Winning Customers Back Through High-Touch, Red Sox Style
At the same time, I found a voicemail on my home phone (yes, I'm that generation; I still have one) telling me that the Red Sox would be calling me on that number to participate in this Season Ticket Holders-only opportunity for a live audio conference with Red Sox manager John Farrell before the kick-off of the second half of our season. Let me be clear here. After more than nine years on the waiting list, I finally got my "Tenth Man Pack," the lowest level of season tickets which gives you tickets to 10 games throughout the season in a specific location. Each year you can renew these season tickets, which is the biggest advantage. So this was not an exclusive offer for well-heeled people in the box seats and special club sections. This included those of us in the bleachers (second row bleachers, but bleachers nonetheless).
The original voicemail on my home phone told me they'd ping me on that line at the time of the call so I could be hooked right in or I could call a designated number with an ID code they supplied from any other line. I took the latter course after work and was able to listen in as John Farrell candidly and concisely described the first half of the season, thanked the fans for their support and laid out his thoughts about what was needed for success in the second half. Those of us on the phone could easily ask questions and many did, thanking the new manager for the amazing change in the team and its record, and asking about pitching and trade rumors and Farrell's view of instant replays to settle questionable plays. Farrell was straightforward and candid. That half-hour call brought a lot of voices to the table representing Red Sox Nation's hopes, fears and tentative goodwill about the new manager. After two seasons of crushing disappointment and frustration, it was a 30-minute verbal declaration that the most loyal fans matter, we're listening and we appreciate your support.
It was impressive and was a complete turnaround from the email sent to season ticket holders last year around this time that ignored how awful the team's performance was and encouraged people to come out to the park to see these nice players like "cheerful Mike Aviles and "friendly Cody Ross." Yes, they actually phrased it that way. I mentioned it in a blog post as a way not to connect with your fans.
This communications professional tips her PR cap to the Red Sox for this great demonstration of smart high-touch customer contact. I know they want to get back to sell-0uts at Fenway Park. I know they need to boost the NESN audience numbers to sell more advertising. Basically, I know I was being manipulated. But it worked. And it was smart customer communication. And it used the telephone, not a videochat or a podcast or a Twitter meetup. Sometimes the old ways are best when you take a look at your audience demographics and realize that's the best -- and most personal -- way to reach them and convince them. Well done, Red Sox and John Farrell! And a piece of advice: There is no better way to bring back The Nation than to keep winning.