In talking with a friend in the business the other day, she told me about an experience in getting (or not getting) an opening day group that they traditionally bought. Her friend had opted to not get the traditional opening day group, so she called and asked about having one. She was told she could not unless she had a group for 2 years prior. She asked what she could do to earn the right to get a group and was told that she would never have a group on opening day. Period. Imagine her reaction.
All too often customers (season, group, premium, and yes – even corporate) tell me about experiences they have had and why they will not go back. The sad thing is, the majority of these experiences could have been eliminated with a little thought, time and effort. How can we improve?
Be there. Nothing makes someone who has spent money with you feel less valued than calls or actions returned days after requested. Season or group client has a question and you call them 72 hours later. Premium client has a need for a game that night and you don’t return the call until they’ve already left for the game. Corporate client has changes they want made to their partnership and it takes a week to have an answer. Nothing should take that much time. Let me repeat…NOTHING should take that much time. From you working with the client to the marketing, communications, operations, food and beverage etc. service you may be connecting with to make things happen, nothing is more important than getting that client’s question or needs taken care of. Every department should have ‘client needs’ fit into their day a few times a day…a half hour 3 times a day to take care of requests can make the difference between keeping clients and starting over.
Be honest…right from the start. I have heard many conversations in which we know the client will not be happy with our answer so we simply don’t give it. Instead, we say we’re still working on it. What is going to change in the next 24 hours other than the fact you are putting off the inevitable? It’s not always easy being honest…but it is putting the customer first. How many times have we screwed up and instead attempted to put the blame on another department, a boss, etc? Take ownership. Be honest. No matter the situation, honesty truly is the best policy.
Be appreciative. Go to bat for them. Jump through hoops to help them. Show your appreciation in your everyday actions. Create a wow moment for them. Do something special for they or their family. Never take them for granted. Let them know that you appreciate the investment they have made in the team and you…and you will not disappoint.
Be proactive. Anticipate. Have a group? Prior to their outing suggest where to park, which gate to enter, where the restrooms and food stations are near their seats, etc. Have season? Let them know the best times to see warmups, when new merch is coming in, special food offerings, or give them special tidbits about the team. Premium? Know in advance the clients using the premium seating for that night and if they are people that need extra attention to make the company look good. Corporate? Know monthly (not at the end of the year) if their partnership is having the desired effect…if not, take care of it asap so that the needs can be met.
Be looking out for your client’s best interests. Whether upgrading, downgrading, adding on or changing seats, creating a better opportunity for your premium client or working with your corporate partner to change their thought process for more success, never use what you want to sell as a deciding factor but what is best for them. Our clients have long memories. They may forget their tickets sometimes, they may forget what benefits they got, but they will never forget if you treated them with their best interests in mind.
I know this all sound simple and even ‘why has she bothered to write this?’, but ask yourself – do you follow these 5 simple guidelines daily in interactions with all of your clients? How often do we know that ‘we’ve got them’ and we put them to the bottom of our list in our daily activities?
Every single day we should ask ourselves: how can I make my clients’ experiences better? How can I better service them? How can I take care of things before they become an issue? Then act on them. You will be pleasantly surprised when they remain loyal because of your service.
Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating, President/Owner
Meet with me at this year’s ALSD conference in June to be held in Atlanta June 24-27. Learn, network, share ideas, and make new friends! https://alsd.com/content/2018-alsd-conference-and-tradeshow