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Sports gets on the ball with CRM

1st Sep 2008
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It has been a busy time for sports fans, with the Olympics having provided an enthralling spectacle and the English Premier League football and rugby seasons getting into full swing.

But my interest was piqued in quite a different way this week with the news that Premiership football clubs have announced their participation in the upcoming National Customer Service Week.

Running from October 6-12, National Customer Service Week is designed to raise awareness of customer service and the vital role it plays within an organisation and to the economy at large. Now in its eighth year, it has seen the number of organisations participating in the event rocket from 20 in 2001 to thousands.

Amongst those taking part this year will be footballing giants Arsenal and Manchester United. Arsenal FC is said to be using National Customer Service Week as the launch pad for its new customer contact centre. Whilst Manchester United is expected to recognise and reward individuals who consistently demonstrate the club’s core values in the workplace.

It's an interesting trend for sure. The boards have recently touched upon the subject of CRM in sports (here and here). And it really seems this is a topic that is gaining traction in the sportsworld now.

At the 2007 European Customer Management World, management mastermind Ken Blanchard spoke about how he had worked with PETCO Park, the baseball stadium built for the San Diego Padres, to remake the image of the Park and better serve customers. Ultimately, they concluded that their mission should be to create good memories for their fans.

So let's hope that this focus will mean that the hallowed grounds of our teams will hold even greater memories for us in the future. Because we deserve it - according to a new survey the average cost of going to watch a Premier League match is £106.21, a 35% increase over two years.

But with the poll also revealing that 26% of fans would consider going to fewer games as a result of these increases, perhaps Arsenal and Manchester United's motivation is more self preservation than customer-centricity...

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