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Author Topic: What do Production Customers Want Most  (Read 2978 times)

Lee Wright

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What do Production Customers Want Most
« on: July 15, 2012, 08:59:30 am »

Hi Guys,

I'd like to find out what customers want most when they hire a company to do sound production for them.   I figure it would vary a little by customer or event type eg corporate function, bands, weddings etc.

In my experience:

-Reliability is pretty important.  Clients want to know that  your going to actually turn up.  They actually get a bit nervous if you don't make them pay a deposit.  I guess they feel that you've got less obligation to turn up since they haven't paid you anything.

-Price is not as important as I thought.   I've put my prices up by 25% recently & it's not really dampened demand but I do seem to be getting a little more upmarket clients.  One customer I had to work quite hard to get some time back said they were reluctant because the price was low & they weren't sure if the quality would be any good but she was really happy with the results.

-I'm really fussy about sound quality but I often get the feeling the my clients don't care as much.  As long it sounds good & there's no obvious problems like feedback they seem happy.  The only exception is bands. 

-I think for bands foldback is really important.

-My Google Analytics results from my webpage show that customer testimonials are important which is part of reputation.

Love to hear peoples thoughts.

Lee.








 

Tom Young

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Re: What do Production Customers Want Most
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2012, 10:07:02 am »

Hi Guys,

I'd like to find out what customers want most when they hire a company to do sound production for them.   I figure it would vary a little by customer or event type eg corporate function, bands, weddings etc.

In my experience:

-Reliability is pretty important.  Clients want to know that  your going to actually turn up.  They actually get a bit nervous if you don't make them pay a deposit.  I guess they feel that you've got less obligation to turn up since they haven't paid you anything.

-Price is not as important as I thought.   I've put my prices up by 25% recently & it's not really dampened demand but I do seem to be getting a little more upmarket clients.  One customer I had to work quite hard to get some time back said they were reluctant because the price was low & they weren't sure if the quality would be any good but she was really happy with the results.

-I'm really fussy about sound quality but I often get the feeling the my clients don't care as much.  As long it sounds good & there's no obvious problems like feedback they seem happy.  The only exception is bands. 

-I think for bands foldback is really important.

-My Google Analytics results from my webpage show that customer testimonials are important which is part of reputation.

Love to hear peoples thoughts.Lee.

I think you're right.

The customer seldom cares about sound quality *but* will certainly respond to the reviews/criticisms from others.

Bands do primarily care about stage monitors as you say. But they, too, will form an opinion based on what the audience or friends/family say between sets about FOH sound quality.

Some clients will care as much about appearance of the system and staff, as anything else.

If doing a bar band, the bartenders and wait-staff may be your biggest critic especially f they cannot hear orders or have to walk close to the FOH ldspkrs.

And then you get into types of clients who will have specific needs or sensitivities: corporate, HOW, school, high-society, theatrical, weddings, commencements, etc.

In many venues how much room you take up (especially @ FOH) may become the main issue.

Bottom line is that aside from posessing very good sound system skills, you must also be able to read the client well and provide plus act accordingly.

If the gig merits it, a site visit and interview goes a long way.
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Tom Young
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203-888-6217

Tomm Williams

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Re: What do Production Customers Want Most
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2012, 10:53:48 am »

One thing that is universally despised by clients/attendees regardless of "sound expectations" is feedback. They may not know a speaker from a mic but let the system howl and they don't forget it. 
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Randall Hyde

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Re: What do Production Customers Want Most
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2012, 04:29:43 pm »



-Reliability is pretty important.  Clients want to know that  your going to actually turn up.  They actually get a bit nervous if you don't make them pay a deposit. 
Well, I've never had this issue. Half the time getting a deposit is like pulling teeth.
I do a lot of work with municipalities and they often prefer paying 30-60 days after the event. Slow, but never had a problem getting paid from them.

Quote
I guess they feel that you've got less obligation to turn up since they haven't paid you anything.
I can't imagine anyone hiring me at all if they had the slightest belief that I wouldn't show up...

Quote
-Price is not as important as I thought.   I've put my prices up by 25% recently & it's not really dampened demand but I do seem to be getting a little more upmarket clients.  One customer I had to work quite hard to get some time back said they were reluctant because the price was low & they weren't sure if the quality would be any good but she was really happy with the results.
True for some of my clients, certainly not true for others.  Again, I do a lot of municipal work in California. Given the on-going budget crisis in this state, Cities are *very* concerned about costs. Indeed, I recently picked up a new client because they had huge budget cuts for their summer concert series and the old provider couldn't do the work at the new budget levels.

Even the clients I have who don't pay for my services out of their own pockets (e.g., they get sponsors to pony up for the production costs) aren't completely oblivious to costs, though they'll go with my "A" system whether or not the crowd size requires it, just because it's the "best" system.

FWIW, my shows generally go from $1,000 to $5,000 (full productions: lights, sound, staging for one or two-day events). I've got one client (whom I've had for many years now) for whom $1,800 is as high as I can go. I normally charge $2,500 to $3,000 for that same setup for a one-off. However, this customer throws a lot of work my way and I'm willing to work within their budgetary constraints to keep their business.

Quote
-I'm really fussy about sound quality but I often get the feeling the my clients don't care as much.  As long it sounds good & there's no obvious problems like feedback they seem happy.  The only exception is bands. 
I've never had a concert promoter care about the sound. I believe that we produce fairly good sound (SRX cabinets + ITech amps) and I've gone to shows where we lost the bid and thought "gee, I could do a lot better than this" but the promoter/event coordinator is happy so it really doesn't matter.

Rarely do bands' opinions matter to the promotor unless you do something to really piss off the bands. Give 'em a good monitor mix and (if appropriate) make them real loud in FOH, and they're usually happy.

Quote
-I think for bands foldback is really important.

Until this summer, I could have counted on two fingers the number of jobs I've gotten because a band liked me so much. This summer I picked up a municipal concert series because a local band liked us so much. A July 4th show I just did wasn't on the band's recommendation, but the event coordinator was a bit concerned about whether we could handle the job; they happened to hire a band we'd worked with about a dozen times in the past (and the lead singer lives a block away from my house) and they let the coordinator know that they were very happy that we were doing the sound.  So I guess that counts.

Quote
-My Google Analytics results from my webpage show that customer testimonials are important which is part of reputation.
Absolutely. The main reason I got that July 4th show in the first place was the list of references I provided. The event coordinator called every one of them and the message was exactly the same: "you have to hire these guys."  It was a big show (10,000 people) and the event coordinator was freaking out about hiring someone they'd never done business with before. The references got us the job and the band's recommendation made her feel very comfortable.


Quote
Love to hear peoples thoughts.

Lee.
Without question, and this is something my references all tell people, you've got to be a solution to the event coordinator's problems rather than yet another problem they have to deal with. When someone hires a production company, they want to have to stop thinking about that end of their event from that point forward.  They don't want to hear about "you didn't select this optional equipment that the band is now asking for" and they don't want to know about your technical problems.  They want the show to start on time, they want it loud enough (and not too loud). They don't want issues with code inspectors (when they're even aware that such inspections might occur), they don't want complaints from the band about this or that on the stage.

Certainly, feedback is a sign of a less than professional production team and if the system hasn't been properly configured or rung-out I can see complaints occurring. However, sometimes feedback will occur (e.g., the lead singer drops a mic right into a monitor) and there is little you can do other than cut it off as quickly as possible. Never had a complaint from anyone when this has happened. Certainly, I would go nuts if there was ringing the whole night. Fortunately, most of my gigs are outdoors and I have fairly wide speaker separation (and the speakers are generally 15'-25' from either side of the stage), so feedback through FOH is rarely a problem. Monitors-- well, that's where RTAs and notch filters come in real handy.

One other thing that event coordinators absolutely hate is a junky-looking stage. Cases, boxes, dollies, covers, tarps, whatever, that aren't in active use on the stage should be left in the truck/trailer or stored someplace where they won't be seen by the audience. Trash (e.g., water bottles and soda cans) go in a trash receptacle, not piled up the the FOH or monitor booth. Excess cabling (snakes) need to be neatly coiled and (if possible) out of sight. The promoter is spending a lot of money on the event, they don't want it looking like a trash dump.

I always bring two sets of clothes with me to an event. After setting up the stage (and my cloths are totally soaked with sweat), I changed into a new set prior to the actual show. Road crew work is dirty work; nevertheless, the audience shouldn't see you in dirty work clothes while the show is going on. Good personal hygiene on the part of your staff is important, too.
Cheers,
Randy Hyde
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Lee Wright

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Re: What do Production Customers Want Most
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2012, 05:41:54 pm »


Thank Tom. I agree a site visit is super handy. 
For small jobs it's not always
economic but I get the client to
take a photo on their phone & pxt
it or send me a diagram.  I'll often
ring the venue to find out about loading etc.
I'm thinking of doing an interview form.

Lee Wright

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Re: What do Production Customers Want Most
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2012, 05:42:51 pm »

Thanks Tomm.  Yup that feedback's a killer alright.

Lee Wright

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Re: What do Production Customers Want Most
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2012, 06:16:19 pm »

Well, I've never had this issue. Half the time getting a deposit is like pulling teeth.
I do a lot of work with municipalities and they often prefer paying 30-60 days after the event. Slow, but never had a problem getting paid from them.
I can't imagine anyone hiring me at all if they had the slightest belief that I wouldn't show up...

I've actually had a few pay the full amount in advance.  I'm not really that keen on that in case the show gets cancelled & I have to give the money back after I've probably spent half of it.
Quote
True for some of my clients, certainly not true for others.  Again, I do a lot of municipal work in California. Given the on-going budget crisis in this state, Cities are *very* concerned about costs. Indeed, I recently picked up a new client because they had huge budget cuts for their summer concert series and the old provider couldn't do the work at the new budget levels.

Even the clients I have who don't pay for my services out of their own pockets (e.g., they get sponsors to pony up for the production costs) aren't completely oblivious to costs, though they'll go with my "A" system whether or not the crowd size requires it, just because it's the "best" system.

FWIW, my shows generally go from $1,000 to $5,000 (full productions: lights, sound, staging for one or two-day events). I've got one client (whom I've had for many years now) for whom $1,800 is as high as I can go. I normally charge $2,500 to $3,000 for that same setup for a one-off. However, this customer throws a lot of work my way and I'm willing to work within their budgetary constraints to keep their business.
I've never had a concert promoter care about the sound. I believe that we produce fairly good sound (SRX cabinets + ITech amps) and I've gone to shows where we lost the bid and thought "gee, I could do a lot better than this" but the promoter/event coordinator is happy so it really doesn't matter.

I do smaller shows so the difference between a cheaper provider & me is probably only $100-$200 so I guess it doesn't matter as much.
Quote

Rarely do bands' opinions matter to the promotor unless you do something to really piss off the bands. Give 'em a good monitor mix and (if appropriate) make them real loud in FOH, and they're usually happy.

Until this summer, I could have counted on two fingers the number of jobs I've gotten because a band liked me so much. This summer I picked up a municipal concert series because a local band liked us so much. A July 4th show I just did wasn't on the band's recommendation, but the event coordinator was a bit concerned about whether we could handle the job; they happened to hire a band we'd worked with about a dozen times in the past (and the lead singer lives a block away from my house) and they let the coordinator know that they were very happy that we were doing the sound.  So I guess that counts.
Absolutely. The main reason I got that July 4th show in the first place was the list of references I provided. The event coordinator called every one of them and the message was exactly the same: "you have to hire these guys."  It was a big show (10,000 people) and the event coordinator was freaking out about hiring someone they'd never done business with before. The references got us the job and the band's recommendation made her feel very comfortable.

Again for me doing smaller shows it's usually the band the hires me.

Quote
Without question, and this is something my references all tell people, you've got to be a solution to the event coordinator's problems rather than yet another problem they have to deal with. When someone hires a production company, they want to have to stop thinking about that end of their event from that point forward.  They don't want to hear about "you didn't select this optional equipment that the band is now asking for" and they don't want to know about your technical problems.  They want the show to start on time, they want it loud enough (and not too loud). They don't want issues with code inspectors (when they're even aware that such inspections might occur), they don't want complaints from the band about this or that on the stage.
Agree totally. Be the solution.  I try to plan in advance so I can help others too.  For example I know I'll only need 2 extension leads but I throw in an extra + power board because I  know the client or the band will probably want to plug in a projector or something else.


Quote

Certainly, feedback is a sign of a less than professional production team and if the system hasn't been properly configured or rung-out I can see complaints occurring. However, sometimes feedback will occur (e.g., the lead singer drops a mic right into a monitor) and there is little you can do other than cut it off as quickly as possible. Never had a complaint from anyone when this has happened. Certainly, I would go nuts if there was ringing the whole night. Fortunately, most of my gigs are outdoors and I have fairly wide speaker separation (and the speakers are generally 15'-25' from either side of the stage), so feedback through FOH is rarely a problem. Monitors-- well, that's where RTAs and notch filters come in real handy.

One other thing that event coordinators absolutely hate is a junky-looking stage. Cases, boxes, dollies, covers, tarps, whatever, that aren't in active use on the stage should be left in the truck/trailer or stored someplace where they won't be seen by the audience. Trash (e.g., water bottles and soda cans) go in a trash receptacle, not piled up the the FOH or monitor booth. Excess cabling (snakes) need to be neatly coiled and (if possible) out of sight. The promoter is spending a lot of money on the event, they don't want it looking like a trash dump.

Yep I can't believe the amount of junk some musicians leave all over the stage.  A few black drapes are really good for covering the back of an ugly sound desk.   I always have a nice black drape for my mixer table too.

Quote
I always bring two sets of clothes with me to an event. After setting up the stage (and my cloths are totally soaked with sweat), I changed into a new set prior to the actual show. Road crew work is dirty work; nevertheless, the audience shouldn't see you in dirty work clothes while the show is going on. Good personal hygiene on the part of your staff is important, too.

Yep totally true.  For anything a bit formal I always wear black slacks, shoes & nicely ironed black shirt.  Looks good & it's very practical too.

Quote


Cheers,
Randy Hyde

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: What do Production Customers Want Most
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2012, 06:16:19 pm »


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