Customer reviews: what can sports organisations learn from them to improve fan relations?

Customer reviews: what can sports organisations learn from them to improve fan relations?

Losing against the rival club, a big win against the leader: the feelings of the spectators and supporters that come to your stadiums and sports halls are exacerbated by the result. But that's not all, gathering the opinions of visitors is essential for sports clubs and event organisers.

Why ask for reviews?

Asking for feedback from spectators, club members or trail runners is primarily a loyalty tool. Proactively asking for feedback strengthens relationships and builds an additional bond beyond the event, match or race.

By collecting their opinions, you show that they are valuable to you and that you want to provide them with the best possible experience through a continuous improvement process.

Your customers' reviews are a recommendation tool. 75% of French people  say they actively look at reviews to get information about a business they are interested in. Ratings and reviews on Google or Tripadvisor are obviously not going to fill your stadium or event, but they are important for certain profiles such as families or individuals who do not usually attend sports events. This rating plays an even more decisive role in triggering a visit or a purchase in your physical shops, your online shop, your museum, the guided tour of your stadium, etc.

It is interesting to note that according to a study on consumer purchasing decisions by Reviewtracker, the average ratings resulting from requests for reviews are generally higher than those obtained spontaneously (4.34/5 versus 3.89/5). Asking your customers for their opinion will allow you to mechanically increase the ratings that appear on the various platforms that group them together.

When to ask for a customer review?

Good timing is key when asking for feedback. Your various points of contact with fans give you the opportunity to do this. We can separate requests for feedback into two categories:

  • requests for reviews related to transactions or events: buying a ticket, registering for a race, visiting a stadium, etc.
  • more extensive surveys: annually for subscribers, race participants, etc.

How to request a customer review?

Email is the most obvious channel to use to gather feedback from your customers. It can be sent after a purchase from an online or physical shop (when you can link a purchase to an email) or after coming to the stadium or venue. 

The email request allows you to obtain reviews directly linked to a transaction and therefore more authentic. This link with the transaction also allows you to better identify contextual elements: match results, weather, busy period in the shop, etc.

SMS is also a good channel for collecting feedback. Its 98% opening rate guarantees that your request will be well received. However, you will need to adapt your message (number of characters in the SMS) and the feedback form. The latter must be perfectly readable on a smartphone and require less attention.

Finally, you can also ask your customers for feedback directly via your website, with a dedicated page or at the end of a transaction (for example, after buying a match ticket).

Collecting customer reviews: best practices

Define your objectives

Do you want to improve the loyalty of your subscribers? Encourage your one-time customers to return more often? Target heavy investments in your infrastructure or prepare the arrival of a new online shop?

Before interviewing your fans, supporters and customers, consider what you want to achieve and then define the questions you will ask. This will ensure that you have the right information to make your decisions.

A short and adapted questionnaire

Even if the people you are going to interview are rather inclined to give you their opinion, they can quickly be discouraged if the questionnaire is too long, too complex or too disorganised. Adapt your questionnaire to the time and the issue: is it about a purchase from the online shop? An experience at the stadium? The whole season?

In some cases, you may be satisfied with 2 or 3 closed questions, in others, you may propose a much more extensive questionnaire. The order of the questions should be organised by theme in order to inform the respondent of the estimated time needed to complete the questionnaire. Also don't forget to include a free field, this will allow the respondent to express him/herself fully and you may find answers that you may not have thought of.

Communicate on the results achieved and your actions

Whether by private response or publicly on social media and your website, it is essential to communicate the results of your questionnaire. This will allow respondents to see that their opinion has at least been consulted. Better still, if you have taken action as a result of a questionnaire, respondents' satisfaction will be even higher. This will make you more credible in future questionnaires.

Generate recommendations and new revenues

Don't stop there yet. If you send your visitors, fans, customers, participants an internal questionnaire, you can then encourage them to give their opinion platforms such as Google. This can work, for example, by inviting those who answered with a 9 or 10/10 or 5 out of 5 stars in your questionnaire to share their opinion.

It is also an opportunity to create a purchase or re-purchase opportunity. Thanks to marketing automation scenarios, you can offer :

  • a sponsorship offer for those who give a very positive rating
  • a voucher for the online shop for those who bought in the physical shop
  • an incentive to return to the stadium or venue a few months after a poor evaluation to observe the corrections

The reasons for a fan's attachment to a club or a sport are particularly diverse: family tradition, current sporting results, interest in an athlete, geographical attachment, etc. The consumption of sport, whether it is a spectator sport or a sport that is practised, is also part of traditional consumption, where opinions and recommendations can play a key role. It is therefore essential to take this subject in hand to make it a positive element in the relationship of a club or event organiser with its fans, supporters, participants and customers.

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Olivier Spaeth

Olivier Spaeth

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