Preparing and Planning During Uncertain Times
The sports industry is where most of us look to for a sense of comfort or distraction from our daily life. As we move through these uncertain times, especially now more than ever, we need our teams to help us overcome the stresses and fear of the unknown.
Like you, I have not encountered these specific circumstances; however, I can share past situations that were unexpected and hit us hard from a business operation stand-point – natural disasters and work stoppage.
As leaders, we must create a caring, honest and authentic place for our employees and customers. These means, taking care of both, and understanding their needs in a challenging and fearful time.
Below are tips that will keep you on track for the “back to business” stage. They will also allow you to engage, grow and keep your teams together and connected while apart.
Be safe, and take care of each other,
A great employee experience leads to a great customer experience!
Customer Service Tips
Learn the 4 areas to focus on to ensure you are delivering winning service when things are stressful, uncertain and we don’t have concrete information on when games will be taking place.
3 THINGS TO FOCUS ON DURING THE “OFF-SEASON”
Connect with your teams daily and weekly
Virtual coffee – check in with one-on-one meetings.
Get your employees together weekly via video so you can see each other- laugh, smile, cry, and give a virtual hug…we still need to see one another!
Utilization of data and analytics to drive business decisions in the future.
Review current processes and policies and look for ways to continuously improve the customer experience.
Look at customer surveys - "listen" to your customers and find ways to improve from their perspective.
Create an action plan for the next 30 days for your employees
Assign specific areas to employees and have them collaborate and meet virtually.
Have employees create a timeline so you can implement new ideas and suggestions when you are "back to business."
5 LESSONS LEARNED
1. Map out a 60-day communication plan, both from a business level and customer perspective
Customers want to hear from you, ensure you are communicating what is happening and allow them to understand the new office hours or closures, phone and email hours
Be authentic in your communication! I have seen too may emails in my inbox that are carbon copies of the next one – don’t just “check the box” on communication
Your plan should be complete and ready for when you are closing in on the back to business stage. 1) Write the copy 2) Create the images for emails 3) Segment the email lists 4) Coordinate your timeline with all communication channels – social, email, mailings, radio, ads etc.
2. Ask employees to put themselves in the shoes of the customer and think about what customers may be concerned with.
As this situation is changing daily, have daily email recap of things that are being asked from customers or what their main concerns are.
3. Develop a weekly communication plan from an engagement and account/customer management standpoint to address questions and concerns.
Based on employee feedback, answers questions in weekly emails, while also adding in team and player content to engage fans.
4. Create a FAQ website specifically for this situation
Have a home base for all information so customers have a place to go 24/7 for facts and information.
As the situation changes, make updating this website priority!
5. Your customers want to hear from you!
Get your touchpoint plan together and capitalize on calling and asking your customers if they are ok and build your relationship in a positive way. (also see tips on engaging with fans)
ENGAGING WITH FANS DURING DIFFICULT TIMES: 3 WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR FANS
1. Service Mindset: Never Say No, Always Give Options!
Understand customer needs - don’t enforce processes, policies or payment plan/renewal policies.
Create options that are personalized to each customer when possible.
2. Create team and player content to keep fans entertained, excited and looking forward to the season…sports is a source of “relief” from the everyday and customers need it more than ever now!
Pull from past great moments, give fans insights on new players, allow access to download wallpaper and team/player photos
Create a webinar with coaches, GM or a player where fans can submit questions...get interactive!
3. Create a fan/customer contests to engagement with your customers. Be a source of fun and comfort.
Get your team together for ideas to create customer interaction and build a community of support.
Brainstorming these ideas are also fun for employees.