A Customer Service Lesson from the Worst Play in the History of Football

A Customer Service Lesson from the Worst Play in the History of Football

Some are calling it the “worst play in the history of Football.

But true fans, real fans, Evergreen fans might disagree.

In sports, we can learn a lot about customer loyalty and customer service. In fact, sports affinity and the love for a team is one of my favorite examples of the phrase, “true loyal fans.”

In sports, the love and dedication for a team are often passed down from generation to generation. Tickets, parking spaces, and box seats are often willed to the next of kin.

The Green Bay Packers maintain a legendary waiting list for season tickets – all so you can sit in a cold stadium with a giant block of cheese on your head!

My good friend, author, and colleague Dan Weedin just gave a touching eulogy to honor the passing of his mother who also happened to be a rabid Seahawks fan. No matter how sick or ill she became, she always needed to know what was happening with her team.

That love for the Seahawks created a strong bond shared between a Mother and her Son.

When I asked Dan about the play, he told me that “while I’m unhappy with the call, I understood why they did it. It’s heartbreaking and there’s a lot of emotion here but we’ll be back next year!”

Loyal customers forgive and forget. They move on. They typically brush off a bad experience, or something that wasn’t up to par, simply as an anomaly.

As I spent time thinking about Dan’s comments, it became apparent there are a few power customer service lessons to be learned here:

Lesson One: If they’re complaining about the small stuff you’ve still got work to do.

I wrote about this in Evergreen when I talked about a toy company.

In that example, the “less loyal” customers consistently complained about the product’s quality, the toy parts, and the fact that the toy was built in China. The loyal customers never mentioned anything about product quality because they were too captivated and emotionally connected to the brand and everything else the company represented.

Are your customers forgiving of the small things?

Things like…

Products that are out of stock…
Orders that ship late or take too long to arrive…
The odd billing mistake…

Do your best customers brush off the odd issue as an anomaly or do they head running for the hills?

Lesson Two: Utilize your strengths.

Some consider Marshawn Lynch the best running back in the NFL. In a time of dire need, the play went elsewhere.

Here’s how I see it:

If there’s a key client having an issue or a big deal is about to fall through, do you give the ball to the best player on the team, or is now the time to try something new?

Lesson Three: Take responsibility for your mistakes.

When Pete Carroll takes responsibility for the final call, fans will vehemently disagree, but at least they’ll have heard it from the top.

How often are your customers being sent on their way without any explanation? If your team screws up, it’s often up to you to step in and take responsibility.

And sometimes, it’s the only Hail Mary you’ve got left.