The companies highlighted throughout this chapter have used sports as a backdrop to market their products and services; some have succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations, and others have failed. Those in the sports marketing Hall of Fame, including Miller, Coke, Apple, Gatorade, and certainly MasterCard, understand the following:
Once businesses and organizations successfully identify and market to their customers, attention must be turned to providing stellar customer service. All the fancy advertising, market research, and integrated marketing efforts will be severely compromised if newly gained customers are not provided with adequate customer service.
Chapter 3. Customer Service
The Point: Businesses and organizations of all sizes often overlook the importance of delivering great customer service. In today's business world, being able to truly serve those on the other side of the counter is often the major differentiator. However, poor customer service remains as prevalent an issue in big-time sports as it does in any other industry and has been exacerbated by the recent trend of the white-collarization of sports.
Certain sports leagues, especially Minor League Baseball, serve to remind us of the positive impact great customer service can have on an organization's bottom line. The minor leagues remind us that businesses are built one customer at a time and that catering to your customer's wants and needs—however large or small—is more important than ever. Minor League Baseball officials also realize that loyal customers are worth every penny it takes to keep them and that providing customer service is everyone's responsibility, regardless of where they are on the corporate ladder.