sportsbiz | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

What’s the Good Word? - 9/21/21


Each one of us talks to co-workers and customers every day.  And when you’re speaking with someone, there are always good ways to respond to questions or issues.  But there are also better ways to respond.  Since you’re receiving weekly customer service tips, I know you are all about Read more

You can read me like a book - 9/14/21


Let’s say that I’m the customer, so it’s important to listen to what I say when we’re talking.  However, sometimes there are hidden words within the words.  I’m not talking about the tone of voice that I use as much as I’m talking about the words I choose. Sometimes you Read more

Show Your Confidence - 9/7/21


“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” To do something great, you need to have confidence in yourself.  That confidence often comes from positive experience, preparation, understanding what has happened and could happen, and having the knowledge and resources and training to address it when it does happen. If you Read more

Dear Customer, What do you expect? - 8/31/21


Studies show that 40% of customer dissatisfaction was because the company didn’t meet the customer’s expectations.  The company overpromised and under delivered, or the company didn’t even do the bare minimum of what the customer expected. To avoid dissatisfying your customer, meet or exceed their expectation.  Simple, right?  It only Read more

Listen Here…or Hear - 8/24/21


To listen or not to listen?  That is the question… Okay, so I’m no Shakespeare, but I like to quote the masters – Shakespeare, Senge, Seinfeld – whenever I get the chance. Today’s topic is listening versus hearing.  There are distinct differences.  It's important to go beyond hearing what somebody says Read more

Show Nothing but R-E-S-P-E-C-T - 8/17/21


With the new Aretha Franklin movie, Respect, coming out, it’s a great time to talk about Respect in customer service.  Respect is a word, a concept, an experience that’s brought up a lot in customer service, and it’s usually discussed when someone has been disrespected, Respect is part of Read more

It Matters How They Heard About You - 8/10/21


In the 1,000+ surveys that CSS has conducted over the past 20 years, it’s interesting to read how our clients’ customers heard about them.  This question is typically asked of first-time customers, and it’s especially helpful for those customers because you don’t typically have a lot of information on Read more

Diss the Dissatisfiers - 8/3/21


Do people still talk about “being dissed?”  When I was growing up, we used to talk about how someone may get dissed by others – short for disrespected; you could also define “diss” as holding in contempt.  I understood the term “diss” and used the term, at times, to Read more

Keep it Simple in Complex Situations - 7/27/21


Life involves making a series of decisions, and whenever serving customers or dealing with difficult issues, those decisions can become more challenging. Part of what makes decisions difficult is that there are so many factors to consider:  People. Policies. Procedures. Places. Products. Processes. Personalities. Who are the people involved?  What policies Read more

Customer Service Experts have a Presence - 7/20/21


Standouts in the sports, entertainment, business, and political fields are sometimes said to have “an air about them.”  Unfortunately, that definition of air sometimes is perceived as an air of superiority or an air of condescension or something that doesn’t always have the most positive connotations. Well, the greats in 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.

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


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.

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

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


Ensure Your Voice of the Fan Approach Includes These Key Points

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

Blog 5-1-14Voice of the Fan – we use that phrase with many of our clients, but to clarify its meaning, sometimes it helps to look at examples.

The University of Florida’s “University Athletic Association” (UAA) is forming a fan advisory group that will provide feedback on how to improve the fan experience at UF football games, in particular. According to the article UAA to improve gameday experience through new fan advisory council, the advisory group “will select representatives from several season-ticket-holder demographics, including current students and boosters…The issue that needs to be discussed is how we can help students come in, but at the same time help people who have been season ticket holders for 40 years still have a good time at the game.”

These comments go to the heart of why a Voice of the Fan strategy is so important in sports. We can’t make the assumption that all fans are the same. Conversely, we can’t make the assumption that the long-time fans don’t matter – which often turns out to be a concern in the heavily marketing/sales-oriented world of sports.

We have to develop a strategy of dialogue with our fan base, that not only includes the surveys and 1-on-1 discussions with staff, but it also includes the sit-down discussions that get you depth on issues, creativity on solutions, and the fan’s perspective on potential changes being considered for the future.

Develop a Voice of the Fan approach that has at least these characteristics:

  • Includes a quantifiable component to evaluate multiple aspects of the fan experience, preferences, renewal drivers, etc.
  • Includes trended data through ongoing (including real-time) research or point-in-time annualized surveys.
  • Includes Focus Groups for deep dives on specific issues or about consideration of future changes/improvements.
  • Includes Advisory Boards that provide some consistent feedback mechanism as ideas are developed, refined, and moved toward implementation.
  • Crosses all key demographics or fan types.
  • Has predictive characteristics about retention/growth likelihood.
  • Uses multiple platforms (face-to-face, web, social media, e-mail, telephone, etc.) to ensure breadth of response.
  • Results in actionable information.
  • Shares back with fans the results and actions taken.

When you’re thinking about an advisory board, focus group, survey, or other research method, first make sure it’s getting at the voice of your true fans. Create a strategic approach to listening to and utilizing the Voice of the Fan.

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

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