Aiken Promotions Customer Care Policy
1. The policy is intended to:
- Define the minimum standards which customers should expect at any event organised by Aiken Promotions.
- Outline how stewards, supervisors and managers should behave when dealing with customers.
- Outline how serious incidents involving disruptive patrons should be handled.
- Provide guidance on how staff should respond to dissatisfied customers.
- Provide guidance on supporting disabled patrons.
2. All patrons of Aiken Promotions events are protected by human rights legislation, consumer law and by the contract entered into through the purchase of a ticket. While these convey rights they also confer responsibilities on both Aiken Promotions and its’ staff and on the patron.
3. The rights include:
- A performance as stipulated on the ticket or promotional material.
- A seat in the defined position or a seat of equal or better status as stated on the ticket manifest (if for production reasons a seat has had to be removed, constitutes a hazard or has impaired or reduced sightlines).
- A safe environment.
- Protection from excessive behaviour by other patrons.
- Courteous and respectful treatment by all Aiken Promotions staff even when customers are rude, demanding and verbally aggressive.
- Provision of relevant and reasonable information such as the time and duration of a performance, the bill, location of toilets, bars and concession areas, health and safety information.
- A means to identify the names of any staff.
4. The responsibilities include:
- Respect for the rights of other patrons to enjoy the event.
- Adherence to conditions as stipulated on the ticket or promotional materials or as set by the venue.
- Refraining from smoking.
- Refraining from drinking alcohol in the auditorium if that is a requirement of the venue.
- Refraining from causing excessive noise or movement during a performance.
- Not having consumed excessive amounts of alcohol or being in a state which is causing annoyance or offence to other customers.
- Compliance with reasonable requests from other customers or staff.
- Refraining from using any photographic or recording devices when such permissions have not been expressly granted.
- Respect for the person and rights of all staff.
5. The principal function of all staff is to protect the health and safety of all customers and facilitate their enjoyment of an event.
- Be familiar with the health and safety requirements of the venue especially standard and emergency exit routes.
- Provide information to customers about the venue, the event and other relevant details.
- Listen sympathetically to complaints and try to resolve them or refer them to others who might.
- Give advice or guidance in a helpful tone.
- Refrain from aggressive, foul or abusive language regardless of any provocation.
- Avoid confrontation but try to resolve difficulties or secure support in any situation which has the potential to escalate.
- Refer problems which cannot be resolved to a supervisor.
- Be firm but pleasant when conveying information, advice or guidance which is contrary to the wishes of the customer.
- Not place themselves in any danger.
6. The policy on dealing with the removal of disruptive patrons is included as Section 2 of this document.
7. The policy on dealing with dissatisfied customers is included as Section 3 of this document
8. The policy on the provision of services for disabled patrons is included as Section 4.
Policy on Dealing with Dissatisfied Customers
1. Aiken Promotions attempts to meet the expectations of all patrons attending its events but on occasions either in reality or perception this might not happen. In such circumstances every attempt should be made by any member of staff dealing with the customer to resolve any difficulties. If a member of staff does not feel empowered to resolve the difficulty then the matter should be referred to the next most senior colleague.
2. The nature of a complaint may be very specific to an individual but the most common areas, with possible remedial responses, are outlined below:
- Seat has a sightline problem or has been removed for production reasons (alert ushers or supervisors to try to relocate the customer).
- Other customers are causing annoyance (assess the nature of the complaint and either bring to the attention of the other party, with reasonable advice, or convey to the complainant that the behaviour is reasonable).
- Movement of other customers during a performance. (Hold back patrons entering an arena until a suitable interval, or advise other party of the complaint and seek their assistance or persuade the complainant that the movement is reasonable).
- Customer standing on a seat, platform or other structure. (Advise the customer of the health and safety risks and seek their co operation or insist on compliance if there is a real and present danger).
- Lost ticket. (Refer to ticket office or if seat numbers are known check if these are vacant or see if a record exists through a credit card to verify or decide the situation is genuine and try to accommodate if there are spare seats spare).
3. There are matters which might cause a customer to complain but which are beyond the control of Aiken Promotions. In such circumstances any response should be informative and polite with an emphasis on explaining the reasons why this is beyond the responsibility of the company. Some such issues include but are not exclusive to:
- Lateness of arrival due to traffic or parking difficulties.
- Car park arrangements.
- Distance travelled or transport disruptions.
- Opinions or perceptions formed on the basis of website, blogs, media reviews or previous performances.
- Minor, short term or limited technical difficulties.
- Length or quality of the performance.
- Any verbal statements by the artist or visual material or props used by the artist (this is a matter for the artist/agent/show producer).
4. All complaints which are written to the company will be answered as soon as possible after any details mentioned in the complaint have been investigated.
Any customer making a telephone complaint should be advised of the company policy and be asked to put the comment in writing.
Any complaint made personally to a member of staff should be noted and passed to management. The complainant should be asked to put the complaint in writing.
5. Refunds are considered only when the following circumstances have been met in full:
- Where the complaint has been brought to the attention of a senior Aiken Promotions member of staff and a deemed valid by them.
- Where the customer lodges a complaint which is deemed valid by either: (I) the interval of a main act/performance or (II) before the duration of 30 minutes of the main performance.
- Where a complaint has been deemed valid the patron should have ticket stub or other receipt signed by the most senior available member of Aiken Promotions staff. They will then leave the venue.
- The complainant should be advised to write to the company office referring to the event and enclosing the signed ticket stub (or other receipt).
6. A complaint lodged after an event will not normally lead to a refund. In exceptional circumstances and at the discretion of management, a refund or a partial refund or an offer of tickets for another event may be provided on a ‘without prejudice’ basis as a gesture of good will.
7. No ancillary costs will be met in the event of a refund or partial refund being deemed appropriate.
8. In the event of a cancellation the cost of tickets only will be refunded in full.
9. In the event of a postponement or a forced change of date customers will either be able to:
(I) Have a refund of the cost of the ticket only
(II) Retain the ticket for the rearranged event.
A ticket produced for refund after the date of the re-organised event has taken place will not normally be refunded.
10. A refund will not normally be given in circumstances where the customer has been refused entry because of intoxication, disruptive or dangerous behaviour.
POLICY ON THE REMOVAL OF DISRUPTIVE PATRONS
1. Aiken Promotions pursue a policy of courtesy and persuasion in the management of any disruptive, dangerous or offensive behaviour by a patron. The more general policy on customer care requires that the rights of each individual are protected but when the action of one individual impacts adversely on another then action may be required to ensure safety and protect rights.
2. Stewards should not approach a potentially dangerous or aggressive situation alone. Desirably a supervisor should be contacted to assess the situation.
3. When encountering a potentially dangerous or aggressive situation, supervisors/stewards should carry out a risk assessment. Points to be considered include:
- Likelihood of the situation deteriorating
- Potential danger to other patrons
- Potential danger to staff
- Prospect of resolution without intervention
- Prospect of action being required
- Need for additional steward support
- Need for Gardai/Police support
- Rules associated with removal
4. In the event that action is required the following hierarchy of responses should be used:
- Observation without intervention
- Friendly approach to provide advice
- More formal approach with statement of consequences for continual disturbance
- Ask the patron to leave the premises if there is a suitable exit route
- If this request is refused maintain an adequate steward presence to monitor the situation
- If there appears to be a continuing threat, seek Gardai/Police assistance if it is available
5. Only in extreme circumstances attempt a forcible removal. Such circumstances would include:
- Response to an attack by the patron on another patron or member of staff
- Breaking up a fight between patrons
- Where there is a real and present threat to health and safety
- Where the patron is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs and is presenting a risk or threat and might be easily removed
- When instructed to by the Chief Steward or higher ranking representative of Aiken Promotions
- When assisting the Gardai/Police
6. The personal safety of the steward should at all times be a major factor in decision making.
7. A full report should be prepared by the most senior company representative present and submitted to the Event Controller.
POLICY ON THE PROVISION OF SERVICES FOR DISABLED PATRONS
1. Patrons with physical or other disabilities should, as far as possible, be treated in the same manner as those who are able bodied. Where this is insufficient to meet their needs then additional provisions should be made where this is possible and practicable.
2. Not all disabilities are obvious and stewards should listen carefully to any patron who claims to have a disability and assess in a sympathetic manner.
3. There are three main support points for customers with disabilities:
- Booking appropriate tickets and related information
- Accessing the venue (and egress)
- Enjoying the concert in an environment which is safe to them and others
Aiken Promotions is developing practices to support each of these but the precise detail of access and environment will vary from one venue to another.
4. Booking appropriate tickets
The Aiken Promotions website gives details of how dedicated tickets for patrons with disabilities can be booked. This generally involves an early decision on the space to be allocated for patrons in wheelchairs or those whose disability might prevent them from being in a general admission area. This decision is conveyed to Ticketmaster to allow the ticket to go on their system or a decision is made that all disabled area tickets will be managed through the Promoter’s office. Relevant information is then placed on the Aiken Promotions website and included in advertisements. The website will also provide details on access to any dedicated disabled parking area.
5. Accessing the Venue
Where possible patrons with discernable disabilities should be brought to the front of a queue and admitted ahead of other patrons. Signage should direct them to any disabled platform or other dedicated area and to toilets. Stewards are advised to give both priority and assistance to patrons with disabilities in accessing the venue and their seats.
6. Enjoying the concert
The nature of the disability will vary and stewards need to be mindful of the needs of the patron. In general terms where the disability involves mobility the patron can be accommodated in a dedicated area such as a platform. Where possible, a disabled toilet should be located nearby and its’ use restricted to disabled patrons. If possible, at least one person accompanying the disabled patron should be accommodated on the platform. If space is too congested then they should be allowed to remain close by in an area which does not obstruct an exit route.
7. In certain circumstances health and safety considerations may need to over-ride the wishes of a disabled customer. Such circumstances might include:
- Keeping aisles and exit routes clear
- Preventing a wheelchair being placed in an area which might cause a hazard or block an exit route
- Where a steward believes that the customer might endanger him/herself
As a general rule persons in wheelchairs should not be allowed to leave an area of safety until the pressure on exit routes eases.
8. First Aid personnel should, if possible, be located close to disabled areas and stewards should liaise with them to ensure back up if required.
9. Pregnant women are not disabled but should be offered whatever support is needed to protect them and provide for their needs as customers. Similarly, elderly patrons should have their needs assessed and provided for where possible.
10. Aiken Promotions is developing information on relevant issues such as access to each standard venue.