At the click of a button…

Well, here’s something new.

Bulldogs Aim For Smiling Faces At Foley Field<

Georgia Sports Communications/For Immediate Release March 21, 2018

ATHENS—–Fans at Foley Field will be able to provide instant feedback to the University of Georgia Athletic Association through the innovative HappyOrNot ™ terminals now in place at the stadium.

Starting with the Georgia-South Carolina series on Friday, March 23, fans will be able to communicate their level of satisfaction with restrooms and concessions at Foley Field with the push of a button. HappyOrNot terminals, which feature feedback smileys, have been installed. The Bulldogs have plans to add these terminals to additional venues for the upcoming season.

“This is the first step at analyzing and improving our customer experience at our athletic venues,” said Josh Brooks, Georgia’s Executive Associate Athletic Director. “We are able to get instant feedback from multiple locations throughout the stadium. We want our fans to have a positive experience when they come out to support the Bulldogs. One of our goals for Georgia Athletics is to have the best customer service in all of sports. In order to get there, we must analyze everything we do.”

Georgia is the first NCAA school to implement this system at an athletic facility. HappyOrNot was founded by Heikki Väänäen and Ville Levaniemi, and the company has more than 4,000 clients in 117 countries. Its clients include Microsoft, McDonald’s, London’s Heathrow Airport, LinkedIn, the British National Health Service (NHS), IKEA and Levi’s Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers. HappyOrNot is considered the global leader in instant customer and employee satisfaction reporting. Companies are able to improve their customer experience, relationships and fan engagement using the data collected from the terminals.

Brooks added that the terminals offer a quick and easy way for fans to provide feedback without having to take time to send an email or complete a long survey. Also, Georgia will have the ability to pinpoint responses to specific locations as well as compare reviews of restrooms and concessions throughout a venue.

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Christopher Lakos
UGA Sports Communications

They’re trying to care; I’ll give ’em credit for at least that much.  But this is a long way from an actual fix.  Sure, they’ll have more data and perhaps it will be specific enough to identify certain real problems.  The issue then becomes, so what?  Where does Butts-Mehre go from there if it’s sincere about aspiring to provide the best customer service in all of sports?

Look, if you’re not going to take the flood the place with trained personnel to improve service approach that marks successful venues like Disney or The Masters (hey, I’m not the one who brought up the best customer service in all of sports thing), then using automation to make your customer service more efficient makes some sense.  Of course, the devil’s in the details.  Receiving an alert from a fancy machine is one thing and fixing the problem is entirely another.  Sending a couple more untrained high school kids and/or their parents in to fix a concessions bottleneck that’s the result of the same kind of folks being overwhelmed by the crowd sounds more like slapping a band-aid on a boo-boo than an actual solution.

They’ve got a long road ahead of them, in other words.  This is just step one.

(h/t Marc Weiszer)



Filed under Georgia Football

29 responses to “At the click of a button…

  1. Those are used in the Hartsfield airport restrooms.

    It’s a step in the right direction, but the devil is in the details. Another one of those I’ll give the AD the benefit of the doubt on.


  2. BulldogGemes

    What’s the over under on how many games they will last?


  3. Bulldog Joe

    Hint: The unhappy ones are the ones who don’t go there anymore.

    Invest in a competitive team and re-establish the area where the students can congregate and enjoy themselves. It’s not difficult.

    Go to any other nearby SEC or ACC program (outside of GT or UT), look at their budgets, their ballparks, and the answers become obvious.


    • I don’t think this is about baseball in particular. This is about trying to identify service issues before they happen. If they roll these out in strategic spots in Sanford, it would be a big help. The cynic in me thinks they’ll only be available in the club seats and the suites.

      On your point about baseball, no doubt there will be some difficult decisions to make about Foley or a replacement if the program is to become relevant again.


  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    They have some merit in restrooms. Lots of men are embarrassed to tell management about That Guy, who couldn’t hit anything but the floor. Response time is the question.


  5. Augusta National uses an army of untrained high school and college kids during the Masters. They get some orientation training, but not much. They somehow pull it off. Why can’t UGA?


    • They get some orientation training…

      Then they’re not untrained, are they?

      You say it isn’t much, but my experience is that it’s enough.

      All of which isn’t meant to deny that your question is spot on.


      • I guess I should have said “mostly” untrained. Anyway, it is no secret that they are very picky about who they let work there. Smart, polite, hard working kids who are happy to be there is a good formula. They work 13-14 hour shifts by the way, in case you ever wondered.


        • RandallPinkFloyd

          May have something to do with the allure of Augusta National. If I were a teenager who loved sports, I’d view that as ‘fun’ work. As fun as work can be I suppose.


      • Debby Balcer

        My daughter worked there during high school. I is hard work with long hours but a different situation. There are lots of concession stands and the customer picks up what he wants and just brings it to the cashier. The only time there are long lines is at the beginning and end of the day at the main gift shops. The customer is happy just to be there so they are understanding about the lines. The restroom staff is not made up of high school kids. They do have more people cleaning the restrooms the UGA does per toilet though. The Masters does want its patron happy whereas UGA does not care if someone is there because they feel someone else will fill the seat.


  6. HiAltDawg

    I think this is a step in the right direction, especially since it’s one of the newer personalities in the Department


    • HiAltDawg

      Upon further reflection, I’m such a psychopath, I’ll probably go to a beisbol game at Foley for the first time in decades just to see if this works out. Depending on what SEC team I think the Diamond Dawgs will beat…


  7. Part of me wonders if this isn’t something Brooks is doing in response to the Notre Dame experience last year. My hope is that this doesn’t stop at him but somehow cracks through to McGarity’s thick skull/purse strings.


  8. AusDawg85

    A “Like” button for the bathroom. If only there was a way to use modern technology to send a communication directly to a person in charge to alert them to a problem that they, in turn, could immediately communicate to employees responsible for correcting the situation and react appropriately.

    Or maybe just walk up to a visible and engaged manager and explain the problem in person?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ChiliDawg

    I’ve seen these in airports and some restaurants. I don’t know about y’all, but when I’m leaving a public restroom, I’m not touching any buttons on the way out. I guess I’m a bit of a germaphobe.


  10. DeutschDawg

    This isn’t even Step 1, it’s baseline. The top sports clubs (and businesses) in the world do this as part of normal operations, not when things get bad.


  11. Nashville West

    Can you say “software glitch” or “gee, we got hacked” or the always popular “technical difficulty?” To paraphrase Rod Tidwell, show me the data.


  12. I can be convinced otherwise, but from someone in the customer experience industry, this whole thing sounds absurd. So they are going to install a machine to deliver unreliable (see above reasons why people wont hit a button in a restroom) quantitative data to be analyzed? This unreliable data won’t even tell you the reason for the dissatisfaction or satisfaction of the restrooms.

    A human being is a remarkable tool that can instantaneously analyze a situation (is the bathroom clean and fully operational?) and immediately make the appropriate fixes.

    This move strikes me as a PR stunt from an administration with more money than common sense….in another words, this “like” button is brought to you by the Georgia Way!


    • Macallanlover

      +1 There has been no end to the feedback received previously by decision makers, with specific detail. That has been famously ignored, or trivialized by rationalizations.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 92 grad

      Yeah, this screams of the new guy running his email to mcgoof “want an easy way to dump $100k AND make patrons think we care?”

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This is so fucking stupid. How about just getting your ass in line at the games and figure out what the gd problems are. Take notes… “I had to stand in line for several minutes and got annoyed… The person that took my order didn’t look me in the eye and was incompetent … My hot dog sucked…” Or, whatever the real problems are and FIX THEM.
    This is such dumbassedness corporate horseshit. Quit gloating about the equestrian team, sponging off Kirby’s success, and make some shit happen. Fuck.