DowntonIn a blog published on February 7, 2013 on The Listening Post, Nancy Porte, VP of Customer Experience at Verint Systems, likened the service provided on the hit show Downton Abbey to three customer experience essentials:

Delivery of service
Anticipating the needs of the customer
Handling expectations

As Porte notes, the servants of the estate rarely wait around to be told what to do; rather, they’ve already anticipated the Lord’s next move and are busy preparing. Said Porte:

“The lady of the house gets up, eats breakfast in her room and then gets dressed. The staff is prepared with breakfast when she awakes, and they start preparing her clothing and accessories for the day, so it’s all ready to go when she is. If there’s an exception to the norm, like a cold, rainy day for example, more fires are built and raincoats sought out ahead of time.”

Obviously, the fact that Downton’s service staff lives in the same estate as their “customers” makes it easier for them to cater to those customers’ needs, as does the manageable servant-to-customer ratio. Given that those conditions aren’t the same for, say, account reps at professional teams, what lessons can team employees take from Downton as they look to improve their own service practices?

One of Porte’s suggestions that applies to the sports space is that service employees develop “personas” for different segments of customers.  This helps differentiate the needs of, say, the season ticket holder sitting in the 3rd row behind home plate who brings clients to the ball game for business development purposes vs. the die-hard season ticket holder who sits by himself in the upper deck at a cheaper price so he can attend all 81 games.

Research can help teams establish these personas.  For example, through the use of surveys such as a First Year Season Ticket Holder (STH) Expectation Survey or a STH Satisfaction Survey (examples provided on the Surveyor Help Desk*), teams can:

  • Create a profile of each individual season ticket holder (identifying their purpose for holding season tickets, who they attend games with, if they’ve got account partners, what their demographics are, etc.)
  • Identify awareness and perceived value of season ticket holder benefits
  • Understand expectations (on-field play, interactions with account representative, etc.)
  • Measure satisfaction/likelihood to renew

The resulting data can be used both to better cater to individuals AND to classify them into clusters or “buckets”, enabling account representatives to provide proactive, targeted, anticipatory service, “Downton Abbey Style”.

Nancy Porte’s full article, “Customer Experience, Downton Abbey Style”, can be found here.

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