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Customers Appreciate Your Kindness - 7/7/20


The 3rd grade teacher had a phrase she used with her students. She wanted them to be “kind-hearted.” It was a phrase she used over and over again; no matter what she taught, this was an overriding emphasis on how she would communicate with students and how she expected Read more

6 Common Sense Responses to Customer Service Encounters - 6/30/20


I’ve run into this personally and professionally, and it drives me batty! Sometimes there’s a lack of common sense in the customer service provided by companies. And often that lack of common sense is due to the preference of a business to provide service in a certain method, to Read more

Caring for Co-workers through COVID - 6/23/20


A recent Buffer.com study asked employees who are working remotely due to COVID-19, what was their greatest struggle. While there were many different responses, the Top 2 totaled 40% of the struggles identified - Loneliness and Collaboration/Effective Communication. When you hear something like this - that individuals working remotely are Read more

React, Reflect, Respond - 6/16/20


Sometimes you can’t help it. You gasp. You get upset. You get angry. You have this look of shock on your face. You say something defensive. You react. I love people who are in customer service roles. These are the folks that people say things to in the business world Read more

Serving the Technology-challenged Customer - 6/9/20


The IT helpdesk representative was on a call with a customer, and in trying to troubleshoot an issue, the employee said, “Let’s start by opening Windows.” The customer said “OK,” and there were 2 minutes of silence. The employee twice asked, “Are you still there?” with no response. Finally, Read more

Address the 4 P’s for a Customer-friendly COVID-19 Walk-in Experience


This is not about what is medically most effective – please see the CDC for those guidelines.  This is about how to help your customers have a great experience as an onsite visitor at your facility or storefront.  For a comprehensive approach to a customer-friendly COVID-19 experience, address the Read more

The Deeper Reason to Transform the Customer Experience - 6/2/20


Why are government offices putting up plexiglass between their staff and their customers?  Why is restaurant takeout being done in such a way that is contactless and yet still fosters engagement between the employee and customer?  Why have so many traditionally onsite businesses converted to delivery businesses? The answer is Read more

Motivating Yourself when Working Remotely - 5/26/20


For any of us who are working remotely, we are finding ourselves more and more having to be self-motivated. And while many people are naturally self-motivated, others need to have that manager who gives us the encouragement. Many of us need to have that ongoing informal dialogue with co-workers Read more

Defining Organizational Agility in a Time of Uncertainty


You may have heard references in management theory over the many decades about the importance of a business being an “Agile” organization, but oftentimes that is a word thrown out in generalities to illustrate vague points about how organizations should be managed and make decisions.  In this time of Read more

Change Management – Facts about Past Decisions Reduce Fear about Future Decisions


Change can result in fear.  Particularly where change is thrust upon someone very suddenly, it can create shock or disbelief.  Sometimes that change is not something an organization can plan for; it therefore cannot adequately prepare its employees for what’s ahead...at least initially. In this COVID world, Change Management is Read more

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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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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Learn about our CSS Sports services at: http://cssamerica.com/sports


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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