Cover Story: Pats' Pact: Fans Are Family
Another missed game raised a bit more concern for her.
"If they missed another game, the second outreach effort was a survey," Gelman says. "So we could understand, 'What's happening here? Why did you actually miss this game? What information are we maybe not providing?' And, most importantly, 'What can we do to make sure you have a better experience?'"
The survey saw a 40 percent open rate, and Gelman says 1 percent [more] of the fans receiving this message renewed their season tickets [vs. the control group].
But if some fans in the second email batch didn't respond, Gelman says, "the third phase is calling people and/or sending a letter to them to engage them and make sure they know that, 'We want you to remain a fan of the team and a customer of the organization.' "
In the end, the approaches added up to the historic high season ticket renewal rate of 97 percent for the 2010 season.
Gelman says each touch was monitored so that if a season ticket holder responded to an email, for instance, the fan wouldn't get a call "unless something in their response necessitated that we reach out to them."
It's the same way the organization monitors what's going on inside the stadium—by talking to fans when they leave.
"We do surveys after many games," Gelman says. "If we find there was an issue, or something that should've been addressed that wasn't elevated during the game [through chatting with the] security guards [or texting] into a phone number, ... we act on [it]. We'll call them or confirm the information."
Beginning with the retention mail and again in July, when the organization sends out season tickets, the Patriots remind ticket holders that most of the communication from the team will be coming via email. For those who aren't comfortable with email, they're reminded that they'll be receiving direct mail. Plus, fans learn that there's a phone number reserved for season ticket holders' concerns.