fan experience

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

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