Setting a new precedent
Through the deal, CM.com has said it aims to set a “new precedent” for what a ticketing platform can offer. How will you aim to achieve this?
The new precedent refers to what we can deliver for our clients. We genuinely offer a one-stop-shop for ticketing, Customer Data Platform, payments, mobile ordering, customer service, chatbots and omnichannel marketing messaging. Everything’s in one place, and that’s unusual.
Our precedent isn’t about just selling a system; it’s about finding out how people use the system and making sure they’re using it to its full potential. We offer so many routes to success that there’s a solution for everyone within our offering. It helps that our onboarding process is second-to-none; we provide a partnership. We don’t sell a solution and say, ‘get on with it,’ we assess what you want to achieve and actively work with you to achieve your goals.
In any digital transformation project, there’s a lot to get your head around, but we can support and iron out the bumps in that process. That really matters in the sports space because you have relatively small teams trying to achieve a lot of complex goals with comparatively limited resources.
The current set up
What have you assessed as the strengths and weaknesses of the current setup at Sophia Gardens?
They have well-established solutions with longevity in the market that are well known, so that’s a real positive. In terms of weaknesses, there are a number of areas that we can improve upon. The back-end system and reporting functionality are a real area for potential improvement, even basic elements such as only being able to search for a ticket purchase by name rather than via any input field. For example, searching via a unique identifier like a phone number rather than a name saves the customer service team a huge amount of time.
Another area where we can improve the current process is for bespoke ticket purchase journeys and upselling. You’ll typically have a three- or four-step purchase process, but we can add a fifth or sixth step to increase basket value. They might want to offer merchandise as a special offer during the purchase process, or a hotel stay, or even some hospitality. They can do that really simply within our ticketing platform. Or keep it simple with minimum steps and then vary it from event to event.
The 2023 season
What are the immediate priorities of the partnership looking ahead to the 2023 cricket season?
They've got cast-iron fixtures and they've got cast-iron on-sale dates, so the absolute priority is the onboarding process. We’ll be looking at price plans and seat manifests but then also at integrating with their other partners to work towards on-sale.
Our customer success manager model is a lot more ‘hands-on’ than you’d get anywhere else. We’re about relationships and building together rather than this ‘We sell you stuff and write code, but we don't really want to know about your problems’ attitude that you often get in the tech space.
We're very much focused on the club at the moment, but when it comes to on-sale, we'll be talking about the fans’ experiences way more. Ultimately, we need to make sure the supporters are happy and have a great experience when they use the platform for the first time in September.
Enhancing the fan experience
How will you be looking to harness the latest tech to enhance the experience for Glamorgan fans?
I think a lot of the tech that's come about in the last four or five years has been driven by security, commercial sensitivity, or COVID-19. They're all necessary evils or, in the case of COVID, things no one could plan for, but none of them makes for a great fan experience. In fact, technology has, in some ways, added complexities and barriers. People don’t necessarily want to download an app to access their ticket. In short, recent advances in technology seem to have been for the benefit of the right holder, not the supporter.
So what we're doing is putting the fan and the supporter first by saying, ‘you can search, receive and retrieve tickets in a really simple way, and you can use WhatsApp or SMS to talk to the club’. We’re asking, ‘how do you want to access your tickets?’ Or ‘where do you want to communicate with the club, and at what time?” We don’t want to force people to resort to email or have to download an app. Traditional thinking may be concerned this will lose data, insight or reduce security measures. In fact, the opposite is true. By giving the supporter the choice as to when and how they interact with the club or access their ticket, rights holders can build up a richer, more genuine picture of their fanbase.
A major part of customer experience is that personalised journey and we can facilitate that with our Customer Data Platform. All outbound communication can be personalised and customer service agents can see the whole history of any enquiry at the press of a button. The next step in the journey is about pulling in third-party event notifications, such as traffic or weather warnings as we move forward into the next phase of development.
Looking beyond 2023, what do you believe are the long-term opportunities open to Glamorgan through your partnership?
I think we can be this ‘beacon of light’ as to what sports experience can be in 2022 and 2023. It’s about understanding that you don't have to throw a boatload of money at everything to create a great experience. Amazing customer experience used to be the hunting ground of huge tier-one organisations like Spurs, Man United, or Ajax but now you don’t need all that money, you just have to be clever and spend what you have in the right way.
We recognise that Glamorgan is an early adopter, so in the future we’ll be looking at things like payments and chatbots, but we'll be looking at using the technology in the right way to create incredible customer experiences, rather than just pushing technology for its own sake.