CustomerIn an article published on February 25, 2013 in Quirks, Joe Langner, Executive Vice President at Sage North America, identified four ways to keep the focus on the customer in 2013:

1) Know your customers and adapt to them. If you don’t already know who your customers are, a great way to learn is through a market research study. At Turnkey, we work with numerous teams that conduct profile studies at the beginning of their seasons. Especially when conducted among season ticket holders, these studies help teams better understand who their most consistent customers are (demographics), and shed light on those customers’ expectations. For example, such a study may reveal that one season ticket holder may prefer to be contacted by his account representative on a weekly basis while another prefers to be contacted just twice a year. Knowing this upfront allows that account representative to adapt to each season ticket holder’s preference, and tailor the services provided to each fan individually.

2) Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Think about a full season ticket holder who purchased tickets for all 81 games of the baseball season. That’s a lot of games to attend from April to September. There are sure to be games that the season ticket holder will miss! To account for this, many teams now offer Ticket Exchange programs, through which season ticket holders can trade out unused game tickets for tickets to a future game. This is a great example of relating to the consumer, and how that resulted in putting in place a simple perk that added significant value for teams’ most loyal fans.

3) Give your customers more. Upon first reading this, dollar signs may be clouding your vision, but Langner isn’t referring only to money. Think about what you already have at your disposal that you can offer to your fans. What about an insider video interview with a player, or a behind-the-scenes video tour of the locker room? Can you present season ticket holders with giveaways left over from a game? This is an area where teams can be creative, offering more to customers and making them feel like VIPs. Without incurring a huge cost, these experiences can go a long way with a team’s fans.

4) Show your customers that their feedback really matters. On average, Turnkey’s clients conduct ten surveys per season. Those surveys touch thousands of fans. To keep these fans engaged in providing feedback, show them how their feedback is being implemented, either by sending a follow-up “Thank You” email to respondents who participated in a survey letting them know how their responses will be used, or by sending a yearly note to all fans letting them know what changes will be implemented in the upcoming season as a direct result of fan feedback. These follow-ups serve two purposes: first, they let fans know their opinions truly matter; secondly, they keep fans engaged, which makes those fans more likely to participate in future surveys.

These best practices can be applied with little to no cost, but can go a long way in keeping your fans happy.

Read Joe Langner’s full article, “Make 2013 the year of the customer”, here.