Sports

Challenges Create Opportunity, People Create Change - 4/20/21


There are so many great things that have been said over the years about overcoming challenges, pushing aside the roadblocks of life, dealing with difficulties.  And these are important points of discussion because challenges are all around us.  There are challenges with our personal health or in our personal Read more

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21


Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

The Approach to Redesigning the Clippers Fan Experience

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

Blog 10-22-14Steve Ballmer made billions with the technology giant that is Microsoft, but with his latest massive personal investment (his purchase of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers), Ballmer is targeting something where technology is not the focus. According to the article Clippers 2.0 to be big on ‘fan experience,’ Ballmer says, Ballmer is focusing on the fan experience. He’s got a winning team, a top coach, basketball superstars…and he’s focused on…the fan experience. You may ask “Why,” but I’m going to ask “How?”

“You’ve got to think about what things are like in the arena. You’ve got to think about what things are like in the community, on the broadcast and what things are going to be like on the phone, on the go, on the PC, whatever,” Ballmer said.

He’s taking a look at the experience from the customer’s perspective – what do the fans see at the Staples Center? How does the community perceive the organization, what is life like in the community, and how does the community experience the Clippers?

In other words, to gauge the experience and learn how to improve, you must first know your customer and know how your customer experiences the organization.

This is a core concept that is not understood by enough sports organizations. Too many companies take their MBAs, their Doctorates, and their decades of business acumen; then, they decide to assume what would make a great experience, because they know best. They create new product-oriented concepts and push them to the customers, because they’re more creative. They design the perk or the benefit or the marketing scheme, because they’re just smarter.

But those that really know best and really are the smartest do this – they see the business through the customer’s eyes. They identify core customer needs and customers’ decision-making factors in determining whether to come back or spread positive word-of-mouth. They listen to the Voice of the Fan, and they act to give the fan what they desire.

If you’re looking for a smart strategy for building your fan experience, start by surveying and talking to fans, seeing the experience through their eyes.

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Ticket Sales Down Due to Accounts Reducing Seats?

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

Blog 9-24-14Typically, fewer than 6% of season ticket accounts are likely to reduce their number of seats year-to-year. That’s based on a history of our CSS fan research in the Sports Industry. So when we read stories like USU football: Aggies looking to increase season-ticket sales where the Athletic Director notes the main reason for recent drops in season tickets is a reduction in seats by individual accounts, it’s odd to hear. The AD states “that the school’s tracking system shows the Aggies haven’t lost as many season-ticket buyers as they have the number of tickets bought. Many fans are buying two or four season tickets this year instead of six or more in years past.”

So what can cause a relatively unusual action – reducing the number of tickets – to occur? Among the factors not controllable by the club are the economy, the financial status of the accounts, families downsizing with kids going to college elsewhere, etc. But what are causes that the club can control?

What we’ve found is that when fans are keeping their accounts but reducing the number of tickets, this is a symptom of a wavering commitment to the team. The somewhat controllable factors are the following:

  • Concerns with the “Direction of the Team” – Fan is uncertain about whether their investment is worth the lack of a plan (or a poor plan) for improving performance of the club. The fan is less likely to want to invest big on something that seems like it’s going in the wrong direction.
  • Lack of Personal Connection – From a controllable perspective, there are no strong ties to account representatives that can communicate more 1-on-1 with accounts to allay concerns and strengthen ties. A strong relationship is not being built. Weakness drops commitment.
  • Decreasing Pride in the Team – The organization is doing little in the community or little to overcome negative perceptions of players, coaches, and other personnel. It’s no longer the “cool thing” to be a fan of the team – it becomes more of the cool thing to bash the team or hide your fandom. The organization is doing little personally with the fan to overcome these perceptions.

Much of the decision of the account to decrease their annual season ticket purchases is out of the control of the “business side” of the club. But that can’t be an excuse for failure. Look for those aspects of the organization, the experience, and/or the people involved that are controllable.

Look for those attributes that decrease perceived value or create doubt about the future direction of and relationship with the club.

Find ways to keep the accounts from dropping seats.

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Teamwork Spurs a Title

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

Blog 6-25-14Basketball can be a beautiful game. While dunks are great shows of physical force, it’s the constant movement of the ball ending with a slash to the basket, a 3-pointer from the corner, or – yes – a vicious dunk that make it beautiful.

The San Antonio Spurs won their 5th championship last week in 15 years, but it wasn’t just a tribute to the longevity of their star players. It was also a tribute to teamwork; it was meshing of young talent and an “over-the-hill” 38 year old. It was about a coach who would yell at you one minute for using poor technique in guarding a shooter and then encourage you the next. It was about that leader showing what Vince Lombardi called “football love” – love of a teammate or a player even if you don’t love the action. Working together for the good of the whole, even if that means that statistics of the individual may suffer.

How does this relate to customer service? Well it relates to the culture of an organization, and to sustain great customer service, it’s not about hiring a few key individuals and hoping they overcome the shortcomings of others or overcome bad leadership or overcome poor processes.

Service EXCELLENCE requires having a culture that fosters teamwork for the good of the organization and the customer. Great customer service requires everyone to understand how they impact the success of co-workers and to work to make those fellow employees successful.

The Spurs story for this season, in particular, was one of selflessness and continuous movement – players working in concert on offense and defense – trusting the system and the leaders. It was a beautiful thing to watch – and it was successful, setting records for point differential in a playoffs and in a finals.

Does your company truly want to have great customer service? If so, keep the information moving. Work together toward a common goal. Make the team win more important than the individual accolades. Have leadership that can teach, redirect, reinforce, and reward. Do what you do for each other and the customer, and your personal success and rewards will follow.

Learn a few Spurs lessons in Teamwork.

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