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Manchester United Scoop Top Customer Service Award

Thu 19th Sep 2013 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

Manchester United have been rewarded for their customer service by VisitFootball, a joint venture between the Premier League and the national tourism board VisitEngland. 

A panel of industry experts from the tourism, football and customer service industries voted Manchester United the VisitFootball Club of the Year for their “stand-out customer experience”. Are you heading to Rio for the FIFA World Cup 2016? For all your betting needs and World Cup odds take a look today.

The Awards judges commenting on Manchester United’s success, said, “Champions on the pitch and now champions off it. Previous VisitFootball inspections showed that Manchester United already provided a superb supporter journey, but last season they really raised the bar.

“From the introduction of a 'Supporter Assistance Team' who provide additional help and advice for supporters on their arrival at Old Trafford, through to all their staff who provide excellent service at every turn, this is a stand-out customer experience. Not only are their people well-trained, efficient and friendly, there is a sense of safety and security that all adds up to a journey you want to go on again and again.”

Along with United, three other Barclays Premier League clubs are to receive awards for the quality of their customer care as part of a national scheme that is improving standards of fan experience at football stadia.

Liverpool received the Best Fan Innovation for their Family Park “which makes a day at the football much more than the 90 minutes in the pitch”, and Fulham’s staff won the Warmest Welcome award for being “a club where all departments are working towards a common goal of improving every supporters day out”. The fourth award, Unsung Hero, went to steward Jo Roberts of Wigan Athletic for her dedicated work with disabled supporters.

VisitFootball has adapted VisitEngland’s ‘Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme’, which is used to assess other tourist attractions such as theatres and museums, specifically for football stadia.

All 20 clubs in the Barclays Premier League were judged by a professional tourism assessor across eight areas of the supporter match experience, such as ticketing, stewarding, catering, toilets and the club shop.

For the Awards the panel brought together the marks and comments of the assessors from Live Tourism to determine which clubs and personnel offered the highest quality for Premier League football fans.

Richard Scudamore, Premier League Chief Executive said, “Premier League clubs are working harder than ever to ensure that when supporters come to a match they receive excellent service.

“Last season Premier League grounds were 95.3% full and we saw record adult and junior season ticket sales. That was down to some great deals but also because clubs are being more welcoming and listening to what fans want from their matchday.

“The passion and commitment of the fans is an integral part of the Premier League’s success and English football culture. The VisitFootball Awards won by Manchester United, Liverpool, Fulham, and Wigan Athletic demonstrate that not only do our clubs take looking after their fans very seriously but they are extremely good at it.”  

James Berresford, VisitEngland Chief Executive said: “The Premier League has already been playing its part over the last three years to improve its football welcome and they should be congratulated for taking this so seriously and the progress made so far.

“It's also important that football clubs continue to build on these improvements and we have certainly seen that Manchester United, Liverpool, Fulham and Wigan Athletic. If we want to show the commitment both the sporting and tourism industries have to providing fans with a high quality, highly memorable experience, then the Premier League VisitFootball is exactly the right signal."

The VisitFootball scheme covers eight areas of the match experience for the 13 million plus fans that come through Premier League turnstiles every season.
1. Pre-arrival – telephone and email enquiries, website content and ticket purchasing
2. Arrival – signage, approach to stadium, parking, stadium appearance
3. Pre-match experience – stadium layout, stewarding, pre-match entertainment, programme content
4. Match experience – quality of seating, information, stewarding, atmosphere, half-time entertainment
5. Catering – appearance, food quality, service, food range, cleanliness
6. Toilets – layout and numbers, maintenance, fixtures and fittings, ventilation, cleanliness
7. Post-match – ease of exit, signage, crowd control
8. Club shop – layout, range of merchandise, presentation, cleanliness.

For the VisitFootball initiative every club received two home visits during the 2012/13 season. Additionally there were pilot schemes looking at away support, accessibility for disabled people and hospitality. These pilots will now become permanent parts of the scheme. 


Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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