Customer Stories i9 Sports
At i9 Sports, Customers Are The Real Winners
As the first and fastest-growing franchise of youth sports leagues in the U.S., i9 Sports® is known for its innovation, integrity and impassioned coaching — just a few of its nine guiding principles. Listen360® is helping the company boost another i — insight into how its customers feel about i9 Sport’s service and programs. True to its company mission, it’s a win-win for everyone.
Scott Morgenroth, Manager of Franchise Business Coaching for i9 Sports, loves team sports but has a unique take on what it means to be a winner. “To us, it’s about inclusion, having fun in a safe environment and providing our customers with outstanding organization and communication. The more insight we have into our quality of service, the better our Area Developers [franchisees] can understand what’s working and what we could do better.”
Morgenroth says that in the past, i9 Sports used an outside firm to survey its customers twice a year. “The surveys were slightly cumbersome because they asked a combination of market research and customer satisfaction questions,” explains Morgenroth. “We only received an ‘okay’ response rate and the data wasn’t timely — it came in after the season was over. If we don’t know how our families feel during the season, we don’t have a chance to fix any issues they might have while they are still members.”
Three years ago, i9 Sports implemented Listen360’s customer feedback management solution throughout its franchise network. Morgenroth says the system has not only helped build loyal relationships and retain customers, it has also helped increase revenue 14 to 28 percent across its more than 750 locations.
“We’ve increased revenues 14 to 28%, renewals by 8% and are now responding to detractors 70 to 75% faster than before. It’s not always easy to make a call to an upset customer, but we understand the value of saving a family from leaving our team.”
— Scott Morgenroth, Manager of Franchise Business Coaching at i9 Sports
Listen360 is based on proven metrics that measure a company’s performance from the customer’s perspective, and analyzes that data to drive increased satisfaction, retention and growth. Here’s how it works: Listen360 automatically sends customers a feedback request with just two questions: “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?” and an open-ended request for customers to share more about how they feel. Based on their responses, the system organizes customers into three categories: “Promoters” are customers who would recommend i9 Sports to a friend; “Passives” are neutral; and “Detractors” are those with negative feedback.
Next, Listen360’s “Voice of the Customer” — a powerful, proprietary text analytics tool — scans customers’ comments for key words about likes, dislikes and concerns. The system categorizes the key words into meaningful themes and displays the feedback on easy-to-use dashboards, all in real time. With this level of detail, i9 Sports learns exactly how its customers feel about their experience and what action to take to address any concerns — while they’re still on a team.
“Listen360 automatically sends our customers feedback requests midway through a season, and we get responses immediately,” says Morgenroth. “That gives us a number of weeks to resolve any problems.”
Chris Dietrich, Program Director for i9 Sport’s company-owned location in the Tampa market, notes the value of Listen360 in turning customers around. “When I was managing our Portland, Oregon location, we received a feedback response from a member of a team who was very disappointed with her experience. It was our mistake. I called her right away, apologized and asked her for the opportunity to make it right. I offered a discount for the next season and explained how we were fixing the situation. Now she is a very loyal customer and has registered for every season since.”
ROI & Response Time Increases
During the three years since i9 Sports implemented Listen360, the company has seen revenue growth of up to 28 percent, renewal increases of 8 percent, and response time to detractors 70 to 75 percent faster than before. “It’s not always easy to make a call to an upset customer, but we understand the value of saving a family from leaving our team,” says Morgenroth.
A favorite feature of Listen360 is its Voice of the Customer (VOC) text analytics. “Early on, when we looked at the most frequent key words included in the comments — both positive and negative — one word stood out: coach. That became our top priority and we provided significantly more resources behind coach training. It made a huge difference in satisfaction because it was what so many customers were talking about.”
In addition, many Area Developers and program directors, such as Micah Nisley in Dallas/Ft. Worth, have started forwarding to coaches the positive comments from their teams’ parents. It’s an unexpected benefit that boosts morale. “I love that Micah is doing this,” says Morgenroth. “Positive feedback is motivating and an enthusiastic coach will contribute to a better game day experience.”
A unique attribute of i9 Sport’s Listen360 solution is that it allows the feedback to be broken down by sport. Recently, Listen360’s analytics showed that one sport’s satisfaction rating was about 10 percent off from the others. “We drilled down into the customer comments and realized that we needed to give more development to that program. It was our fastest growing sport, but without Listen360 we wouldn’t have known to shift our resources; we might have just lost business.”
Morgenroth adds that many of i9 Sport’s Area Developers are naturally competitive, and an unexpected advantage of Listen360 is its ability to motivate. “There’s a very strong correlation between our satisfaction scores and whether or not our customers will come back and recommend us to their friends. Listen360 gives us a powerful tool to help our network keep score. They are always trying to beat their own personal best!”