Ontario Soccer is one of the oldest sports organizations in Canada founded in 1901 with over 500,000 registered participants. Ontario Soccer provides leadership, advancement and development opportunities for players, coaches, and other stakeholders. Ontario Soccer is a member of Canada Soccer and is a member of FIFA the world governing body of soccer. Ontario Soccer has 21 district offices and several associate members within regional and provincial leagues. The Ontario Soccer headquarters is located in Vaughan Ontario, with indoor and outdoor soccer facilities.
From my experience many years ago customer engagement with soccer associations including Ontario Soccer was done mainly through face to face encounters, with prospect members/customers this included players, coaches, match officials, and soccer clubs. Customer Engagement was done primarily through meetings, distribution of flyers, and events such as soccer tournaments. Presently customer engagement has changed drastically with the use of Social Media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Additionally the Manager of Communications at Ontario Soccer reported they also use Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and Meltwater.
Customer Engagement Interview with Ben Rycroft, Manager, Communications at Ontario Soccer
What tools and Social Media technologies are you using to engage customers?
- We use the following platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Additionally we use Tweetdeck, Hootsuite and Meltwater – which is a social media listening tool.
Who is your target audience i.e. fans, teams?
- Our target audience is our members. We aim to create touch points with everyone within our membership. From Clubs, districts and academies down to match officials, coaches and players.
Do you target your customer via digital (social media) or physical (in person) channels?
- We do both. We have a robust social media program and we also run a weekly e-newsletter with all our latest news. Ontario Soccer also uses a bulletin system which is sent to all our members that keeps them up to date on changes in programming, upcoming events and everything they might need to know.
Do you understand the gap between your customer needs and your delivery and how do you improve and prioritize satisfaction?
- As a governing body, we don’t have what you would consider traditional customers. To a certain extent, our membership are our customers. We meet regularly with key stakeholders to quantify their needs and create responsive action to service any perceived gaps.
Lessons for Others
In my opinion the ultimate goal in Customer Engagement through social media in both FIFA and Ontario Soccer is to create a relationship between members, including soccer clubs, academies, players, coaches, match officials and fans. It offers opportunities for immediate sharing of news, videos, pictures and how teams are performing locally and worldwide. By using the most popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube both FIFA and Ontario Soccer are enhancing their Customer Experience and increasing Customer Engagement. The activity count in these social media platforms usually increases significantly when important soccer tournaments are scheduled.
Industry: Soccer (aka Football)
Name of Organization Contact: Ben Rycroft, Ontario Soccer Manager, Communications. Gianni Infantino, FIFA President
Authored by: Jaime Salinas
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