Last semester I had the privilege to take a new class being offered called Guest Service Professional. This new class was designed to give hands on, practical experience outside of the classroom and into the professional sports world. The class required us to work home Bills games in the guest service department while also working with a company called IMG, coordinating season ticket holder seat sales and installation of the seat cushions on Saturday mornings and Sunday home games. I will take you through the ups and downs of my personal experience, laying out the game day responsibilities of NFL guest services through the eyes of a graduate student.
If you have ever attended a Bills game, you know how exciting the atmosphere is: tailgating for miles, screaming fans, a sea of red, write, blue, and Zubaz, and fan loyalty through blizzards, rainstorms, wins and losses. The Buffalo Bills are known for their immense spirit and nutty behavior and making sure these fans have a positive NFL experience is the job of the guest service department, especially when it comes to making sure they are content with their seats.
This guest service experience required installation of IMG seat cushions for the season ticket holders. My fellow classmates and I would get a list of seats purchased weekly by season ticket holders and we would install them on Saturday mornings before a home game. Any seats purchased or seats needing repairs on game day would be taken care of before 12:30 pm. Any issues after this time would be handled and completed before the next home game. Game day responsibilities included us handling any problems with the seat cushions, installations, or seating concerns in general. Many of these “in general” seating concerns required us to move fans’ game day seats due to medical conditions, disabilities, duplicate tickets, and the all time favorite: fans vomiting on other fans from intoxication.
Although some of the fans were irritated and unhappy having been in these unfortunate situations, either having to leave their seat or having to forgo a game without their seat cushion installed that they ordered, all were compensated. During my experience working, fans were always moved to a different or better seat location or refunded for their seat cushion for that game, while also given free drinks and free food to accommodate them further. Although many of the seating situations can be unpleasant, it is rewarding to be able to offer fans an extra gift as a way of showing our sincere apologies for any inconveniences. Working in the professional sports industry, especially the NFL, it is crucial to keep fans happy and to continue to instill a positive brand image for the team. The Guest Service department for the Buffalo Bills does an incredible job achieving, implementing and instilling this mentality.