Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Panthers and customer service

I wrote my column today about a couple of fans who e-mailed the Panthers with complaints at feedback.panthers.nfl.com and received calls back -- in one case, on the very same day -- from Panthers president Danny Morrison.

Now the Panthers aren't perfect in terms of customer service, as Morrison would readily admit. They don't call back everyone who complains -- "we miss some," Morrison says. But I think they try
On a personal note, I know of several people who have had ticket issues that magically got solved once Panthers ticket guru Phil Youtsey -- one of the nicest and most efficient guys in the Panthers' organization -- found out about it.

And on the downside, one of my nephews, when he was about 2 years old, fell asleep on an extremely hot afternoon at the stadium. His mother took his shirt off because it was so hot.

He slept peacefully on his mother's shoulder until -- you may have guessed it -- an overzealous security guard decided to enforce owner Jerry Richardson's "shirts must always be worn inside the stadium" rule. The 2-year-old kid had to put his shirt back on, which of course woke him up, which of course made him mad, which of course ruined the next 30 minutes or so for everyone in that particular group.

When you're dealing with 50,000-70,000 people every home game, you're going to have some incidents like that. It was unfortunate and silly, but I think in general, at least the Panthers are trying (although I'll take back anything good I say about them in this column if they are dumb enough to raise ticket prices again after this lost season).

If you have any complaints or compliments about the Panthers' customer service, please leave them below in the comments section.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

CUSTOMER SERVICE: Please put some effort into music selection! UPDATE IT! DO SOMETHING NEW!

I've always looked for a comment card to write this. Please update/change/music. The stadium "experience" is bland and predictable. Cue: Cat Scratch Fever, AC/DC, that stupid "a bang, bang, bang," song, The POD song, and the must protect this house deal....Ric Flair Whoooo!, and a Harris Teeter kids throwing a ball onto a banner, coaches award presentation at half-time, etc....I feel like if I went to the game in 2001, its the same product as it is in 2011 (not to mention the product on the grass).

ThanksJerry:-( said...

God forbid they raise prices next season. That would really be dumb on Jerry's part. He's already skating on thin ice and about to fall into the same icy waters as George Shinn did with the Hornets. I would blame Shinn's stupidity for the apathy for the NBA returning to Charlotte. What are we on, the 4th or 5th season for the Bobcats and they're still struggling? Had to give away the naming rights to the arena in return for TV coverage. Jerry needs to really think. I'm not really a fair weather fan, but he's in danger of losing some people here.

Anonymous said...

They have changed the music this year to sell their own Panthers CD. It is worse than before. I mean really bad.
I can say that I called the ticket office to see if I could trade in tickets and get some handicapped tickets to take my terminally ill son. They were nothing but extremely helpful. I was such a good experience. It really is a class organization.
Now if they would improve what is on the field...

Anonymous said...

If you watch any NFL game on television (such as the Redskins game Sunday night) you will see that most stadiums are now using widescreen HDTV scoreboards.

The Panthers, no. They have a widescreen, low-res scoreboard, but they don't even use the full widescreen to show the game. One-third of the screen is devoted to ads. It is truly a rinky-dink presentation. It is an another example of the cheapness of this organization.

Anonymous said...

#1 In Customer Service

#32 In all of the NFL Football power polls.

Chump change payroll.

Stadium paid for by the fans.

Beautiful priorities. Just like Jerry likes it.

JustaRegularJoe said...

Yeah if I were making millions a year I would be walking around handing out cheap schedules smiling my a@# of too. I'm not saying they are not trying, but as president of the entire team I would think that he would have a lot more to say about personnel. After all you are jacking the ticket prices up and you expect the fan to pay it, so you would expect that you would have a concern about the product being placed on the field. So basically what he's saying is that he's more interested in making the money and let someone else take the blame for the team. I don't know too many other work places were the boss doesn't have a say so in every aspect of his organization. In the military, the top brass will get fired if their troops are not performing well and the heads roll down hill from there. And what about the rest of the fans not just the PSL owners. Most of the paying fans are just your regular game by game ticket buyers who can't afford the PSL seats. They work hard for the money they pay for tickets and just like any place they spend it, they expect to get their monies worth. I'm not saying a winning season every year because that's almost impossible, but at least a good showing of good football. i don't think that that's too much to ask.

Anonymous said...

As Danny says, they "do miss some" but if Mr. Richardson or Mr. Morrison or whoever would go on the radio or TV and explain their plans publicly they wouldn't have to worry about not calling anyone back. I mean, it's great that the call people back, but what about everyone else who don't have the ability to send an email or call.

EuroCat said...

I'm glad to see you give a shout-out to Phil Youtsey, Scott. I have been consistently amazed at the quality of service from the Panthers' ticket office.

I haved dealt with Phil personally several times on various matters, and he has been incredible at helping me out. One time, I had missed the final date for payment for my season tickets (it was 100% my fault) and my PSL's were subject to revocation unless I paid a $250 per seat reinstatement fee. An embarassed voicemail message left with Phil resulted in a prompt callback and a waiver of the fee.

I have moved my seats to better ones within my price point, and have found that ticket manager Jennifer Barrett carries on the same tradition of "customer first" service that Phil Youtsey has established. When I visited her office in March to look at possible new seats (they were a "horizontal" trade; Panthers weren't going to gain any revenue from the transaction), she treated me as if I were a multiple-club-seat PSL owner or even a luxury suite owner instead of just a Section G nosebleed "cheapest seats in the house" owner. I literally felt like a "VIP".

I'm as disappointed with the team's on-field performance as anybody, but I have nothing but the highest praise for every aspect of the ticket office.

Anonymous said...

funny thing...

I've been at every game and have yet to hear "Cat Scratch Fever, The POD song, and the must protect this house deal....Ric Flair Whoooo!"

Are you sure you're bitchin about the same stadium?

Anonymous said...

I have 2 simple complaints:

Why did they stop selling hotdogs in the foil wrappers? Now we get them in a paper tray, so when the cold weather hits, the dog is cold by the time you get to your seats and the mustard is all over your hands.


A few years ago when a thunderstorm hit, the stadium was cleared because of lightning. But the ushers ran away and no one cleared the tunnels, so the people trying to get out of the rain and lightning were blocked by a bunch of idiots who wanted to wait right there and watch an empty field.

Are Panthers worth it? said...

I spent Oct 1-3 at Turner Field watching the Braves-Philies and then Oct 10 at BofA Stadium watching Panthers-Braves. Not even talking about the on-field performance, the experience in Atlanta was a 10, Charlotte a 2. Turner personnel were friendly and thanked me for attending. In Charlotte, I tried to catch an eye of the attendents when I left the stadium and not ONE would acknowledge me. The video screen in ATL is about 3 times larger. They take credit cards at the concessions. Ticket prices are reasonable. (Although I paid someone $5 for an upper level ticket for the Bears game.) The football game was not a pleasant experience. I do not know if I will go again.

J said...

I haven't been to a game this year (can't afford it), so if this is not an issue feel free to point that out to me...

The one customer service-type request I would have of the Panthers is a solemn vow that as long as this franchise is located here, that insipid "fight song" will never, ever, under any circumstances, for any reason, be played again.

Anonymous said...

two friends and I were removed for "excessive standing" from row 1 on the 50 yrd line of the bears game. That is actually what they said after bragging that "you can be removed for ANY reason" I know the lower bowl is full of people who are more socialite than football fan and that's not likely to change in charlotte but it would be awesome if BofA stadium loosened up a bit. It's not a polo match ya know. If you wanna watch silently in your seat stay the hell home charlotte! couches are perfect for that.

Gregory said...

I attend the races at Charlotte Motor Speedway every year and the staff is nothing but professional and helpful. You get the feeling (even though they are probably making good $$$) that everyone is glad to be there. I emailed Marcus Smith, President of CMS following the fall race last year to compliment how efficient state troopers were getting race fans away from the track in a timely manner and I received an email back from him later that day.
I might just be old fashioned, but I think if I spend over $250 in tickets for a weekend of racing, the least the track can do is make it seem like they appreciate my business. CMS delivers on that every time!

BuffyBanker said...

I just have this to say: I simply cannot enjoy my fabulous cheese tray and fine Napa Chardonnay when some hillbilly boy is standing in front of me wearing a silly foozeball jersey, shouting about this or that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this Scott. Judging by some of the comments here, it really proves that 1) some people don't actually go to the games, but yet complain about something that's BS and 2) are completely out of touch with what goes on here in Charlotte. Bobcats are in their 4th or 5th year and struggling? Newsflash. It's year 7. They also had over 2,000 new season ticket holders this year and 94% retention rate. That's a franchise best and in the top 5 in the NBA. Granted they started low, but it's significant progress. And someone was complaining about a crappy big screen TV at BofA Stadium? You do realize that the Panthers just replaced that old one from 1996 at the start of last season, don't you? I guess if you actually went to the game, you'd probably notice that too. And was someone really comparing a baseball game experience to a football one?

Anonymous said...

Someone posted that the Panthers don't take credit cards when you're buying food or drink? Wow, that's news to me because I've always used mine at BofA stadium. I guess I must be special or something.

Anonymous said...

THANKS FOR NOT LETTING ME BACK IN!
My family has owned 10 PSL's since the stadium opened (we traded a skybox for the PSL's). We support this team in a ridiculous manner, so I have plenty of legitimate reason to voice my frustration at not being let back into the stadium during the Bears game. No, i did not get removed. I was getting food when i saw an unexpected call from my business at halftime. YES--- the same business that affords us the opportunity to be at the games. I stepped out to get a signal and hear the call. I was told when i presented my ticket that i could not re-enter the stadium. Then i was smugly told that i "should have read the sign and i could go buy another ticket." Let's just say that the attendant probably did not get the reception he was expecting. Still, i found a lady with a walkie talkie....she had to be important right? Surely she would understand my dilemma, after all my wife and two guests were still inside wondering where i was? No help.

With today's technology they can not identify a PSL owner? how about asking for name and ID? What bothered me was 20,000 Panthers fans making an early exit and I was the only moron trying to get back in. We left, but not by choice.

The fan experience is so bad that it is not entertainment when the team is bad. Yet somehow we keep spending money so we are there in the event they finally figure it out. That desire is fading.....

Anonymous said...

I wrote the earlier comment about the music. First off, take it easy. Secondly I should have stated I've not made it to any home games this year. So things might have changed. Just going off years and years of experience (and years and years of hearing the same thing. If they've added some changes to in stadium experience more power to them!

Anonymous said...

I agree. Customer service is great. No complaints. And besides the ticket price increase, no complaints with ownership.

It's the game day experience that is stale and keeps me watching it on TV. It's like everyone goes on cruise control come sunday (insert joke about Fox). That's the service I want to see. Cue the welcome, high school kid sings the anthem, Sir Purr, Top Cats do a dance, Pop Warner kids, same music on speed dial, throw in some football, and have a safe trip home. Yawn!

Darin is an idiot said...

CAROLINA PANTHERS = THE MOST CLASSLESS ORGANIZATION IN THE NFL AND IN HISTORY OF PRO SPORTS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Panthers organization should just call it the Rockettes. Nothing should warrant the increase in ticket prices. And if any stadium upgrades, i.e. expansion, or larger "jumbotrons" should not be in the picture until the Panthers win a SuperBowl. The Panthers are in such a tiny market and don't deserve any upgrades. Other teams that have been around much longer have earned that right.

Anonymous said...

I purchased two upper deck PSL's next to one of my friends back in 1996 for $7,200.00 My friend had money problems and walked away from his PSL's in 2005. In 2006 the new owners purchased the PSL's from the Panthers for $4,400.00. That is bad business. I paid full price to help the team build their stadium and this is how they repay me? The PSL prices should not have been lowered. The price should have remained the same to protect our investment. If they could not resell them at the original price those seats should have gone into the regular season ticket pool until they could get another "sucker" to buy the PSL at the original price. My $7,200 investment is now worth $1,500 on a good day. Panther PSL's are the biggest rip off. Even when the team was good you could still scalp tickets at face value or less. My advice to anyone thinking about buying a PSL DON'T. The majority of people living in the Charlotte area are transplants and have other NFL loyalties. Next time you are driving see how many cars and houses have Pittsburgh Steeler logos compared to Panther logos. I grew up in NJ a Giants fan and the Panthers are at least another 10 years away from having a real loyal fan base. I removed my Panther sticker from my truck and replaced it with a NY Giants sticker. I am disgusted with the Panthers organization. Imagine this team if they would have kept Bill Polian? Bill Parcells is now available get someone in here who can run a football team. 0-16 is a real possibilty.

Tom
Tega Cay, SC

Anonymous said...

"That would really be dumb on Jerry's part. He's already skating on thin ice and about to fall into the same icy waters as George Shinn did with the Hornets. I would blame Shinn's stupidity for the apathy for the NBA returning to Charlotte..."

You are a gay ignorant simpleton peasant crybaby pos idiot who dosent deserve to breathe the same oxygen as the rest of humanity. Do yourself a favor and jump off a bridge.

joe said...

JustaRegularJoe said...
Yeah if I were making millions a year I would be walking around handing out cheap schedules smiling my a@# of too. I'm not saying they are not trying, but as president of the entire team I would think that he would have a lot more to say about personnel. After all you are jacking the ticket prices up and you expect the fan to pay it, so you would expect that you would have a concern about the product being placed on the field. So basically what he's saying is that he's more interested in making the money and let someone else take the blame for the team. I don't know too many other work places were the boss doesn't have a say so in every aspect of his organization. In the military, the top brass will get fired if their troops are not performing well and the heads roll down hill from there. And what about the rest of the fans not just the PSL owners. Most of the paying fans are just your regular game by game ticket buyers who can't afford the PSL seats. They work hard for the money they pay for tickets and just like any place they spend it, they expect to get their monies worth. I'm not saying a winning season every year because that's almost impossible, but at least a good showing of good football. i don't think that that's too much to ask.

Marty Hurney said...

The Carolina Panthers front office had a pretty specific mission starting the off season. That mission: Reduce the team’s payroll in preparation of a lockout after the 2010 season, and more importantly “stay competitive”. The opportunity never looked better with the 2010 season being an uncapped year so the veteran purge begun.



The front office began conveying to John Fox that they were looking at getting younger but wanted to stay competitive. They also stated that they wanted to relieve themselves of some aging veteran / long tem contracts. Fox never likes to part with his veteran players but knew that he was in a contract year himself and really didn’t want to oppose the Panther brass so he agreed to it. Front office conveyed building via the draft which could add to the core of young playmakers they already had i.e. Deangelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, John Beason, Sherrod Martin, Charles Godfrey, etc… Rebuilding never been John Fox thing, but it didn’t matter too much as long as he could keep “his” key players, i.e. Jake Delhomme, Brad Hoover, Damoine Lewis, Nail Diggs, etc… After the year Jake had John wasn’t opposed to having Jake take a step back to give Moore the start…, he was opposed to releasing or cutting Jake. John believed if Moore would start slow or couldn’t move the offence then I could bring back Jake and he’ll have what he wants. The thought of releasing Jake would place Fox where he didn’t want to be… without a veteran QB, especially one who listens to him, and leaving him with a young inexperienced team.

Outsource Call Center said...

Customer service isn't about being perfect. Customer service is about making things right, not just the immediate problem, but the root cause. And it is totally about listening to the customer.


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