted ways, activate additional non-ticket revenue streams, and optimize purchase flows to maximize the dollars coming from every stage of the customer journey, all while giving your patrons a best-in-class experience.  

With OTS’s comprehensive Marketing Suite, you can:

  • Grow awareness of your program through social platform integrations, email marketing, targeted marketing campaigns, and show art
  • Increase conversion rates and sell more tickets through Broadway-style show sites or a customizable ticketing widget embedded on your website
  • Nurture and grow your patron base with ticket buyer outreach, patron relationship management, engagement tools, reports, and insights
  • Increase efficiency and effectiveness by seamlessly integrating OTS with social platforms and marketing automation tools.

Create a great experience for your patrons by partnering with OTS. Book a personalized demo today to learn more. 

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