When execs don’t want to play ball

It was the 4th of July, and in America that typically means a brief vacation, a day in the sun, and possibly enjoying our national sport of baseball. This is exactly what Mike Ferguson intended to do when his family of five drove 200 miles to watch the Colorado Rockies play.

Unfortunately, his beloved Rockies faltered (again) by losing 9-0. Upon leaving the stadium, Mike was offered the opportunity to complete a fan survey about his experience. He indicated his dissatisfaction with the team’s performance, writing “…it's frustrating to spend the money and go see (Rockies) teams that are constantly struggling all the time."

Customers are receiving more opportunities to provide feedback than ever. Many assume their input goes into a black hole, and few expect to be contacted about their comments. Imagine Mike’s surprise when he received a reply telling him “If the product and experience are that bad - don't come!” Exponentially more surprising is this came directly from the Rockie’s owner.

A few things I take away from this bizarre customer feedback experience:

1)      A quality feedback program needs a process to close the loop with Detractors. This should be managed by trained employees with a customer-first attitude.

2)      Although the customer may not always be right, they think they are. Feedback should be considered from their point of view and weighted based on their alignment to your target market.

3)      Customers expect quality, even when the product is known to be of lesser value

  1. Note – as of July 4th, the Rockies had the fewest wins of any MLB team!

4)      If asking for feedback, be prepared to acknowledge the input and an appropriate response or action put in place.

5)      Company culture begins at the top, and the employees have a directive from the owner – in the Rockie’s case, that a meek or marginal product is what they offer and customers can take it or leave it.

6)      The impact of Social media cannot be ignored. This customer’s feedback experience and lack of empathy from the Rockie’s owner are making news across the country.

This story is still developing, and the Rockie’s owner has emailed an apology to this dissatisfied customer. Time will tell the impact to the company’s culture and attitude toward their customers and the product they are offering. 

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