Football is nothing without the fans – these few words, as divisive as football can be, bind many, if not all, clubs that represent the nation’s favourite sport.
For years, football’s success was driven by the passion and proximity of their fan base. Over time, football teams’ borders have been broken down with supporters from different towns and cities, right across the globe. Only 40% of fans choose their favourite team based on the location of their hometown (source). Going for glory is often the attraction, so clubs need to be innovative in order to keep a sustainable business.
Motivating fans to come back and support their team, for what could be a lifetime, as well as reaching out to new fans, challenges clubs to engage with their fans. A recent study by the Football Supports’ Federation has found that only 32% of fans feel their club cares about them and their views.
Gaining feedback from fans can provide a club with unrivalled insight that can help understand how to turn occasional fans into loyal ones, who even turn up to show support at away games.
Exceeding fans’ off pitch expectations
Clubs are driving new and essential initiatives to get fans to tell them what they want. For example, asking about the experience of certain “high ticket” items such as match day hospitality customers is a great way to show that the club has a vested interest in ensuring it’s the best day possible.
Acting quickly on any critical feedback such as “bring back the half time meal deal” will not only give fans the feeling that they’re giving feedback but more importantly, that they’re being heard.
While feedback can be gathered in various ways, certain variables can drastically affect uptake from recipients:
- Timing – sending surveys within 24 hours of an event or interaction ensures that the transactions will still be fresh in customers’ minds and increases the chances of a response (source: Oracle)
- Method of delivery – 79% of sports fans are using mobile.
- Acting on and telling customers what’s changed – 74% of consumers say they have spent more with a company because of a history of positive customer service experiences. (source: Oracle)
Delivering a great match day experience (scoreline permitting) is vital when growing and progressing fans investment on match day – while the scoreline can’t necessarily be controlled, your interactions can.
Guiding supporters from becoming a one-off ticket buyer to a season ticket owner, and potentially a hospitality customer, depends on their experience along that journey.
Fans have always been a part of sports. But to win big, venues and teams have to make their supporters their priority.