Steve 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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