I recently attended my first Jacksonville Jaguars game in almost 10 years. Like any pre-season game it wasn’t anything special on the field because most of the first string players didn’t play much, if at all.
The highlight of the night wasn’t what happened ON the field, but OFF.
As we left the hotel room and took a water taxito the stadium and then walked to our seats, we received an experience. It’s easy to believe that being around thousands of other people in the Florida heat, things are bound to get crazy, it didn’t.
Here are 3 ways the employees in and around EverBank Field gave us more than just a football game:
-They made you feel first class. One way they did this was they went out of their way to defuse negativity. As we headed over to the stadium on the water taxi the boat was packed. From what I understand, usually the employee takes your money on the way over so when you get to the other side of the St. Johns river you don’t have to wait. On this night instead of stamping peoples hands when they paid, we received a ticket. This was really messing up the flow for the river taxi employee because we had to sit idly by the dock until all the money was received. This caused some frustrations. To my left was this really ticked off fan. He was complaining and getting loud at the employee in a jovial, but also negative manner. The employee didn’t get mad or frustrated, he let him know why it was taking him longer and he went above an beyond once we got to the dock to make this customer happy. When we hit the dock he asked everyone to stay seated and he let this particular gentlemen get off the boat first. This customer walked away not feeling like he got ripped of a value, but that he was VALUED. He was happy.
-Safety was always first. As we headed up to our seats in the clouds, just a few rows from the top of the stadium, we hit the escalator. I’ve never been to a stadium with an escalator. It was like a stairway to heaven. As thousands upon thousands of screaming fans entered, there were numerous staff in place to make sure the escalators were never anywhere close to being over capacity. Whatever our place is at our jobs, safety must come first. I have been to numerous conferences in big arenas where I’m not going to lie, things got crazy on an escalator. Every time I see a huge crowd of people piling up at the top of an escalator and I am coming to the top at a insane speed of 1mph, anxiety hits. I then picture myself diving into the crowd for safety because at that moment, I am five years old again, worried I’m going to get sucked in. We have all been to places we felt safety wasn’t a priority. Here, it was was never a problem from the second we entered the stadium. Whether it was when we were thoroughly checked with a metal detector, to the amount of police present the entire time, not once did we feel unsafe. We felt at HOME. Can that be said about our environments? Our jobs?
-They served us. I was pretty shocked of the hospitality I experienced at the game. As soon as we sat down and the game began, each section had our very own cheerleaders who threw out shirts and beads to screaming kids (and old men). The employees selling drinks not only stopped and talked but laughed with us. If you have ever been to a game you know what it’s like to buy a $5 coke. You feel like your getting robbed and usually those taking your money know it. Not here. Not this time. They gave us an experience. When we left it was even better. I have never felt so loved at a sporting event in my life. Every employee said “bye.” They thanked us for coming. They wished us a safe trip home. It was more like a family reunion than a sporting event.
There is power in a “THANK YOU.” I’m not one to sign up to go and sit in the sun for hours on end with thousands of other people just inches from you. That’s not my scene, maybe it’s yours. I enjoy my flatscreen too much for that. But from this experience, I could see myself enjoying another game very soon. Something I didn’t expect. They converted me.
These are just a couple of observations I had from the game. It was a great reminder of the opportunity we each have at our jobs to give our customers, or for my field, our visitors an experience every time. When we do, they will never stay quiet. They will spread the word to their families and friends. Write about it. Share about it. Most importantly, return.
Give our people experiences like this and they’ll return every time.