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Sports Team Disappointment: A Customer Service Issue?

This article was written by in Consumer. 6 comments.


It never struck my mind when the Mets blew their chances of October baseball this past weekend, during their downward spiral in the last several weeks, or even following the game I attended during which the team lost, that I should call the ownership and complain about the service provided to me as a paying customer.

It’s good to know the team is looking out for its fans; I just received an email from the Mets:

All of us at the Mets are bitterly disappointed in failing to achieve our collective goal of building upon last year’s success. We did not meet our organization’s expectations — or yours. Everyone at Shea feels the same range of emotions as you — our loyal fans — and we know we have let you down. We wanted to thank you for your record-breaking support of our team this year.

Equally important, Ownership will continue its commitment in providing the resources necessary to field a championship team. Omar [Teodoro Antonio Minaya y Sanchez, general manager] will be meeting with Ownership shortly to present his plan on addressing our shortcomings so that we can achieve our goal of winning championships in 2008 and beyond.

You deserve better results. Many thanks again for your record-breaking support.

Paul LoDuca hurtFirst of all, I never thought of my relationship of fan-to-team as customer-to-service-provider, but that interpretation is accurate. The last two years, Mets fans have come to expect a certain level of service — winning — and this particular service deteriorated in the last month of the season. I would never expect an apology letter from management because I understand sports — you win some, you lose some. But this is interesting.

There are many companies I’ve dealt with that could learn from this example. Mets management is proactive with communication rather than denying the problem. Some companies simply lie to their customers. Others let management problems remain unfixed for much longer than appropriate. (See TIAA-Cref for an example.)

Next thing you know, teams will start compensating spectators for games lost.

Photo credit: Ed Betz/AP

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published October 2, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar DarkAlly

There is a catch to sports, someone has to lose. Yes fans have expectations for the Mets to win but so do Marlin’s fans. Its actually depressing to realize that someone is always disappointed by the outcome of every game.

On a side note, I agree its sweet the Mets actually responded appropriately to your email.

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avatar Gail

DarkAlly that is so true. In 1987 the Tigers and Blue Jays got into a pennant race. The Blue Jays were always beating the Tigers–complete dominance so I was really surprised and very happy when the Tigers won the last game of the season over the Blue Jays to win the AL East. Here I was in front of my TV–three time zones earlier and dancing around the living room. After I tired I continued watching and they showed the Tigers celebrating and then they took a shot of the Blue Jays’ dug out. Those guys were so hurt and so unhappy. I never thought they would be so unhappy. These were the bad guys who were always beating up on my Tigers until then and they were sitting in the dugout grieving over a division title they thought was theirs. I realized that they were human too. One reason I don’t ever want to see a WS between MLB WS Champ and Japan WS Champ–someone will have to lose.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,485 (Platinum)

DarkAlly: Oh, I didn’t send an email or contact them in any way. I believe they just sent the email to everyone who has registered on mets.com.

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avatar Derek

The other day I had read a story of a fan/lawyer suing the New England Patriots (or maybe it was the coach directly) as a result of their cheating. This is an interesting gesture on the part of the Mets front office and I think is a lesson that many can learn from.

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avatar David Morse

Nice post. I don’t know if I like the Mets’ apology. Sports for me is a fun diversion from everyday life. It would be such a bummer if we started holding teams “accountable” by requiring compensation for losses or suing them.

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avatar Gail

In 2009 when the Tigers lost game 163 a few days later I got a letter from David Dombroski telling me how sorry he was that the Tigers failed to win the division and that they were heartbroken and that they hoped that 2010 would be a better year. I am having a hard time this year with the Tigers because I am pretty certain Chicago is going to win the division. It’s 9/17 and I don’t have the nerve to check on the result. I’m emotionally spent right now. I have to remind myself that it’s a game and it has nothing to do with me. I see the Tigers as an extension of myself and some of them are paid the amount of my estate for each game they play. Also, the players don’t even know that I exist.

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