Meet, then Exceed Expectations

At our core, service professionals want to exceed their clients’ expectations. However, what gets lost in the equation for something greater is the notion that meeting needs must come before exceeding them.

This transcript has been lightly edited for content and clarity.

Tell us your role at the new Moody Center and your philosophy on meeting and exceeding clients’ expectations.

I oversee these service and retention efforts for our premium clients.

I don't mean to say that we shouldn't ever exceed expectations because I think as service Individuals, we always are looking to exceed expectations.

When it comes to what we do here at OVG, especially when it's new properties and new buildings, and this new premium membership program, it's really easy to come in with a ton of ideas. I wanted to do things from my previous experiences, what I thought would really work well here and I still have a ton of ideas, but as we started selling this product and as we started seeing what this arena was turning into, the thing that I learned is that we had to look first what the product was that we sold.

How did it operate? What was the look and feel of our premium spaces? Would they match what we had shared in our vision and what we had thought this was going to be from the beginning?
When looking at this project specifically, it was how to meet expectations for these clients. How do we make sure that this membership works exactly how we told the story of how it was going to work before it was truly it?

From there it’s being able to exceed expectations. I can always add things. I can always look to create more value for our members and that's something that I think we always try to do from a service standpoint, but the hard part is if it's not working at its very core then it's really hard to add more things because the membership at its beginning stages is not really working.

More specifically, when we say “meet expectations and then exceed expectations”, that’s making sure our product worked exactly how we wanted it to work before we started adding all the other elements that we have over the last seven to 10 months.

Does OVG work within a consistent structure or philosophy across venues on operations or premium or any other pillars?

Our OVG mission is to have a positive disruption on sports and entertainment business as usual. It really flows through everything we do. For Moody Center specifically, we are the first private/public partnership with the University of Texas at Austin. And our premium membership has never been done to this level before.

Everything we do is geared towards challenging what has been done before. We ask, “Is it the best way? Can it be better? Is there a way that we expand on that?”

What premium or membership benefits are your clients desiring most these days and are there any that surprise you?

When you talk about benefits with membership programs, a lot of people have a list and especially regarding utilizing tickets. And we do go over that with all of our members.

But, we found that a lot of our members appreciate the autonomy that they have to manage their membership, to the point where they're even asking for more things that they can do instead of having to necessarily do all the transactional items through us.

I learned very early in my career that it's not necessarily a service to just do everything for your clients and to say yes to everything that they want to do because you're not giving them the ability to learn the resources to do those things themselves, especially if you're ever not available.

We've been setting up our clients for success by sharing the resources available to them. It's really helpful for them if you're not available that they know their options and you’ve taught them how to utilize their membership.

We make sure all of our members are set up correctly, that they're individually onboarded, that they have all the resources, that they know all the email addresses and all the phone numbers to call for assistance. They know our team as well, and that we are all available to help, that we all are going to handle situations the exact same way.

Is working on a college campus setting different from that of a major league or stand alone and venue and, if so, how?

There is not a ton of difference between working on college setting versus a major league. To some degree, we might make decisions that are slightly geared more to our location, and having a partnership with the University of Texas, who we are in constant collaboration and communication with.

On our client side, they buy tickets for events coming to Moody Center. Their membership is based on everything from the programming standpoint we bring into this arena. Season tickets to Texas basketball are sold through the university. So, there is a slight difference from a major league venue experience, a different kind of membership.

From a venue standpoint, we run all operations for our events and for basketball, with each event dictating how we operate.

What's the most fun or one of the most critical pieces that you'd like to share about that?

My favorite part of venue openings is working with all the teams across OVG. It's a special thing to be part of an opening.

We come in from different arenas, organizations, or pillars within OVG, and we come together to help our local counterparts get up and running. Everybody is just there to help.

My first arena opening was Climate Pledge Arena. While doing a tour with one of my local counterparts, we walked through one of the club spaces and Tim Leiweke, our CEO, is in there hand-washing all the tables. He had cloths everywhere, in all the pockets, had this little spray bottle, and was wiping everything down. I realized in that moment (and at every opening since) that it's really an all-hands-on-deck mentality.

If a venue doesn’t have time to count all the bar stools, a team member makes sure that they're all there. If they need us to run tours, help with media, put together goodie bags, we're there, an extra set of hands, eyes, and ears. I'm grateful to be a part of it.