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Announcing the 2024 Friction Audit and Engagement Survey

ISSUE 22 • February 2024

Friction Audit Image

Attention: Artistic, Marketing, Front of House, and Education teams

Focus on the Customer Experience

One of the four Basic Surveys offered each year, the Friction Audit and Engagement Survey offers your marketing, front-of-house, and education teams a chance to focus on improving the customer experience. This survey was developed and implemented last year as the “Audience Experience Survey” by a cohort of nine organizations across the performing arts disciplines. The survey is now offered for cohort participation each year with a mid-April deployment date.

What You Can Expect 

The survey examines two critical aspects of the audience experience:

  1. Points of dissatisfaction with 12 different aspects of the “lived experience” of attending your programs, from parking to staff interactions, with detailed open-ended follow-up on any points of dissatisfaction.
  2. Preferences for engaging with your artistic programs before, during, and afterward.

In sum, the survey offers a comprehensive picture of how your patrons aspire to engage and what their actual experience is. We recommend that arts organizations deploy the Friction Audit and Engagement Survey every two or three years.

​​Highlights from the 2023 Findings

Organizations participating in last year’s cohort gained valuable insights, using the feedback to tailor their engagement offerings and to address points of dissatisfaction with the physical experience of attending their programs. For example:

  • Friction Points: The 2023 survey revealed that 63% of ticket buyers under 35 encountered friction points when attending programs. Armed with this knowledge, some cohort members sharpened their focus on streamlining the experience of attending their events, especially for newcomers.
  • Program Experience: Over 4,000 ticket buyers shared detailed feedback on their experience, allowing for comparison across organizations. Open-ended comments offer deep insight into sources of friction. Some cohort members downloaded these comments, categorized them, and reviewed them in meetings with FOH staff.
  • Preparedness to Engage: Two-thirds of audience members felt unprepared to fully engage with arts programs. This information prompted some organizations to explore new ways of maximizing the impact of their programs.
  • Learning Appetite: An overwhelming 80% of audience members expressed a hunger to learn more about the art forms, provoking cohort members to think more deeply about customer engagement through educational offerings not necessarily tied to live performances.

​We invite you to join the cohort and add your perspective and experience to the dialogue around impact, satisfaction, and, ultimately, retention.

As with other Audience Outlook Monitor surveys, you’ll join a cohort of organizations and move through the process together as a cohort. Your survey results accumulate in a dashboard, alongside results from other cohort members. As with all cohort surveys, WolfBrown staff will assist with deployment logistics and guide you through the sense-making process.

Learn more about the survey here.