Satisfaction Data With A Smile (Or Not)

Wells Fargo Center is latest to use HappyOrNot to gauge customer service

  • by Noelle Riley
  • Published: October 10, 2018

HappyOrNot allow guests to rate customer service through easy-to-use terminals. (Courtesy HappyOrNot)

Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center is capturing its customers’ satisfaction level with the push of a button.

The 19,500-seat venue, home of the NHL Flyers and NBA 76ers, deployed 75 terminals from Finland-based HappyOrNot throughout the arena. Each “Smiley Terminal” is equipped with buttons representing a smile, a half-smile, no smile and a frown, ranging in color from green for happy to red for not happy.

“In our world, you can’t improve what you can’t measure,” Brad Winney, general manager and president of HappyOrNot Americas, said in a phone interview from Finland.

The battery-operated machines are placed at bathroom exits, next to concession stands, in parking lots and basically at any location where fans encounter customer service.

Winney would not discuss how much the terminals cost venues, noting that pricing depends on a variety of factors, including the length of the contract, type of services included and overall scope of the project.

Measuring guest satisfaction couldn’t come at a better time for Wells Fargo Center, said Ben Schlegel, director of events for the venue.

The arena, owned and operated by Comcast Spectacor, is in the middle of a $250 million renovation, which “gave us the opportunity to look at the fan experience,” said Schlegel, who manages the guest experience department.

When the upgrades were announced, Schlegel’s team decided it was time to start gathering data on guest satisfaction, something that the HappyOrNot terminals help venue managers do — in real time if they choose to pay for that extra service.

Wells Fargo Center has terminals at all of its restrooms. The larger bathrooms have attendants helping guests, while the smaller ones don’t.

Schlegel and his team captured data the first day they used the terminals, for the Sept. 11 Elton John concert. Data showed that guests were less happy with their experience at the small restrooms without an attendant, and arena personnel now check those areas more often.

“It’s also a good tool for us to tell our staff how well they’re doing,” he said. “It’s a good check and balance on that program to see who does well and who needs help.”

Previously, post-event surveys used to collect customer satisfaction data generate a response rate of about 1 percent. Using HappyOrNot, that rate rises to 20 percent to 40 percent, depending on foot traffic and terminal location.

Schlegel also hired a guest experience manager and recently launched a guest experience council, with council members representing every department in the arena.

“We find that it gives the department buy in, because they’re a part of the direction we want to go,” Schlegel said.

HappyOrNot launched in 2009 and started its U.S. division in 2013.

The San Francisco 49ers were the first major sports team to use the terminals and have 100 of them at Levi’s Stadium, Winney said.

The University of Georgia installed terminals at its baseball field, Foley Field, earlier this year, then added them at Sanford Stadium, the 92,746-seat home of Georgia football, for the current season.

The SMG-managed Greater Columbus (Ohio) Convention Center installed HappyOrNot machines at its venue Sept. 13. The venue has 50 terminals at bathrooms throughout its 1.8 million-square-foot property.

“Even though most of the data collected has been positive, we are still gathering measurable and actionable feedback,” said Ryan Thorpe, assistant general manager for the facility, in a statement. “The data collected has allowed our team to resolve service issues while customers are still on the premises.”

  • by Noelle Riley
  • Published: October 10, 2018