We all know the shock result from the EURO’s (I won’t repeat it because it’s still too raw), and the sports industry is full of examples through history where huge teams have been beaten by minnows. Think Barnsley winning 2-1 versus Liverpool in the ‘08 FA Cup 5th Round, or Arsenal losing in the Carling Cup final to Birmingham.
How clubs (and national teams) react to these upsets is paramount to future success, and we at Winners believe a sure fire way to push on after an upset is using CRM for contextual, direct communication.
Engagement in all sports, particularly in football, is all about creating a mutually beneficial, long lasting connection with fans. The days when clubs and sports organisations focused solely on increasing the number of fans they could communicate with are gone, and now clubs are starting to realise that it doesn’t matter how many fans they have; without being engaging and relevant they won’t create real relationships – it will all be superficial. And football without engaged fans isn’t football!
The sport industry has an advantage over many other industries in that fans have an inbuilt loyalty that has been strengthened through years of support. But, the challenge the sports industry faces is keeping the attraction alive in a world where budgets have tightened, prices have increased and TV footage has improved.
If fan passion isn’t directed correctly, and instead it’s taken for granted, then fans can very quickly decide to turn, and voice their anger by simply not spending at the club/stadium. However, if fans are nurtured and thanked for their support, then they are much more likely to accept a one-off result or a lull in performance and return to cheer on the team.
CRM is vital whether your team is winning or losing, but it’s especially important when there is a huge upset as this is when emotions are at their highest. You can equate it to a bad experience at a restaurant: if you have a terrible meal at a fancy restaurant after expecting the best, and don’t even get a wave goodbye as you walk out, how likely is it you will return? Pretty slim! But, if the owner of the restaurant greets you by the door, listens to your complaints, provides an explanation for the poor service and asks you to give him another chance, you will leave much happier and consider returning.
CRM allows you to contact your fans directly in a relevant manner – getting the right message to the rights fans at the right time – be it via SMS text, direct email or otherwise – and it is through these channels that rights holders can communicate their gratitude to fans for their support, win or lose, and that it is their support that will be vital to recover in future matches. There’s no reason to hide away from poor on-pitch performance – accept it, communicate that things will improve, and thank the fans!
Using CRM allows rights holders to manoeuvre the communication forward. Ignoring results, or not responding directly to the on-pitch performance, will only leave fans angry and perhaps more reluctant to return.