Friday, March 25, 2011

Do you want great customer service from the Dodgers?

Great article out of Cincinnati on the Reds and their willingness to provide great customer service to the fans.

From Laura Baverman of {linked here}

Smile. Be engaging. Pick up trash. Report spills. Never say, “I don’t know.” Always say, “Let me help.” Those may seem like basic goals, but Cincinnati Reds officials say great customer service is as important as scoring runs on the field in 2011. Happy fans can equal greater loyalty to the team, more tickets sold and more revenue to pump back into the payroll.

Isn't that what they are suppose to do in the first place? There are many great ushers at Dodger Stadium but there are also a few that make you feel unwelcome. Also, why is it that once you are about to enter the park, you are being yelled by a big security guard to open your bags? He can't tone down his voice and ask politely?

Fans are at fault too because they are not ready to get in. They barely open the bags when you are being searched by a security guard. I'm always ready. I'll have my backpack open. Ready to be searched.

More from the article -

And so more than 2,200 Reds employees – from ushers and grounds crew to mascots and players’ nannies – are spending time in March learning the “Reds Way,” which involves five standards of service: being courteous and efficient, keeping the ball park safe and clean, and making a connection with fans. 

“This culture we’re trying to grow through customer service, we want it in every nook and cranny throughout the ballpark,” Reds client service manager Nancy Bloss said during a recent Reds Way training session.

Great idea! Maybe the Dodgers should do this. The problem is not really with the ushers but the employees that charge you the hot dog. Why does it take an hour to get your food? And when you do get it, sometimes you are being treated as if you're getting food from a prison.

Also, why is it that we have 90 year old  employees working? I love old people. I do. My dad is old. But damn, it takes you a couple of minutes to give me my change when it should only take you five seconds to give me a quarter back.

And I understand that some fans are not even ready when they reach the counter. I'm ready. I got my money out. I know what I'm going to get. I hate it when the fan in front of me says "Let me see...."

What do you mean "Let me see"? You should know by now what you want!

Like I said, most ushers are great. But there are a few where they ruin the experience. Let's say I'm sitting in field level an hour before game. I'm watching batting practice. Why does a usher ask me for my ticket? Yes, those are my seats and I'm watching batting practice. Quit bothering me. I have to take out my tickets and show it to him. They don't even ask nicely. They just say "Let me see your ticket". And then when you show them the ticket, they smile and say "Good, have a great night".

Then five minutes later, a different usher will ask me the same thing. Seriously? I'll just tape the damn ticket to my shirt.

I've been to different stadiums and it always amazes me that Dodger Stadium is different. I didn't see any problems at Fenway Park when I made the trip to Boston last year. I got my food quick. The employees were awesome. Heck, a usher got a towel and cleaned my wet seat! {linked here}

You might be thinking that Fenway Park is small and that's why it's different. Fine. How about Yankee Stadium? The place is huge and waiting in line for food wasn't that bad. {linked here}

I know not all employees are at fault. Certain fans act like idiots. I understand. That's why I hate the term "A customer is always right".

No. That's not true. Trust me. It's not true. My parents have their own business and I have seen this many times. 99% of customers are wrong. So I'm not asking the Dodgers to treat the fans like they deserve everything. All I'm asking is for a little courtesy and quicker service.


“The thought had always been that fan experience really depends on what happens on the field,” said Rob George, a Hartford, Conn., customer service consultant who has worked with the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees. But teams have started to recognize they can control the fan experience in the stadium off the field, which helps drive loyalty and season ticket sales, he said.

“We really recognize the precious commodity of people’s time,” said Karen Forgus, the Reds’ senior vice president of business operations. “If they give it to us, we want to make it worthwhile.”

I agree with this. And I know most Dodger fans will not agree with this. I go to Dodger Stadium to have a great time. The game itself is a bonus. If the Dodgers win then that's great but if they lose I will not go home and be mad. If I had a great time at the park then all is good. If a player down in Autograph Alley took the time to chat for a few seconds then that's great. If the service to order food was quick, then that's great. If the employees treat me nice and seem to be happy, then that's great.

But that's just me....

The rest....

Employees are to greet fans with enthusiasm, engage them in conversation and never be stumped by a question or request. In addition to attending an hour-long session before the season starts, each employee receives a game-day handbook with 18 pages of Reds Way content.

The Reds reward employees for good customer service; hundreds of gift cards ranging from $5 to $15 were distributed in 2010. Warman and Bloss hope to double or triple that number this year, and add major prizes such as flat screen televisions and trips to 2012 spring training. They’ve signed on 40 season ticket holders to help spot Reds staff doing good work.

I know L.A. is a different culture. A different fan base than in Cincinnati. But showing enthusiasm shouldn't just be a Reds way.

I'll leave you with this great picture. This Angels usher is not too happy. Read the story if you don't remember what happened here. {linked here}


Ben G said...

The bathrooms anywhere but Field and Loge, gross. half the employees are total dicks. I understand not being able to hang out on club level but why can't I go down to field level to hit up Canters without field level tickets? I can go anywhere I want at any time at AT&T or Petco park. Dodger stadium is beautiful and historic but I've been treated way better at other ballparks by employees and that was while wearing Dodger gear.

NSBZero said...

It used to be different at Dodger Stadium. Do you remember, Roberto? That's what makes it all the more heartbreaking to read this post(not your fault, you're just the messenger).

The Reds are doing what the Dodgers USED to do. The Dodgers USED to be different, in a good way.

Our brand of baseball was pristine blue, an outfield wall untouched except for the white measurement numbers. Smiling ushers in straw hats whose concern was making sure you had a good time, and would hope you come back.

And they were invested in your continued service, because the most expensive ticket in the house (besides the dugout seats and club section) were $11. That won't even get your car parked today, and THIS WASN'T EVEN 15 YEARS AGO!!!

And Dodger Dogs were the pride of Major League Baseball, not a soggy bunned shell of itself.

Fans attitudes have changed, sure, just as society has gotten angrier in that decade-and-a-half. But with the Dodgers treating their fans like cattle, they can't be surprised at all the bulls in the china shop.

bbcardz said...

Roberto, as far as why it takes so long to be served in the concessions line, you hit the nail on the head when you pointed out that customers are not ready. I've seen it from the other side of the counter how many customers somehow fail to see the menuboard, ask how much nachos are, take a while to decide what they want, change their mind when the food is in front of them, don't have their money/plastic ready and then find they don't have enough to pay--ugh! And many kids are worse! That's why I've always had my kids know what they want before they get to the front of the line. As customers, our food transactions were always smooth and quick.

The concessions company does try to promote "speed of service" but unfortunately neither employees nor customers are perfect. But both do have room for improvement.