fan experience

I Think I Think is Wrong - 10/20/20


I think that’s not going to be feasible.  I think we can do that.  I think you’re on the right track.  Methinks thou dost protest too much. Please forgive the Shakespearean reference, but it seems to fit well here.  When we are talking to co-workers and customers, and we’re giving Read more

Be Slowest, and Be the Best – Chick-fil-A - 10/13/20


About one week ago, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had an article that analyzed the results of a SeeLevel HX research engagement on the customer experience at fast food restaurants.  The results were seemingly contradictory.  The fast food chain with by far the overall best drive-thru experience was Chick-fil-A, and yet Read more

Connect During Customer Service Week - 10/6/20


It’s Customer Service Week…woohoo!  This week should be all about the customers we serve and the staff who serve them.  This should be about conveying we value other people, and – hopefully – having other people convey that they value us.  It’s a week about people – about us. This Read more

Temper the Tone of THE VOICE - 9/29/20


The television show The Voice is a singing competition.  The opening episodes of every season begin with individuals singing while judges have their backs to the singer.  The judges can’t see the singer, so they are evaluating the performer purely based on their voice. Oftentimes, when the judge turns around, Read more

Keep On Going - 9/22/20


Thomas Edison once said “Many of life’s failures are experiences by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” You are close to success – Keep On Going. Winston Churchill once said "If you’re going through hell, keep going."  This quote has been taken Read more

Lessons Learned for COVID Era Sporting Events


Since the sports world has begun inviting fans back to their events on a limited basis, CSS has been fortunate to work on multiple events with our sports clients.  Much of our work is fan research-oriented, where before or after events, we are engaging fans to identify expectations, potential Read more

Create a Common Definition of Customer Service - 9/15/20


Peter, Paul, and Marie are co-workers. They are all customer service representatives.  When Peter thinks of good customer service, he defines it as being friendly to the customer. “And I am friendly,” Peter says.  “That’s why I don’t know why they send me to customer service training.” Paul thinks customer Read more

COVID-19 Demand Management Strategies for Customer Service Channels


We all want demand for our products or services.  This helps us to generate revenue and to provide something of value to our customers and communities.  But customer demand does not strictly relate to products and services.  Demand also relates to communications, information, issue resolution, education, and other aspects Read more

Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance? - 9/8/20


This is a quote by Edgar Bergen.  He’s one of the most famous ventriloquists of all time, but I guess he wasn’t necessarily one of the hardest workers of all time.  By sharing this quote, I am not supporting the idea that we shouldn’t work hard…or am I? We only Read more

Reach Out More for COVID-19 Customer Retention


Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic became a reality for individuals, their communities, and their countries, it became clear that people were going to be hurting…that lives were going to be changing…that the realities of the past were going to be very different from the current and near-term future realities. When Read more

Lessons Learned for COVID Era Sporting Events

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

Since the sports world has begun inviting fans back to their events on a limited basis, CSS has been fortunate to work on multiple events with our sports clients.  Much of our work is fan research-oriented, where before or after events, we are engaging fans to identify expectations, potential concerns, and overall experiences.  Needless to say, we’ve had a ton of lessons learned that we’re sharing with you today.

Find the Customer’s Sweet Spot

Every event is going to have precautionary measures – protocols to utilize in order to keep staff and fans comfortable and safe.  Realize that you are striving to provide a great fan experience, but part of that great experience involves the fans being comfortable enough to have a good time.  So before events, conduct research with fans so you have a sense for what are the most important characteristics or potential protocols that you could put in place, from the fan’s perspective.  Understand what their expectations are and their needs are to have the comfort and confidence to have a great experience.  Before trying to do too much or too little from a sanitization perspective, make sure you have an understanding of those key perception drivers from the fan’s perspective so you have a better chance of hitting their sweet spot for protocols.

Educate New AND Old Customers

Most sports organizations, if they do any pre-event education with fans, tend to tailor those communications to the first-time fans.  This is being done for obvious reasons – first-time fans are the least experienced in how to navigate the fan journey and how to do their part to have the best experience possible.  But in this COVID world, keep in mind that even long-term fans and season ticket holders have never experienced an event of any kind – particularly a major sports event – within a COVID environment.

Make sure that the educational path you take is geared toward these two distinct groups – the first-time fans and the long-term fans about to have their first COVID event experience.  Remember in these times, in order for the customer to be comfortable and confident, you need to become an educator to the fans of what the experience will be like and what THEIR part is in helping to create that safe environment.

Post-event: Research, Refine, Reinforce

Finally, we’re going to discuss post-event activities from 3 perspectives:  Post-event Research, Refinement of plans, and Reinforcement.

First, make sure that you’re conducting Post-event Research on the fan experiences and future expectations.  You want to know what you did great so you can recognize staff. You want to know what was most appreciated by fans, so you can replicate that action.  And you want to know what needs to most be improved upon, because just like the COVID findings and recommendations seem to change every day or every week, the approach for events is going to slightly change every day or every week.

Also make sure that you understand their future expectations.  Identify whether their likelihood to return will go up or down based on whether the number of protocols go up or down.  Gauge their likelihood to return and their likelihood to bring more people to the next event.  Gauge their likelihood to be a repeat COVID Era customer.

Refinement relates to operations and communications.  Based on the feedback from the fans, make those adjustments in your operations.  If you were successful enough to find the sweet spot in your protocols, then you’re just tweaking your operations event-to-event.  In terms of communications, if you do a good job proactively engaging and educating fans and asking how they want to be communicated with, if you do a great job after the fact in your post-event research of asking them what communications were most useful, most used, and most effective, then refine your communication strategy with fans so that you can – again – continuously improve.

Reinforcement relates to changing perceptions.  Fans have the experience that they have, and down the road when they’re making their decisions about recommending your event to others, coming back themselves, spending more money with you, the memories that they have and the perceptions they have days weeks and months down the road are going to help them make those decisions.  You can impact those down-the-road perceptions.  Send them communications about their experience, reinforcing what a great experience that they had, what success that the event had in mitigating negative outcomes from a health perspective, sharing visuals of people having a great time, and highlighting fan comments from post-event surveys about how much they enjoyed their experience and how much the protocols oftentimes enhanced that overall experience.

Take these lessons learned that we’ve gleaned from our client work, and make sure that your COVID Era sporting events deliver a great experience your fans as well.


Is Your Fan Experience a Reason to Stay or Leave?

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports 1 Comment

It’s not about winning. It’s not about the more popular sport. It’s about convenience and interactions with the people around you….

In the article Why I Gave Up My NFL Season Tickets, a former Washington Redskins season ticket holder shares why he’s no longer an NFL season ticket holder (STH) and is now a STH of the Washington Wizards. In short, he wanted an easier commute and not to be exposed to out-of-control drunk fans.

I was once told by a major sports owner that the only thing that drives attendance is “Wins and Weather.” He was echoing what his marketing consultant had said many times to the press. But in the case of this fan and many others, it’s not just about “Wins and Weather,” it’s about the fan experience. It’s about whether the fun outweighs the effort, the hassle, the cost, and the time.

This is a short post because the article itself has many key points, but keep this point in mind as well. The team, its wins, its marketing, its sales pitches, its image can bring fans in, but that’s often not what keeps fans.

If you want to keep fans for the long-term, you need to start by getting to know them, developing a relationship with them, learning their renewal drivers, and helping their experience to change and improve as their lives change.

Make the fan experience a reason to stay…not a reason to leave.

Did you like this post? Here are other Sports-related posts:


Tell Fans to Sit Down?

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

Do you want raving fans…or not? Apparently the Sunderland soccer club wants raving fans, if they can rave while sitting down.

In the article Sunderland fans walk out in protest over season ticket holder suspended for standing, a group of fans walked out of the stadium in the first half of a recent match because a season ticket holder was suspended…for standing. There was a sign in the STH’s seat that read “This Season Card has been Suspended due to Persistent Standing.” Stop laughing…this really happened!

While I’ve never been to a European soccer match, I’ve been to enough professional sporting events in the U.S. to know that some people get aggravated when the fans in front of them stand. There’s usually some “nice” banter between the fans, and eventually the fan standing sits, or the sitting fan stands. That’s life; that’s how adults deal with issues; they “banter” and resolve. Now some sports fans aren’t truly “adults” (especially after several rounds of libations), but – again – that’s life.

What Sunderland got wrong is legislating something that’s basic, harmless, and can damper enthusiasm. In other words, their restrictions diminish passion. And if there’s one thing that players want from their home crowd, it’s passion. With the proliferation of “second screen” usage at games, fans are tending to look down at their smart phones more than ever, and it’s hard for a fan to maintain passion with a constant check of his phone. So teams/clubs instituting rules that restrict passion are restricting a big benefit to their club and a big part of the reason that fans go to games – for the live experience.

We have got to keep fans in the stadiums. We’ve got to keep passion in the stadiums. We’ve got to keep eyes focused on the field. We’ve got to encourage passion, energy, and – yes – standing.

So – if you work for a pro sports team/club – have a brainstorming session on how to create passion. Stand up the entire session, and you’ll be surprised at how much energy is in the room and how many ideas you can create.

Interested in improving your team’s customer service? See more at: http://cssamerica.com/csssport.htm