Monday, November 20News That Matters

Four Key Customer Experience Lessons From A WWE Live Event



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CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this month, I attended a WWE Live event. It was my first, despite being a long-time wrestling aficionado. While the show itself was a fun Sunday night interlude, I came away from it thinking less about the individual matches and more about how the WWE uses events like this to put on a class in customer experience, the new holy grail for brands. It was easy to see how the company manages its extensive touring schedule with ruthless precision and attention to catering to the desires of fans, delivering a few key lessons for other brands looking to gain a CX edge in the process.

Give your customers opportunities for engagement.

I’ll admit that I find the WWE calling fans “members of the WWE universe” to be an annoying little bit of corporate speak, but I can’t quibble with their efforts to engage attendees at the house show I saw. There was an event hashtag, audience members were permitted, as they are for all events, to bring their own signs, pictures were encouraged. And the wrestlers themselves (excuse me, “superstars”) were equally committed to interacting with fans, with John Cena high-fiving little kids and Roman Reigns gamely posing for numerous&nbsp;selfies. If you’re fortunate enough to have a brand that customers want to embrace, don’t put up barriers to allowing them to do so. Give them an opportunity to express their creativity and loyalty and be thankful for it.

Set and meet expectations.

The lineup to enter the arena was orderly and moved quickly, setting the tone for an evening that ran precisely and professionally. The event was supposed to start at 7PM. I checked my phone and by 7:05, we were well into the first match. The 10-minute intermission was actually 10 minutes. The wrestlers advertised as being part of the event were there. Whatever you tell customers you’re going to do (offer next-day shipping, answer customer service calls within two minutes, etc.) you better be prepared to deliver. There are few better (and, unfortunately, all too rare) feelings as someone who has spent money on a product or experience than when the provider of that product or service lives up to your expectations.

Give your audience what they want.

Non-televised WWE shows don’t necessarily follow the ongoing narrative that is presented each week during RAW and Smackdown broadcasts. You see strange combos of wrestlers teaming up, feuds aren’t carried over, everyone is looser and less focused on inhabiting their character. While a shocking finish or a run-in makes sense in the context of a story the WWE is trying to tell on TV, the company knows that the seven year-old whose dad drove two and a half hours to take him to this show doesn’t want to see John Cena decimated by Bray Wyatt, even if it isn’t “real” per se. It might be best for storytelling, but it’s not what all those families in the audience came for. Your customers pay your bills; understanding their desires and striving to meet them is CX 101.

Cross-sell and upsell at opportune times.

During the course of a two-and-half-hour show, the in-ring announcer offered attendees a discount code for new sign-ups to the WWE network, mentioned a promotional cup on sale at the concession stands and promoted another live event from the WWE’s NXT brand coming up in October. None of these subtle sales pitches felt intrusive or forced. Upselling and cross-selling requires the ability to walk a fine line. While people are okay with being asked if they’re interested in upsizing their fast food fries for an extra 59 cents, they rightly chafe at being pushed to purchase additional, superfluous insurance when picking up their rental car, for example. Making the ask for a bigger (or additional) investment comes down to knowing when your customers are most amenable to this ask and what type of offer makes sense for their current context.

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CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this month, I attended a WWE Live event. It was my first, despite being a long-time wrestling aficionado. While the show itself was a fun Sunday night interlude, I came away from it thinking less about the individual matches and more about how the WWE uses events like this to put on a class in customer experience, the new holy grail for brands. It was easy to see how the company manages its extensive touring schedule with ruthless precision and attention to catering to the desires of fans, delivering a few key lessons for other brands looking to gain a CX edge in the process.

Give your customers opportunities for engagement.

I’ll admit that I find the WWE calling fans “members of the WWE universe” to be an annoying little bit of corporate speak, but I can’t quibble with their efforts to engage attendees at the house show I saw. There was an event hashtag, audience members were permitted, as they are for all events, to bring their own signs, pictures were encouraged. And the wrestlers themselves (excuse me, “superstars”) were equally committed to interacting with fans, with John Cena high-fiving little kids and Roman Reigns gamely posing for numerous selfies. If you’re fortunate enough to have a brand that customers want to embrace, don’t put up barriers to allowing them to do so. Give them an opportunity to express their creativity and loyalty and be thankful for it.

Set and meet expectations.

The lineup to enter the arena was orderly and moved quickly, setting the tone for an evening that ran precisely and professionally. The event was supposed to start at 7PM. I checked my phone and by 7:05, we were well into the first match. The 10-minute intermission was actually 10 minutes. The wrestlers advertised as being part of the event were there. Whatever you tell customers you’re going to do (offer next-day shipping, answer customer service calls within two minutes, etc.) you better be prepared to deliver. There are few better (and, unfortunately, all too rare) feelings as someone who has spent money on a product or experience than when the provider of that product or service lives up to your expectations.

Give your audience what they want.

Non-televised WWE shows don’t necessarily follow the ongoing narrative that is presented each week during RAW and Smackdown broadcasts. You see strange combos of wrestlers teaming up, feuds aren’t carried over, everyone is looser and less focused on inhabiting their character. While a shocking finish or a run-in makes sense in the context of a story the WWE is trying to tell on TV, the company knows that the seven year-old whose dad drove two and a half hours to take him to this show doesn’t want to see John Cena decimated by Bray Wyatt, even if it isn’t “real” per se. It might be best for storytelling, but it’s not what all those families in the audience came for. Your customers pay your bills; understanding their desires and striving to meet them is CX 101.

Cross-sell and upsell at opportune times.

During the course of a two-and-half-hour show, the in-ring announcer offered attendees a discount code for new sign-ups to the WWE network, mentioned a promotional cup on sale at the concession stands and promoted another live event from the WWE’s NXT brand coming up in October. None of these subtle sales pitches felt intrusive or forced. Upselling and cross-selling requires the ability to walk a fine line. While people are okay with being asked if they’re interested in upsizing their fast food fries for an extra 59 cents, they rightly chafe at being pushed to purchase additional, superfluous insurance when picking up their rental car, for example. Making the ask for a bigger (or additional) investment comes down to knowing when your customers are most amenable to this ask and what type of offer makes sense for their current context.

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