Once or twice a year I go with friends to a casino to spend my $20, then people watch. Attending the Hard Rock Rocksino in CLE with friends during a recent visit to OH, I quickly lost my $20, but gained so much more in the ‘how’ to service your very best clients…season ticket holders, premium, and corporate, and turn our fans into our best clients.
Training in service to all who ‘touch’ a customer is imperative, yet how often do we reenforce it or encourage new ideas? How often have you stood and watched people entering your facility with security giving a grunt or comment, no smile? How often have you watched your food service people rush around and never offer a thank you or offer a smile? How often do ushers talk among themselves not acknowledging the client? Do you offer your best clients courtside, along the ice, or field box first ten rows behind the plate white glove service throughout the game…let alone a smile? If you have a service department, have you made them feel their value to a customer or do you simply want them to renew and answer questions ? Here’s what I experienced:
Upon entering, a welcome that made me feel that I was the only person there. This started with the security guard. “How is your day going? Hope you are lucky today, and if not, then just have a great day out and enjoy yourself.” Knowing I wouldn’t be lucky on $20, I opted for the great day out to enjoy myself and we laughed together. A great start. He spoke TO ME with a smile. I was welcomed. How about our facilities? Is there a welcome or is it a job? Are our fans, especially our best fans, made to feel how very grateful we are for spending their money with us upon entering, or is the first touch point disgruntled security and turnstile people?
Assistance at the buffet to help us save the most money possible. Note I didn’t say SPEND the most money but rather SAVE the most money. I was in shock as she took her time and took friends cards to see if they had discounts or points that could even discount more. Do we work with our foodservice people to bundle the food so as to offer a savings to our best people? Do they feel gouged or appreciated because they are our best people? Have we thought of season ticket holders having a value placed on their ticket in which it would be a 10% discount if they purchased ‘packagesp such as a hot dog or burger, fries and large drink? What have we done to show them they are special?
Offering tasty beverages so you don’t have to get up. Of course they want you to stay at the machines, but they routinely come around to offer beverages. Many of our sports facilities used to have top notch service to those seated along the ice, courtside and first 10 rows field box. Somewhere along the way, many teams stopped it. Think about it…in today’s digital world, could we not just have them text a number with their order and seat number, including their card number? Could it not be served? What could we do to show them…you have purchased our very best seats…we WANT you to experience every moment and we will help you.
Guest service members that smile, chat and take their time to help you. We may think we do a great job, but under pressure, has anyone observed their guest service staff in action? The line was a mile long, but that didn’t matter…they handled each of us quickly yet made to feel they had all the time in the world to help us. And they smiled the whole time! As my guy said, ‘we just want you to have the best possible experience, so let’s figure out how I can best help you.’ Saying it and DOING it is the key. Do we?
Proactive outreach. “You look confused…how can I help you?” I couldn’t remember which door I had entered that we would meet at, and instead of waiting for me to find someone to help (or just scream!), they were proactive. Instead of being in an office or waiting for someone to come up, how often are we proactive and helpful? Do we even encourage it?
The same great attitude when leaving. “So it was a GREAT day, right?” I had to smile and laugh…I lost $20 but yes, it WAS a great day. And they made it so.
Service is often the one area most overlooked and yet needed so badly. As sales reps, we don’t want to sell that same seat over and over every year. We have sold it, we want our client to get top notch service and yet we put a retention department together without giving them tools in their toolbox to enhance the customer experience or somehow skip the training for the people who work game day or offer the same training we’ve had for 20 years. We can retain our current customers and gain a whole lot more in our most prestigous areas with a little training, a little time, and a lot of understanding. Casino’s,(especially the Hard Rock Rocksino in CLE), work hard to train, help their staff understand the importance, and truly roll out the red carpet to all who enter.
Reenergizing is key. Smiling every day is not always easy but when we are reminded of the why we do what we do and our own staff feels valued it certainly spills over to our best clients. Our service departments have to know that they have, in their hands, the power to make or break every relationship…they are one of our most valuable assets to the organization. Do we treat them as such and let them know this or just tell them to take care of client needs? As leaders, this is an area we need to consider deeply prior to the start of each season.
Reenergize our service teams and you will be reenergizing our most valuable clients…and adding more on!
Kathy Burrows, CEO, Sold Out Seating (SOS)
For sports sales / leadership training, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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