Imagine you bought a $800 ticket to the Super Bowl. The event takes place thousands of miles from your home, so you booked a flight and a hotel too. You’re excited for the game, but on the big day, you hear terrible news…
Stadium Employee: “Sorry, we can’t seat you due to a lack of seating. As an apology, we’re offering you $2,400, nearly triple your ticket price, and a free ticket to next years’ game.”
You: “What? $2,400? I spent close to $2,000 to get here, and you ruined my weekend! And my consolation prize is a few hundred bucks and a new ticket? Screw you!
Maybe that’s a little extreme, but you’d feel that way, right? Right! I would too, and that’s why the NFL screwed up. Let me explain.
The Superbowl XLV Seating Disaster
If you haven’t heard by now, 400 people, WITH TICKETS, were unable to attend Superbowl XLV because of a lack of seating. As an apology, the NFL offered a generous reimbursement (three times the face value of the ticket) and a free ticket to next years’ game.
I’m sure they meant well, but they committed a fatal mistake.
Think about it… People who spend $800 on a Super Bowl ticket aren’t hard-up for cash. They do, on the other hand, want the enjoyment that comes from seeing the big game live. So, do you think it was smart of them to offer money and a ticket as a replacement for a once in a lifetime experience?
If you said no, you’re right. The NFL didn’t offer enough, and that’s a mistake. A huge mistake.
Why The NFL Screwed Up
When you have a mismatch between what people want, and what you give them, you make people unhappy, and in some cases, resentful.
So, when the NFL threw chump change and a free ticket at people to make up for their mistake, they screwed up.
It’s all about customer intent. People go to the Super Bowl to see their favorite team play, a potential once in a lifetime event. If you ruin that experience, you must recreate another once in a lifetime experience.
For example, instead of just offering cash and a ticket, the NFL could have promised better seats to next years’ game. They could have also partnered with a major hotel company to offer free room and board. It would have been expensive, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to a Superbowl commercial.
Now on to the most important question…
The Lesson Behind The Seating Disaster
You’ve heard it before. It’s not about the money, it’s about the experience, and trust me, it’s becoming more true each day.
If you run a business, offering people a refund is the bare minimum. Sure, they’re happy to get their money back, but what will they do with that money? Will they spend that money with you again?
In the NFL’s case, probably so because there’s only one NFL. However, for most of you, you have fierce competition. Do you think those people will come back to you or flock to your competition?
Now what if you do more than is expected? Would people notice it?
What’s Considered Above and Beyond?
The short answer is, that depends…
If you made a small mistake, and caused a minor inconvenience, a refund should suffice.
When the stakes are higher, like with the Super Bowl, you must increase the compensation. A free ticket and a refund is the bare minimum, but a free hotel and free airfare to next years’ game would have hit the sweet spot.
What do you think? Did the NFL handle this poorly? How do you react when you accidentally inconvenience your customers? Do you go above and beyond to impress them? Leave a comment!
UPDATE: The NFL is now giving away a SuperBowl ticket to ANY Superbowl, plus an all expense paid trip. It looks like they’re finally doing right by their fans.