CM.com has spelled out how it hopes to make Glamorgan County Cricket Club a “beacon of light” as to what the sports experience can be, through a partnership between the two organisations.
The cloud software company last month agreed a deal to become the exclusive ticketing partner of Glamorgan, which calls Sophia Gardens home in the Welsh capital, Cardiff.
Ahead of the 2023 cricket season, Glamorgan has committed to delivering an enhanced customer experience for its fan base, selecting CM.com to implement a new ticketing approach.
The company aims to set a “new precedent” for what a ticketing platform can offer by streamlining every aspect of event organisation. “The new precedent refers to what we can deliver for our clients,” Sam Windridge, head of sport and partnerships at CM.com, told TheStadiumBusiness.com.
“We genuinely offer a one-stop-shop for ticketing, Customer Data Platform, payments, mobile ordering, customer service, chatbots and omnichannel marketing messaging. Everything’s in one place, and that’s unusual.
“Our precedent isn’t about just selling a system; it’s about finding out how people use the system and making sure they’re using it to its full potential. We offer so many routes to success that there’s a solution for everyone within our offering. It helps that our onboarding process is second-to-none; we provide a partnership. We don’t sell a solution and say, ‘get on with it,’ we assess what you want to achieve and actively work with you to achieve your goals.
“In any digital transformation project, there’s a lot to get your head around, but we can support and iron out the bumps in that process. That really matters in the sports space because you have relatively small teams trying to achieve a lot of complex goals with comparatively limited resources.”
CM.com’s integrated marketing and customer service platforms will be used by Glamorgan as part of the multi-year deal, which will see the club replace its existing ticketing solution with the CM.com platform. This is mobile-first and combines smart audience analytics with in-event mobile order capabilities.
The deal covers all domestic competitions, international matches and women’s cricket matches hosted at Sophia Gardens, with CM.com having already targeted several areas for improvement.
“They have well-established solutions with longevity in the market that are well known, so that’s a real positive,” said Windridge (pictured). “In terms of weaknesses, there are a number of areas that we can improve upon.
“The back-end system and reporting functionality are a real area for potential improvement, even basic elements such as only being able to search for a ticket purchase by name rather than via any input field. For example, searching via a unique identifier like a phone number rather than a name saves the customer service team a huge amount of time.
“Another area where we can improve the current process is for bespoke ticket purchase journeys and upselling. You’ll typically have a three- or four-step purchase process, but we can add a fifth or sixth step to increase basket value.
“They might want to offer merchandise as a special offer during the purchase process, or a hotel stay, or even some hospitality. They can do that really simply within our ticketing platform. Or keep it simple with minimum steps and then vary it from event to event.”
With the deal being signed as the 2022 cricket season swung into action, CM.com has said it will initially be looking to work with Glamorgan to improve its systems ahead of the 2023 campaign.
Looking ahead to the new season, Windridge said: “They’ve got cast-iron fixtures and they’ve got cast-iron on-sale dates, so the absolute priority is the onboarding process. We’ll be looking at price plans and seat manifests but then also at integrating with their other partners to work towards on-sale.
“Our customer success manager model is a lot more ‘hands-on’ than you’d get anywhere else. We’re about relationships and building together rather than this ‘we sell you stuff and write code, but we don’t really want to know about your problems’ attitude that you often get in the tech space.
“We’re very much focused on the club at the moment, but when it comes to on-sale, we’ll be talking about the fans’ experiences way more. Ultimately, we need to make sure the supporters are happy and have a great experience when they use the platform for the first time in September.”
Windridge believes that tech innovation in the sector has been driven by stadium and event operations requirements of late, with the rights holder the focus. CM.com is seeking to flip this narrative by targeting the fan experience.
He explains: “I think a lot of the tech that’s come about in the last four or five years has been driven by security, commercial sensitivity, or COVID-19. They’re all necessary evils or, in the case of COVID, things no one could plan for, but none of them makes for a great fan experience.
“In fact, technology has, in some ways, added complexities and barriers. People don’t necessarily want to download an app to access their ticket. In short, recent advances in technology seem to have been for the benefit of the right holder, not the supporter.
“So what we’re doing is putting the fan and the supporter first by saying, ‘you can search, receive and retrieve tickets in a really simple way, and you can use WhatsApp or SMS to talk to the club’. We’re asking, ‘how do you want to access your tickets?’ Or ‘where do you want to communicate with the club, and at what time?”
“We don’t want to force people to resort to email or have to download an app. Traditional thinking may be concerned this will lose data, insight or reduce security measures. In fact, the opposite is true. By giving the supporter the choice as to when and how they interact with the club or access their ticket, rights holders can build up a richer, more genuine picture of their fanbase.
“A major part of customer experience is that personalised journey and we can facilitate that with our Customer Data Platform. All outbound communication can be personalised and customer service agents can see the whole history of any enquiry at the press of a button. The next step in the journey is about pulling in third-party event notifications, such as traffic or weather warnings as we move forward into the next phase of development.”
As CM.com looks to bed in at Sophia Gardens, Windridge believes that in the long-term, the opportunities open to Glamorgan will lie in the ‘smart’ use of technology.
He added “I think we can be this ‘beacon of light’ as to what sports experience can be in 2022 and 2023. It’s about understanding that you don’t have to throw a boatload of money at everything to create a great experience.
“Amazing customer experience used to be the hunting ground of huge tier-one organisations like Spurs, Man United, or Ajax but now you don’t need all that money, you just have to be clever and spend what you have in the right way.
“We recognise that Glamorgan is an early adopter, so in the future we’ll be looking at things like payments and chatbots, but we’ll also be looking at using the technology in the right way to create incredible customer experiences, rather than just pushing technology for its own sake.”
CM.com is a sponsor of TheStadiumBusiness Summit, the world’s leading meeting for the owners, operators and developers of stadiums, arenas and sport venues, which will take place from July 5-6, 2022 at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester.