customer retention

Bring Magic to Your Account Management - 1/19/21


One of our first sports-industry clients was the Orlando Magic.  They were a true leading-edge organization in the early 2000s when it came to dedicating resources to season ticket holder retention.  They didn’t make customer service, relationship-development, and renewals simply a function of the Sales department.  They broke it Read more

Customers Want Easy, but Easy is Difficult - 1/12/21


New employees go through days of training to learn products and services.  They have formal workshops to learn how to use their office applications, web functions, and whatever programs are specific to their department.  They test new technology, and they get quizzed on knowledge of policies.  This is hours Read more

Make 2021 the Year of Building Relationships - 1/5/21


I’ve been very fortunate over this company’s 20+ years in business to have great and long-lasting relationships with many clients, colleagues, business partners, and co-workers.  It’s a gift to be able to call on these individuals for advice or referrals or to be a sounding board.  And it’s just Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter - 12/29/20


Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth. Although some of us may like the cold at times of Read more

2020 Holiday Poem - 12/22/20


When in the role of customer service,We are wired to give and give.It’s built into our DNA.It’s simply the way we live. In order to give to others,We need to find ways to give them their fill.We need to pour empathy and openness into them.To serve, we need to have Read more

It’s NOT about the Cinnamon - 12/15/20


It was happening again.  Jessica had just handed the freshly made concoction to her coffee shop customer, and less than a minute later, the customer was in Jessica’s face, red as a beet, ranting and raving:  I specifically asked for extra cinnamon on top!  Does this look like extra Read more

Locke-in from the Start - 12/8/20


John Locke was a 17th century English philosopher, physician, and researcher.  He wrote many papers arguing particular points, oftentimes using reason and facts as the basis for his position.  He noted that many disagreements start because there is – in my words – a lack of real clarity about Read more

The End of the Tunnel - 12/1/20


Have you ever heard the expression:  There’s light at the end of the tunnel… In this COVID-era world, it sure does feel like the tunnel is long, doesn’t it?  It sure feels like this is not a light that we’ll be at in 2 seconds after the train goes another Read more

A Lesson in Gratitude - 11/24/20


Mr. Robinson went to the hardware store with his teenaged son, Steve.  Steve was starting his first woodworking project – building a small coffee table – and needed supplies.  As they walked the aisles, Mr. Robinson and Steve couldn’t find the exact type of wood they wanted, so Mr. Read more

Why Your Job is Important - 11/17/20


I was speaking with a client recently, and she was telling me about one of the classes delivered by their professional development team. Her description of the course reminded me of some client workshops we’ve conducted where a part of the outcome is having individual staff develop Personal Mission Read more

Don’t Copy Company A – 5/19/15 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


Terri, the church secretary, knows that the copier agreement ends in about a year, and while she’s aware of its upcoming renewal timeline, it’s obviously not something that she thinks about much.

The current copier vendor (“Company A”) signed on with the church two years ago, before Terri became the new secretary; that vendor hasn’t contacted the church once since the contract was signed. Even though there’s a maintenance agreement, they have never come out to do service because the church never called. So even though “Company A” has a contract with the church, they have no relationship.

When another copier vendor (“Company B”) contacted Terri about the church’s needs, Terri said she’d talk with them. “Company B” noted specifically how they would save the church money on the contract. They described how they’d provide more maintenance and shared their “Company B” promise that they would contact the church to schedule the appointments. They noted the increased functionality they’d provide on the copier. And while changing vendors today and getting out of her current contract would require time and effort on Terri’s part, she’s willing to do it.

The reason that she’s willing to do it is partially because of what the new provider is offering. But here’s the big difference – she knows what it’s like to be a customer of the current vendor, and there’s no relationship, there’s no sense of caring, there’s no proactive communication, and there’s no sense that she – the customer – matters.

Realize that getting a customer is merely the start of a relationship. Make and execute the plans to develop a relationship, provide proactive communications, and ensure the customer feels like they matter to you.

Don’t Copy Company A.

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Baby Come Back – 3/17/15 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


I’m dating myself here, but do you know the 1970’s song “Baby Come Back” by Player? If not, think about the Swiffer sweeper commercials where a mop or broom sings the song to a customer who has converted to Swiffer – the mop’s competitor.

Even if the song still doesn’t ring a bell, think about these lyrics:

Baby come back, any kind of fool could see
There was something in everything about you
Baby come back, you can blame it all on me
I was wrong, and I just can’t live without you

The mop lost a customer. He was heartbroken, and he wanted her back.

What’s the customer service lesson from the song? It’s this: Never let customers – even those that are lost – become a prospect. You worked too hard, too long to gain the customer and develop a relationship, so there should be some pain in the loss. But don’t let those hurt feelings or the hurt bottom line cause you to fully cut off communications with past customers. Instead, take these three actions with lost customers.

First, find out specifically why they left. You can assume, but if you want to know the true reason, then ask. Whether it’s through Exit Interviews or less formal means, identify the true reasons to apply those lessons to existing clients and operations.

Second, convey your interest in continuing communications with them. Even if all you say is “If it’s okay, I’ll plan to touch base with you every few months just to check in and see how you’re doing” or “If I come across something that might be of interest to you, I’ll send it your way.”

Third, keep the relationship warm. Create a Former Client Touch Point Plan, where every 2-6 months (based on the industry and customer type), you send them some information that may be of interest to them, something about a change or improvement in your company, or something of value to them.

I’m not suggesting that you spend undue resources on customers who’ve left; rather I’m simply suggesting that you never let those relationships go stale.

Don’t let lost customers become prospects. Adopt the mantra “Baby Come Back.”

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How to Avoid Refunding Fans

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

Blog 1-29-15The New York Knicks are terrible – 9-37 as of today. And with the highest ticket average ticket prices in the NBA at almost $130 per seat per game, fans aren’t happy according to a recent New York Times article. Many even want refunds! Yet, the Knicks repeatedly report attendance near capacity. How? To a large extent, it’s about supply and demand. But most sports organizations are not located in a city of over 8 million people, so when the product on the court (or field, pitch, track, or rink) is terrible, what can be done? This is when the season ticket service and sales representatives of the world have to focus on what they can control. Here are some things that reps can control, which have nothing to do with the team’s performance:

  • Your relationship with your accounts
  • Your knowledge of their renewal drivers
  • Your knowledge of which of your organization’s services, information, programs, and solutions can address those drivers
  • How often you reach out to them personally
  • How you reach out to them personally (preferably in the way your client prefers)
  • Your understanding of how they’re leaning toward renewals
  • Your understanding of their favorites – players, visiting teams, aspects of the game experience
  • Your knowledge of why fans of similar profiles have left in prior years
  • Your knowledge of their share partners
  • Your knowledge of what benefits are most important to them – and which are irrelevant
  • Your understanding of how they use their tickets
  • Your knowledge/skills about how to deal with the irate customer

What’s the key takeaway?

You can’t control the play on the court. But your knowledge of your account, your personal skills, how/when you communicate with your clients – those are all things you can control. It’s very easy (and understandable) to look at the play on the court and be frustrated. To get over the frustration, focus on what you can control. Work on your knowledge, skills, and communication with clients.

Build yourself up to build renewal rates.

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