Last week we looked at the Anaheim Ducks through the prism of Price. Today, we move onto another P, People. In the truest marketing sense, "People" refers to those that sell the product. So instead of talking about on-ice, or even off-ice, personnel, we're going to turn our attention to the Ducks and Honda Center staff that actually act as the front-line representatives of the franchise.
Note: I was originally going to do my Product piece today, but with the move of Wiz on Friday and Murray's cryptic comments, I'm hoping (perhaps naively) that the components comprising the "Product" will be vastly different next week.Anaheim Ducks Staff
The Ducks employ hundreds of employees whose job it is to sell tickets, generate interest in the team, and take care of fans. Most of this is going to be anecdotal and will rely heavily on my own experiences, but I think that's entirely appropriate given that many of these people are responsible for customer service.
As a season-ticket holder, my primary contact with Ducks staff has been through our various season ticket representatives. For the most part, I rate these interactions fairly high. The staff has always been helpful (we've been able to get our absolutely useless cup holders removed without any complaint), but the turnover in their ranks has made it difficult to develop a consistent relationship with any one representative. In just over a year, we've dealt with three different representatives.
I will admit that our first experience with the season ticket holder reps wasn't so great. When my wife and I were first looking to get seats, we said that we wanted aisle seats in the buy-2, get-2 area. As some of you may remember, the top row of seats along the north end of the arena (the side where the press box is) is one continuous row. Unfortunately, those "aisle" seats are tagged as such in the computer, even though you have seats right next to you and there is no true aisle. After attending two preseason games and hating it, we spoke to our ticket rep and it was quickly remedied.
For the most part, I think the Ducks staff try to be really helpful, but they're not always the most knowledgeable bunch. We've had instances where our seemingly simple questions (like when is Face-Off Fest going to be?) go unanswered or are met with convoluted explanations that don't really seem to answer your question (you wouldn't believe how unaccommodating the team is to the concept of a pregnant woman that might need handicap seats instead of her season seats). I've often run into the same thing at the Team Store, which I strongly suspect is staffed mostly by interns. All of this adds up to a slightly frustrating experience where you cannot easily have questions answered (the uncertainty surrounding the Olympic jerseys was mildly frustrating).
Honda Center Staff
Again, this is all based on personal experience, but I love the Honda Center staff. The security staff do a good job of being reasonable and quickly processing you through the lines (I don't know if anyone's ever been to Coors Field in Colorado, but it's like a full-body search when you enter the stadium). The ticket-takers can be somewhat useless if their scanners go down (understandably so, I guess), but everyone else does a great job of making your experience as good as possible.
I want to take the time here to specially recognize our usher (whose name I do not know, making me a terrible person). She works section 409 and 408 and she's flat-out awesome. She does a good job of corralling the crazies (409 seems to be a big Group section so we've had our fair share of shenanigans), and she's accomodated our friends and family whenever we've brought them to games. We've actually talked to her about what will happen if my wife can't sit in her normal seats during the later stages of the pregnancy and she has assured us that she'll find a way for us to be as comfortable as possible.
As a paying fan (and season ticket holder), I can't stress how important this is. Ponda is rarely packed anymore, and there's absolutely no reason why staff shouldn't accommodate you as much as possible. When we were looking to upgrade our seats at the Open House, we legitimately did not want to move away from our section if possible because of how great our usher is. And honestly, I can't think of a more ringing endorsement.
What are your experiences? Do you find the staff of the Ducks and Honda Center to enhance or hinder your hockey experience? I left out the concessions and parking folks, but if you have comments about them, I'd love to hear them.