The following is the first post of a three part series by Barbara Stevens, an experienced executive who has held management positions at professional sports teams and global franchises for over two decades.
Over the past 15+ years of working with the NBA, NFL and a global talent agency in mid to senior management positions, I’ve been tasked with specific sales goals as well as forecasting future revenue retention trends. I’ve had to create, develop, recruit, hire and train staff to retain clients. Across all these roles and responsibilities, there is one basic, fundamental core focus: making people feel good. Sales and customer service is about serving people, who wanted to be treated like decent humans. In my organizations, we think about serving people with C.A.R.E.:
We had some clients who had been attending games since they were young. When they had a problem, it usually had to do with access, recognition or simply feeling appreciated. To please these clients, we had to make note of their long-standing relationship with our organization and thank them with a meaningful gesture…even something as simple as inviting them to a 20 year member club.
Our more corporate customers had a different objective: entertaining client. Their happiness was directly related to their client’s happiness. So, to please them, we would upgrade their seats, send them some complimentary refreshments or unique service. Because they were different people with different needs, different solutions created the key outcome: overly happy customers.
I’ve found a few common key insights that are consistent across all industries:
The customer wants:
- To feel valued (by the organization)
- Receive value (from service/product)
- Have an easy and convenient experience overall
Sometimes the difference between a good company and a great company is the smallest amount of extra effort they, their employees, do for the customer. Having a dedicated service team – one on one customization to your customers - guarantees results as well as ROI. Everyone wants to have a “person” that they can call on when they need a favor, extension, etc. It makes your customer feel “special” like a VIP. Dedicated account managers assigned to specific accounts. Having a live person and a direct preferred method to contact that person. The account manager will respond within a 24-hour period even if there is no final answer or solution – as an acknowledgement to the customer. This builds trust. Being proactive rather than reactive.
Barbara Stevens has a 15+ year track record in engagement and loyalty marketing with previous executive positions with both NBA and NFL teams. To learn more about Barbara, see her LinkedIn profile here.