As we learned following Tuesday night's rainout against the Detroit Tigers, the team had originally reaffirmed its new position by notifying fans holding tickets that they would not be able to exchange them for an equal or lesser priced ticket to a future game of their choosing, based on availability of course, as had been the case in the past. Instead, fans were told the tickets would only be honored for the makeup game, which is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. local time on Thursday.
Naturally, this creates quite an inconvenience for fans who work day jobs and for those who have to travel a great distance to attend. The flawed policy led to a public backlash that became so strong on Wednesday, the team was left with no choice but to overturn it and go back to the more conventional — and convenient — policy of years past.
“We heard our fans,” Nationals COO Andrew Feffer said. “I think it’s always important from a customer service standpoint to listen. We responded quickly and decisively. We said, if our fans want that option for a future game, if it’s that important to them, we certainly want to provide that.”
It's not just important, it's essential to the many fans who invest precious time and money to attend one or two games all season. To make sure those fans get some value for their investment has to be the top priority, though understandably it's a difficult balance to keep as other fans are more concerned with keeping their original seat.
“Certainly our intention from the very beginning was to ensure our fans had the best seats and the seats that they had purchased,” Feffer said. “What we had found last year with a lot of our fans who were coming for future game exchanges, a lot of them were disappointed their same seats or same sections weren’t available as attendance had grown. It had always been our intention to make sure, as attendance grew this year, that that would be less of an issue.”
You can't satisfy every customer, but chances are you'll irritate a lot fewer when you give them options and take their convenience into consideration. The Nationals seemed to have learned that lesson, and to their credit took quick and effective steps to correct it.
Good for them. Better for the fans, which is all that really matters.
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