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Vancouver and the fine art of customer service

Nat Bailey Stadium

The Vancouver Canadians (short season A; Northwest League) have quietly been one of MiLB’s biggest success stories in recent years. The reason why? An emphasis on customer service.

We’ve always been fans of Nat Bailey Stadium, the classic ballpark with a classic grandstand design, a scenic locale and lots of history. Rather than railing against Nat Bailey’s issues, the current C’s ownership has embraced the ballpark and worked against the limitations. For instance, the grandstand concessions area tucked under the seating will never have a view of the field, but the C’s put money into improving that area. Similarly, the seating has been upgraded and signage improved.

All of this would be meaningless if there weren’t one other big change: an emphasis on customer service, an emphasis cited by the local newspaper as being key to the resurgence of pro baseball in Vancouver. It’s a crowded sports marketplace in Vancouver — the NHL obviously rules, but outsiders don’t realize how well junior hockey draws, MLS soccer attendance is solid, and there’s always lots of interest in the CFL — and the Canadians are doing quite well despite all the competition. From The Province:

Part of it, too, is give a damn. It’s palpable at the Nat. The kid who shows you where to park smiles and says he hopes you have a good night, and he makes you believe it.

The ushers inside the door practically offer to Sherpa you to your seat. You stand there in the concourse for more than 10 seconds and you look the least little bit confused and there’s somebody in C’s garb offering to help you, like they were psychic and had predicted it was going to happen.

You matter. That’s what it comes across like. It resonates with people. It has to. How often do you feel like that these days? Common courtesy used to be a lot more common.

Customer service is an area where MiLB really can distinguish itself in the marketplace. The great teams do it already; other teams should as well.

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