Meeting Report - August 2012
16 August 2012
6pm - 8:30pm
Mark Rowan, Dave Biggar, Carena Duffy, Tom Woolley, Christine Prior, Helen Mayo, Hollie Costigan, Tony Bott, Kathy Keig, James Lyon, Phil O'Rourke, Sandra Hughes, Brian Scorgie, Alan Rawlinson, Liz Forster
1. Review of Action Points
Notes from a meeting between Mark Rowan and Tony Bott held during close-season were circulated to the Forum. Outstanding agenda items from the previous season were discussed and updates provided where appropriate.
1.1 It was confirmed that the removal of the loyalty points system was discussed at the Supporters' Club Forum on 30 July. The Forum agreed that it had been communicated effectively that the system is to be removed but asked that the statement of loyalty points amassed is removed from eTicketing when making a purchase. Club confirmed that the ticketing site was updated earlier this week and the points allocation should no longer appear.
ACTION - The Club will remove any mention of loyalty points from eTicketing.
1.2 Forum requested a further update on improvements works at Goodison over the summer months. The Club confirmed larger jumbotron screens will be fitted in the stadium for the first game of the season, which will offer a better viewing experience for supporters and more interactive content will continue to be evolved throughout the season.
1.3 Forum requested an update on the proposed Walk of Fame outside the stadium. The Club confirmed that work is ongoing with Liverpool City Council and the Walk of Fame should be installed ahead of the Merseyside derby in October.
1.4 Tony Bott explained that he will visit 5-6 departments within the Club to gain a greater understanding of day-to-day activity and he will provide feedback to the Forum at a future meeting.
A document with the content for the Fans' Forum landing page on evertonfc.com was presented to the Forum. The Club confirmed it would be amended on the website once approved by the Forum.
ACTION: Forum to approve landing page content.
A PR plan for the Fans' Forum recruitment drive was presented and the Club confirmed it was a guideline of activity to be undertaken to raise awareness amongst the fanbase and generate a larger number of applications.
The 2012/13 meetings calendar for the Fans' Forum was distributed to all members.
2. Club Partner Introduction
Club explained new partner StubHub were invited to the meeting to provide further information on what they can offer supporters and how their system works. StubHub is due to launch ticketing system in September so will attend the next meeting to answer any queries.
3. Mystery Shopper
Members of the Fans' Forum completed the mystery shopping exercise at the Stoke fixture on 4 December 2011 and the Fulham fixture on 28 April. The Club provided a comprehensive update on the feedback collated from the exercise.
The feedback was worked out on a points basis and overall, the Club's performance was rated as 64% at Stoke and 68% at Fulham, showing a slight improvement between the two fixtures.
Feedback was collected from all areas of the stadium, excluding the Lower Bullens. ‘Betting' and ‘Programme Sales' received the lowest scores at both fixtures. The Club has a new programme designer for the 2012/13 season and all feedback has been passed on to improve the service for this season. With regard to betting, supporters were finding better odds elsewhere and it was not clearly communicated where to collect winnings.
Stewards were by far the best performing department with 77% across the two fixtures. They were described as helpful, friendly, and welcoming. A point was raised that stewards did not escort supporters to their seats if they queried its location but the Club confirmed that they are advised not to leave their dedicated posts in the stadium. The only negative feedback was a lack of knowledge on other areas of the Club, for instance whether the Box Office was open after the match. In response to this feedback, the Club is developing a hand-held guide of helpful information for each steward, which will be updated on a regular basis.
Food and beverage was the second-highest scoring department overall, slightly ahead of retail. Staff were described as polite and friendly. There were some points raised regarding staff not apologising for the length of waiting time, prices too high, and an incident of hot food running out in one area of the stadium. All feedback has been passed to Sodexo so that they can improve the service for the forthcoming season.
Retail was rated as 70% overall, with staff described as courteous, helpful and speedy.
Overall, with the exception of stewards, there were some inconsistencies in other departments so the Club is working to ensure there is a consistent approach to customer service.
The Premier League also conducted a series of mystery shopping exercises and stewarding was rated 94% overall, and food and beverage was rated 90% overall. Similar points to those raised by the Fans' Forum exercise were highlighted by the Premier League in terms of queue management and they were particularly positive about stewarding. The Club were rated as 11th in the Premier League mystery shopper results and is hopeful that the results will improve again next season.
Forum agreed that there are some inconsistencies in customer service across various departments and this could have an adverse affect on the results.
4. Four Pillars Update
The Club provided an update on the Four Pillars project.
Staff from various departments have formed dedicated focus groups for each of the Four Pillars and are continually working to improve key areas of the business. The Four Pillars are: Easy to Buy From, Memorable Matchday, Knowledge and Information, and Ownership and Participation.
Essentially, the project is bringing together activities that the Club carries out on a daily basis in a structured format to ensure feedback is collated and there is a constant focus on growing the fanbase and providing a better service to supporters.
The Knowledge and Information team is working on a number of areas, including: progressing the single sign-off procedure where supporters can purchase various products online in one transaction; sending a bi-weekly email to all staff on key news/developments within the industry; and analysing data to profile how supporters behave so that the Club can better service their needs.
ACTION: The Forum requested a quarterly update on the Four Pillars project. The next update to be provided at the November meeting.
Forum member highlighted that on occasions, they receive three emails instead of one so data needs to be updated. Club confirmed that data is constantly updated.
ACTION: Data Manager Paul Nash to investigate.
Club provided an update on mobile ticketing. The system is now in a live environment for testing and mobile ticketing will be promoted to the wider fanbase in the coming weeks. Forum confirmed that they were impressed with the trial run of the system.
5. Everton in the Community 25th Anniversary
Carena Duffy and Tom Woolley provided an update on the fundraising and awareness strategy for Everton in the Community's 25th Anniversary celebrations. The fundraising target is high and the charity is keen for as many supporters as possible to get involved.
CD outlined that the charity welcomes suggestions from supporters on the type of fundraising activity that they would like to get involved in, and it can then be facilitated, where possible.
Engaging with Supporters' Clubs, the Fans' Forum and utilising the Club's media platforms are key priorities to raise awareness.
Forum discussed various ways that supporters can get involved and suggested an event that is accessible to all, such as a ‘Party on the Park' event at Goodison over the summer months. They agreed that focusing on one large event could have a greater impact.
Club confirmed that the Ownership and Participation focus group is developing a series of activities to reward loyal fans and the 25th anniversary campaign can dovetail into these events. Forum discussed popularity of player lunches at Goodison Park that were delivered some years ago and agreed that increased activity to bring players closer to supporters would be welcomed.
Forum suggested increased use of Goodison for various events but Club confirmed that it has not proved successful in the past, with the open training session not well attended.
ACTION: CD and TW to provide update at next Fans' Forum meeting
ACTION: CD and TW to investigate possibility of arranging a fundraising golf day at a local golf course
ACTION: Forum members to bring fundraising activity suggestions to next Fans' Forum meeting
6. Council works outside the stadium
Forum highlighted that complaints had been received from disabled supporters regarding the pavements on Goodison Road.
The Club confirmed that the matter had been raised with Liverpool City Council but the pavements have been declared fit for purpose. The Council is ultimately responsible for the pavements outside the stadium but the Club has asked the Council to reassess their safety.
ACTION: Club to contact the Council regarding complaints received by disabled supporters about the pavements on Goodison Road.
7. Update on Season Ticket sales / Season Ticket offer
The Forum requested an update on whether the reduced priced Season Ticket for kids had an adverse affect on the amount of revenue generated.
The Club confirmed that the objectives of the Season Ticket campaign were to: reduce churn; increase the number of supporters who upgraded from Half Season Tickets to full Season Tickets; increase the number of Season Ticket holders; increase revenue; and reward loyalty through various discount schemes.
The number of Season Tickets sold already for the 2012/13 season is 5.61% higher than the total number sold last year. All other objectives have been achieved.
There are more adult and over 65s Season Ticket holders than last year, and sales of junior Season Tickets are up 21%. The ‘fiver for kids' offer will continue for the Capital One Cup game against Leyton Orient. It was discussed that the Forum was involved in making the decision to offer reduced prices for kids/juniors and the collaborative effort shows that the system is working.
Forum asked if the Club could explore the possibility of dropping over 65s to over 60s, and also introducing photo identification on seasoncards. Club confirmed that the possibility of photocards was investigated but it would be a cumbersome and expensive process.
Forum confirmed that lots of positive feedback had been received from supporters who were able to move their seats at the Blue Seat Day and felt that the Club had helped significantly to meet their requirements for next season.
ACTION: Forum suggested that an update is provided to supporters via the Club's media platforms to communicate the positive sales of Season Tickets for the 2012/13 season, once final figures are confirmed.
8. ID for Under 16s
Forum questioned why the Club requested identification for concessionary Season Tickets.
Club confirmed that identification was requested to ensure the system could not be defrauded and as a knowledge-gathering process to allow the Club to communicate with supporters in an appropriate way. To date, 93.6% of supporters has provided proof of age and all those who had not provided identification will be contacted by telephone ahead of the Manchester United fixture (Monday 20 August) to confirm that Season Tickets would not be processed on the day of the match.
Club also confirmed that a security crew will be in place on matchdays to target those who are still attempting to compromise the ticketing system.
9. Club communication during the summer months
Forum asked why there is less communication from the Club during the summer months, particularly after finishing the season on such a positive note.
Club confirmed that evertonfc.com and social media platforms are still updated daily throughout the summer and the monthly magazine, Evertonian, continues to be published. However, statistics show that less supporters visit the official website during close season as there is a natural break from football, particularly this summer with the European Championship and Olympics.
ACTION: MR to review Club communication during the summer to ensure momentum, where practical, is maintained from season to season.
10. Club feedback on Nike contract
Forum confirmed that some supporters had been unable to purchase certain sizes in the new kits and training ranges.
Club confirmed that the number of Ladies shirts sold historically account for much less than 5% which is significantly below the minimum order quantity required by Nike. Therefore it would not have been cost-effective to produce a Ladies shirt. Also the Club has asked Nike to consider producing at least one of the 2013/14 season shirts in a ladies version.
Also, as evidenced by previous sales history (which is significantly below the minimum order quantity required by Nike), there simply isn't sufficient demand for the away kit for younger age groups. However, the home kit is available for children over the age of 3, and non-Nike branded baby pyjama products is available in the home colours for under 3s.
The Club is working closely with Nike to approve the designs of the 2013/14 shirts.
Forum highlighted that there were limited sizes in the training range too but the Club confirmed that this was due to the high levels of demand.
Club assured the Forum that issues experienced by supporters have been highlighted and the Club is in discussions to rectify with Nike and Kitbag. Also, Kitbag wish to attend a future Fans' Forum meeting to explain their plans for the 2013/14 season.
ACTION: Forum asked that the feedback from the Club is clearly communicated in the meeting notes to ensure the wider fanbase are aware that the issues have been discussed and are being dealt with proactively.
11. Everton Place / Dixie Dean statue
Forum suggested that the Dixie Dean statue is transferred back to its original position.
ACTION: Dave Biggar to suggest proposal to the senior management team.
Forum also discussed creation of additional statue to honour Club legend(s). Forum agreed that there are a number of legends that should be honoured in this way and that it would be appropriate to have a statue located at the North end of the stadium.
ACTION: Club to give further consideration to an additional statue.
Forum highlighted that some supporters had experienced difficulty in accessing the limited betting offer currently available from the Club's new partner Paddy Power. The link from evertonfc.com was working correctly but there were issues in accessing the bet on Paddy Power's official website.
Club confirmed that Christine Prior has been seconded to the Media and Communications team to assist with the Ownership and Participation project and moving forward, will attend Fans' Forum meetings. Carena Duffy was thanked for her contribution over the last few months.
Flags in stadium
Club asked Forum members to inform their network of supporters that their homemade flags can now be displayed at Goodison Park.
ACTION: Forum to distribute information to network of supporters.
It was confirmed that four new members will be recruited, with the application process due to be launched w/c 20 August. Forum agreed that at the end of November (2012), all members will have served one year on the Forum, and those members that were invited to return to the Forum last year will be selected to step down via a short straw poll.
ACTION: All members asked to consider whether a new chairman of the Fans' Forum should be elected each year or every three years? This will be added to the agenda of the next meeting.
Forum discussed that the Club is improving the system to collect customer numbers from supporters' at point of sale. Supporters' Clubs are now requested to provide the customer number of each member and this is an ongoing process.