Last week’s concert tour ticket crisis involving Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster is a rare situation … [+] in which both sides of a corporate emergency have teachable moments that business executives should keep in mind when their companies have a crisis.. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
Last week’s concert tour ticket crisis involving Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster is a rare situation in which both sides of a corporate emergency have teachable moments that business executives should keep in mind when their companies have a crisis.
“On Thursday, Ticketmaster canceled its planned public sale of tickets to the singer’s Eras Tour after several tiers of presales for fans went awry,” the New York Times reported. “The company cited ‘extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand.’”
Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to a request to provide their comments fir this article.
Branding, marketing, and crisis management experts weighed in with their observations on how Swift and Ticketmaster responded to the crisis.
“From start to finish, Ticketmaster highlighted what not to do as an ongoing crisis unfolds—let alone a crisis of their own creation,” Christy Reiss, an account manager and member of the crisis communication team at Matter Communications, said via email.
“Ticketmaster failed to prepare as a business and communications team when they had ample time, leading to poor communications as the crisis unfolded. They were forced to approach from a defensive position, making it difficult to manage a crisis effectively,” she noted.
When a crisis finally happens, Reiss said that these are the three general rules of thumb to follow:

Last week’s concert tour ticket crisis involving Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster is a rare situation … [+] in which both sides of a corporate emergency have teachable moments that business executives should keep in mind when their companies have a crisis.(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
For her part, Swift took steps to tell her side of the story about the crisis that had upset so many of her fans.
“It’s really difficult for me to trust an outside entity with these relationships and loyalties, and excruciating for me to just watch mistakes happen with no recourse,” Swift said in a statement.
“There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets and I’m trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward. I’m not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them multiple times if they could handle this kind of demand, and we were assured they could.”
“While Taylor Swift’s statement is being praised online, it came too late,,” Reiss thought.
“Much like Ticketmaster, she had ample opportunity at every major change in the pre-sale and general admission process to acknowledge frustrations and note any steps she was taking with Ticketmaster to alleviate the problem.
“While her statement acknowledges that she is ‘extremely devoted to fans,’ she waits until she is called upon for a statement to give one – and rather than showing action, places blame,” Reiss noted.
MIAMI, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 18: : In this photo illustration, A ticketmaster ticket is shown on a … [+] cellphone on November 18, 2022 in Miami, Florida. The Justice Department is reportedly investigating the parent company of Ticketmaster for possible antitrust violations, this follows the news that Taylor Swift concert ticket sales overwhelmed the Ticketmaster system.(Photo illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
“Ticketmaster said in a statement late Friday, “We strive to make ticket buying as easy as possible for fans, but that hasn’t been the case for many people trying to buy tickets for Taylor Swift ‘The Eras’ Tour. First, we want to apologize to Taylor and all of her fans —especially those who had a terrible experience trying to purchase tickets.”
“Much of [Ticketmaster’s] lengthy statement linked in a tweet sent out by Ticketmaster at around 11 p.m. ET Friday was identical to one the company had published and then deleted on Thursday—but now with an apology newly tagged onto the beginning.
“The previous day’s version of the since-revised “explanation” did not include any apologetic language, raising the further ire of many fans before it was removed from Ticketmaster’s website,” Variety reported.
“Ticketmaster rarely communicated the current state of the pre-sale, Capital One sale, and general admission sale,” Reiss noted
“The only time fans were given updates was when a planned sale was moved or canceled—there were no proactive updates on wait times or what Ticketmaster was doing to alleviate the technical issues. Even if there was nothing new to share, fans needed to know that Ticketmaster was supporting them after promising a smooth experience.
“Bottom line, they failed to be transparent and lacked accountability for the process that they created. When Ticketmaster finally put out a response on November 18, it was underscored with a defensive tone and focused more on protecting themselves than showing empathy for fans,” according to Reiss.
“While they did note that they will work on updating their systems accordingly with new demand volumes, there was no apology, understanding of the fans’ frustration, or acknowledgment of their own shortcomings,” she said.
“The way the company chooses to respond sets the tone for how customers will react in the moment and how they’ll view the company going forward. Ticketmaster missed two opportunities with their response to this event,” April Shprintz, a business consultant, said via email.
“The first was to take full ownership of the fact they failed to take care of their customers. The reason doesn’t matter to a disappointed fan. That fan wants to know the company takes responsibility for the bad experience,” Shprintz noted.
The second missed opportunity was “finding a way to make amends while taking steps to ensure it won’t happen again,” she observed.
“Without that initial ownership, companies lose the customer’s attention and increase frustration. With it, a company is able to fix the current crisis while building more loyal relationships with their customers based on how they handled the mistake,” Shprintz concluded.
“While Ticketmaster did release a lengthy explanation as to why the entire situation happened, it’s one of those “it’s a little too late” for an explanation or apology situations,” Danielle Grossman, a senior media consultant at Sevans PR, said via email.
“Ticketmaster did admit that they did not anticipate demand which is something quite inexcusable for a company that has one purpose, to sell tickets for large-scale events and tours like Taylor’s.
“It is also unfortunate that the company’s internal team [apparently] did not follow what has been trending, what is popular, and anticipate the demand for this show. In its entirety, they did not handle this situation well and should have been prepared before the tickets even went on sale,” Grossman concluded.
“In all, it’s something every brand can learn from,” Inc. reported. “The lesson is this: be jealous of your fans or customers or users. Protect their experience at all costs, and expect the same from anyone you let provide part of that experience. And, if they let your fans down, take it personally. After all, it’s up to you to own your brand.”

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