Today I got to thinking about sport customer service and what that means – read on and let me know what you think in the comments below. When it comes to customer service, there are two main groups who handle most of that responsibility – your ticket office and advancement/donor staff (including sales/account executives and the office receptionist or administrative assistant) and game day/usher staff.
These are the people that answer your phones through the week and interact with your fans on game day. Depending on what sport you work in, this could be quite a few games and stretch a long time span. In both scenarios, sports with short and long seasons, the interactions and relationships developed are incredibly important even though the depth of those relationships may be different. The thing that really got me thinking, though, is the commitment of your staff to their job and the importance of their actions for your organization over the long term.
If you have a lot of turnover in those positions, you are losing out on an incredible amount information and insight into who your fans really and and what they really think about your brand and game experience. On the other hand, regardless of your turnover, these employees have the power to be more than just a voice on the other end of the phone line. The podcast I was listening to that inspired this blog post was an interview with a sport sales executive who mentioned that several of his personal friends were some of his past customers from a few other organizations for which he worked.
I thought about that a moment and realized how my own experience in customer service has resulted in the same sort of relationships and how the experience of our other staff is probably the same or similar. It’s easy to think of your customers as some random, ambiguous, unknown group of people who represent a set of demographic data points on a graph – but allow yourself to relax a little bit and get to know them as people. One of the things I find most enjoyable about being in this type of external role is that you really get to experience the entire cycle of life with them – births, jobs, marriages, deaths, and everything in between – just by nature of being in a position to pick up the phone and talk to people. People you share something with – sports and more specifically, your team.
Relationships are hard. People are difficult. But it’s the little things that count.