Indiana Pacers switch to high-performance tools to better serve fans
Pacers Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, has been around for 50 years and employs hundreds of full-time employees and thousands of part-time employees.
The organization also oversees Bankers Life Fieldhouse, an arena that hosts many different events throughout the year: at least 41 NBA games, 17 WNBA games, NCAA events and a litany of non-sports events.
With a couple of successful sports franchises — the Pacers have reached the playoffs in six of the last seven years and the Fever have been a playoff team since 2005 and won a championship in 2012 — Pacers Sports and Entertainment has a history of success.
But the on-court product is only one part of the business. Behind the scenes, Pacers Sports & Entertainment relies on a network of support staff to provide the ultimate experience for its fans. This includes ticket sales and development, a branch with more than 50 employees that, by interacting directly with fans, serve as the faces and voices of the Pacers brand.
But outdated technology was holding back the Pacers from providing the best possible experience for its fans.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse staffers were still using phones that came with the building when it opened 17 years ago, and some of the phones were even older than that. Unsurprisingly, the Pacers began to realize that its unsupported Nortel phone system was hindering the organization’s customer service.
“The (fact that) fans had a hard time reaching out to ticket sales was our biggest problem,” explained Chief Technology Officer Ed Frederici. “We had an antiquated phone system where routing the calls was difficult.”
Not only that but finding out how many people were calling in and how long they remained on the phone with Pacers employees was a big unknown for the Pacers.
That means the sales office was working with limited information about their own operations and struggling to route calls to the right agent for the answers or type of interaction they needed.
Customer service woes
Customers noticed the shortfalls through their interactions with the Pacers.
“The feedback we received from customers with our own system is that we were not very responsive, we weren’t great about getting the voicemails and getting back to people.” Vice President of Ticket Sales and Development Barry Gibson stated. “The calls weren’t getting to the right place, weren’t getting to the right people.”
Gibson said fans love a winning team, but they also judge how the team connects with its fans on and off the court or field. The service the organization provides is key to its continuing success, and Gibson and Frederici were committed to displaying the same high performance off the court as the Pacers did on the court.
A high-performance solution
To better serve its fans and boost productivity within the office, the Pacers were looking for solutions that would give them insight into their fan experience and improve mobility for its on-the-go staff. Those solutions included MiVoice Business, MiContact Center, MiVoice Call Recording and MiCollab.
Gibson said listening to recorded calls helped identify coaching opportunities for Pacers employees.
“We use call recording for training, it's huge for us,” Gibson said. “So we can listen in on any call, we can record those calls and then playing back for the reps and help give them tips on better ways to handle communication.”
They also use analytics that allowed the sales office make better staffing decisions based traffic patterns and prediction of peak periods.
The Pacers now have a fully mobile solution, giving employees the tools to communicate with customers and collaborate with their colleagues no matter where they are. This in-office experience delivered directly to their smartphones ensures employees can get out in the real world with customers without sacrificing connectivity.
These technology improvements have resulted in decreased wait time for fans and a better customer experience. Gibson said the Pacers have had fewer complaints about not being routed to the right person or not getting a return call.
In fact, Gibson said the Pacers saw an increased score in the NBA’s annual customer service survey year-over-year after implementing the solutions.
Serving the fans
The Pacers chose Mitel because the solutions allowed them to better serve its customers and make their experience a positive one before they even saw the success on the court.
“After working with Mitel … we've seen excellent results,” Frederici said. “We see a mobile workforce that can get out into the community and do their job, we have a completely reliable system that never goes down, sound quality is outstanding, we really are able to use our phones as an asset to do our jobs better.”
When the customers felt like they were part of the team and part of the family, they responded in a measurable way to show that they appreciated the service by the ticket sales team. As a high-performance organization, the Pacers chose a high-performance solution. If your business can build customer loyalty through positive interactions, it could greatly benefit your bottom line.