Eugene is blessed to have the rich flow of arts and culture that it has - at least for a town its size. And the Hult Center would be a magnificent facility for delivery of those arts and culture no matter where it was located. But the Hult has a rough edge - customer service.
I spent my life working in customer service - maybe that's the problem - but I know that a business that depends on customer satisfaction must have an ongoing process for measuring customer satisfaction, and another for bringing ongoing change to those pieces that don't make the cut. I don't see much evidence at the Hult that these processes are alive and well.
A few examples: a nice element of the Hult's programming is the well done pre-concert lectures which take place in the Studio downstairs an hour before the evening's performance - it would be wonderful if the Hult would open prior to these lectures starting, but I've yet to find an open door from any garage access that opens earlier than 7pm on the nose. If one rushes, upon entry, down to the studio, the lecture will always be started already, and interestingly, the room will be filled with listeners - how did they get in? Apparently, there is an access to the Hult which DOES open prior to 7pm, but those who have parked in the Hult garage are just out of luck ( my guess is that this weirdness has much to do with the fact that if you come early to the Hult's parking garage, you don't pay a $5 fee). But there is no clue to this mystery noted on any of the locked doors, nor will one find the subject addressed on the Hult's website – why not?
Another annoyance area is ticket buying - I know the world is all about inventing new ways to increase profits, but whatever happened to buying a ticket at face value? Yes, I know this is a fact of life these days, but that doesn't mean I have to like it! I recently bought 2 tickets to a Hult performance online - I saw no way there to select the best remaining seats in my chosen section (if there is a way to do so online, there are no suggestions as to how) and it should not have been surprising when I discovered that the seats the computer selected for me where in row 1! Unless these seats were the last available in this section, the computer had lied to me, for it had offered to get me the 'best' seats left available - and front row seats have never been best in any book. Why?
I called the ticket office for assistance - were these actually the last tickets available in this section? No, they were not. Well then, I'd like to exchange them for seats further back. The Hult's ticket tech then spent 10 minutes trying to convince me that I shouldn't exchange these seats, including telling me that I'd now pay an 'exchange fee' for doing so. Throughout this entire process, I never felt like I, the ticket buyer, was in control of this experience - rather, it felt as if I'd exchanged being manipulated by a machine to being manipulated by a human. Not pleasant.
The issue of the Hult's customer service attitude reminds me much of that of banks in our nation. Banks are engaged in the difficult process of re-inventing the meaning of customer service, so that as it changes what it does and how it does it for its own convenience, it can continue to insist that it is actually improving customer service. This, for instance, makes it possible for banks to move from personal teller service to ATMs (to save $ of course) and then later to begin to charge for ATM service (because it is somehow a value added customer service). I get the same feeling whenever I deal with the Hult.
Having spent my life in the non-profit world, I'm well aware of the non-profit disease of expecting their customer base to forgive them simply because they are non-profit. And why not? As the Hult notes again and again in its PR materials, it only receives about half its revenues from ticket sales – the rest must come from fund raising. Somehow this translates to shifting the customer service measure to the donor base, and hoping that the ticket buyer will understand the benign neglect.
Maybe I'm in the minority, perhaps the silent minority, but I think the Hult administration needs to begin to give equal consideration to both donors and ticket buyers to achieve maximum potential. I have every intention to continue attending the Hult's fine performances, but I'll continue to look for evidence that customer service is climbing up on their short list of priorities (including an improvement in the quality of the wines served in the lobby!).
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.