MLS | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

The Proven Value in What You Do - 4/9/24


Forbes wrote an article last year based on a compilation of the results of research on customer service and the customer experience; it was titled:  100 Customer Experience Stats For 2023. In reading the article, you’ll note that many of these key research findings are about you – the value Read more

A Tale of Two Texts - 4/2/24


Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration. She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service - 3/26/24


I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and Read more

The Miracle of an Apology - 3/19/24


Unfortunate but true story… The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about Read more

It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait - 3/12/24


Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax Read more

Lessons from the Greats - 3/5/24


I was recently facilitating a workshop on the customer experience, and I made the point that it’s usually beneficial to look at your personal life for great experiences; identify what really resonates with you in a positive way in order to uncover ideas to improve your own customer service. So, Read more

The Empathy Roadmap - 2/27/24


For some people, empathy comes naturally.  There’s an innate desire to learn about the other person and to sincerely convey that sense of interest and caring.  But for many of us, sometimes it helps to have a communication plan.  It helps to know what to do in order to Read more

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24


Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24


We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered Read more

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


What’s Truly Unique for Fans in the Seats

Posted on in Business Advice, Carolinas, Sports Please leave a comment

I’ve been fortunate to have been a season ticket holder for a professional football team for 15+ years, so when my company consults with pro sports teams on season ticket holder (STH) retention and fan relations, I can talk as a strategist and researcher or…as a fan.

And I love talking as a fan. One key point that those in the sports industry need to remember is that the game day experience is – to many fans – far beyond what the smart phone experience or television experience could ever become.

As a fan, when I go to the game, there are certain aspects of the experience that I could never get on TV. I feel and am a part of the emotion of 70,000+ people (FYI – I’m a Carolina Panther STH). And even when that emotion is negative, it’s raw emotion, at times it’s yelling, at times it’s tense silence – but it’s almost always a roller coaster of emotion for 3+ hours.

And unlike the fan at home, if I want to watch a defensive end for a couple plays, I can focus just on him. If I see a wide receiver wide open 20 yards downfield, I can yell “He’s open! He’s open!” at the same time that a TV watcher is being shown the quarterback standing in the backfield. I can think to myself – “that pass is going to be intercepted” before the TV cameraman even focuses on the receiver and cornerback.

You see, I can see what I want to see. It’s in my hands (and my eyes) to focus on anything going on, whether in the field of play, on the sidelines, or in the stands. The customer has the power – a power that cannot be duplicated by television.

Television is a wonderful thing and is constantly expanding its capabilities, but these expansions of capabilities erode the gap between the game day experience and the home experience.

So to maintain gate receipts, STH retention, and enthusiasm for attending the games, game day professionals and pro sports teams need to address this key point – we need to leverage, improve, and market the two greatest aspects of being at the games: (1) Being a part of the experience with tens of thousands of other fans, and (2) Controlling one’s own perspective on the event.

To keep fans coming to the games, enhance the “group experience,” and find new ways to help fans gain more from their unique view of the event.

Interested in improving your team or club’s fan relations? See more at our new website! http://cssamerica.com/csssport.htm

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/


ESPN Study – Rankings for Fan Relations – What it gets wrong

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

ESPN’s annual Ultimate Team Rankings study includes a Fan Relations component. ESPN has fans rate their team’s Fan Relations based on this definition: Openness and consideration toward fans by players, coaches and management. While ESPN is right in that some of general Fan Relations is impacted by the player/coaches/management (and – these days – the replacement referees), there’s so much more than these groups and their “openness and consideration” that truly impacts relationships with fans.

We’ve worked with clients in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLS among other leagues, and typically the work is focused on Fan Relations. But the people driving much of Fan Relations are on the business operations side. They’re the ones who sell, service season ticket holder (STH) accounts. They’re the ones who field issues from those generating the majority of the ticket revenue annually. They’re the ones whose impact is significant on the STHs, in particular. They are the ones who study the concerns, get down to the root causes, and identify solutions in tickets, benefits, game day operations, game entertainment, STH events, and more operational services. In other words, these staff drive much of the true relationships with the teams.

When you study Fan Relations, you have to study what truly drives retention and renewals, what truly builds relationships, what truly resolves issues. So you have to have fans evaluate these services and staff.

ESPN provides a lot of great research, but when it comes to gauging Fan Relations, they have to do a better job of targeting STHs and ensure they study what drives revenue and renewals.

Interested in improving your sport’s team Fan Relations? See more at our new website! http://cssamerica.com/csssport.htm

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/