Orlando Magic shoot for customer satisfaction

Looking for a slam dunk with their audience in a highly competitive arena, the Orlando Magic have turned to third-party customer relationship management (CRM) software to try to keep fans happy.

Next week, the National Basketball Association franchise is expected to announce that it's wrapping up the implementation of the GoldMine sales and marketing application from FrontRange Solutions. The team is using GoldMine to automate the tracking of customer contacts, including complaints, according to Julie Gory, fan relations and retail manager for the Magic.

The application, which is already live and requires only a bit more input of data, tracks customer communications and makes sure that complaints are addressed and that third-party vendors comply with their commitments to the franchise. It also helps track the progress of customer-related campaigns.

"We are a watchdog department that looks at things from a fan's perspective," Gory said. "Whatever happens from when the fan leaves their driveway -- everything from parking, the cleanliness of the restrooms -- when we hear of issues, we make notes and input them to GoldMine and can review them on whatever basis we want."

The Magic could conceivably extend the product into other areas, such as ticket and corporate sales and marketing, she said.

Keeping corporate customers and season ticket holders pleased is crucial in what is a very tight market. "It's important to retain what we have and open up the market for new fans," Gory said.

The Magic are by no means the only professional sports team to delve into CRM. The NBA has installed CRM software from E.piphany and is offering the application to its franchises for a fee. However, Gory said she found that application too complex to use for her needs, and she added that the Magic would have had to spend US$100,000 to access it. So she chose GoldMine.

The software rollout was completed in August and cost about US$30,000. Before installing GoldMine, the Magic relied on manual processes based around Microsoft Word and Excel documents.

Gory said the move will increase productivity and eventually deliver a return on investment. But, she said, the exact ROI will be difficult to determine, because customer satisfaction is abstract.

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