NHL | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

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

When You Take Away a Takeaway

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports 1 Comment

I went to a Carolina Panthers game with a friend a couple weeks back, and he told me how he has a box with all the tickets to all the events he’s attended over the years. The problem is that nowadays, you don’t get physical tickets as often – you might print them off the web, but it’s just not the same.

We like the tangible, the feeling of holding something in our hands – as a sports fan, we like having the ticket, the game time guide, the souvenir cup – something tangible to take away from the experience. It’s a physical reminder of a memory.

So when sports fans have that takeaway taken away, sports organizations need to think about the value of that tangible reminder of the experience, the memory it represents, and the memorabilia aspect to it.

In the article The Caps season-ticket holder box, Washington Post blogger Dan Steinberg notes “Sports fans love those beautiful, fancy, full-color, heavy-stock tickets they used to receive. Many season-ticket holders described with joy their excitement upon receiving their tickets each winter, how they would immediately take them out, and stare at the pretty pictures, and hold that thick paper in their hands.”

He then addresses how one team – the Washington Capitals NHL team – has addressed that by sending out a STH package without the tickets. Check out the article to see their approach and the perks they provide.

Just as with any customers (sports fans or not), when you get ready to take something away (even if it’s simply a ticket), think about this from the customer’s perspective. How will they feel? How will they interpret the action? What will this say about your organization? Then determine how to communicate the decision and what else you might be able to provide in its place to lessen the loss.

Learn some Capital lessons from this takeaway being taken away.

Interested in improving your organization’s fan retention and revenue? See our other blog posts at: http://serviceadvice.cssamerica.com/category/sports/

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


When Leadership Creates an Avalanche of Troubles

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

The organization needs to improve its culture. Leadership was blind to the issues that were surrounding it and resting on their laurels.

It was obvious that the culture had changed for the worse, leadership was driving in the wrong direction, and the main way to change the culture was going to be to change the people at the top.

So is this a Fortune 500 company? Was it one of the industry leaders in high tech? Was it one of the old-time manufacturers trying to rebound?

No, these organizational issues that sound all too familiar in big business actually were presenting themselves in a professional hockey team.

We are not personally familiar with the Colorado Avalanche and all their issues, so we’re simply noting an article that had its own take on a need for organizational change (Colorado Avalanche: New Front Office Must Show New Direction Quickly). However, the lessons learned still apply. Leadership had issues with player relations, and that impacted fan relations as well as performance on the ice. So the new leadership will need to work to improve those relationships, but the article’s writer noted that the new Team President will “need more than just his word that he cares just as much for the Avalanche (as the local NBA franchise). Actions speak louder than word.”

For any kind of culture change to get everybody going in the same direction, not only does that Vision need to be articulated, but leadership also needs to exhibit the kind of behavior that is expected of others. What leadership in organizations says is only part of what moves it toward the Vision. Look at what leaders’ behaviors really tell you about them and the Vision. Is there alignment or disconnect? Do leaders do what they expect of others? Is there a common purpose and direction?

Before you take that slap shot, make sure you’re pointed at the goal.

Interested in improving team’s Fan Relations and Retention? See more at http://cssamerica.com/csssport.htm


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

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