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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

To Assure, Ensure You Do This - 2/9/21


Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, Read more

Let Your Goal Determine Your Question - 2/2/21


In the early 2000s, when the economy hit the skids, companies realized that they couldn’t take their customers for granted.  They needed to ramp up customer service.  They needed to listen to the Voice of the Customer. During the Great Recession in the 2008-10 timeframe, much of the “new marketing Read more

Excellence is Not Perfection, and that’s OK - 1/26/21


Surveys have questions with ratings that range from Excellent to Poor.  We custom-design and deliver Service Excellence Training.  Tom Peters wrote the book “In Search of Excellence.” But how do you define Excellence, particularly in customer service?  Let’s start with what Excellence is not.  Excellence is not something reflected in Read more

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

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


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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Also, check out our CSS Sports Consulting, Training, and Research Page at: http://cssamerica.com/sports