My Flypaper Mind Brenden Schaaf's opinions, ideas, comments, rantings, & minutiae

30Apr/110

Enchanted by the Kansas City Royals

View from our seats after our tickets were exchanged. What a gorgeous stadium!

I'm in Kansas City with a few family members to catch our hometown baseball team, the Minnesota Twins, take on the Royals.  This trip was planned back in the depths of winter as a way to celebrate my recent birthday while enjoying some outdoor baseball and a weekend out of town with my wife, dad, and sister.  Perhaps I am more aware of this given that I recently read Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki, but it seems like everybody in Kansas City is already practicing the art of enchanting customers.

The staff at The Hampton Inn has been fabulous, the service at a nearby restaurant called Tomfooleries was excellent (not to mention my new favorite, the peanut butter bacon burger), and even the clerk at a CVS near the airport seemed to be among the friendliest drug store employees I have ever encountered.

Above all, thought, I have found that the Kansas City Royals organization knows how to treat customers.

Every single person we have encountered from the staff at the Royals Hall of Fame and the concession workers to the usher tonight in section 419 have been incredibly friendly and helpful.  The usher tonight, for example, took time to tell us "we love when you guys from Minnesota come to town because you are such great fans" and he genuinely meant it.  I have never been told more than a couple words by an usher at Target Field so this is not the treatment I expected as a fan of the visiting team.  Except for one clown who had consumed too many beers prior to the first pitch, this has been how we have been treated all weekend in Kansas City by Royals fans, hotel and restaurant staff, and the Royals employees at the ballpark.

The most incredible example of going beyond expectations, though, has to be how we were treated when it turned out that I had mistakenly purchased tickets to the June 4th game instead of for tonight's game.  Arriving at the stadium gate, the scanner being used by the "ticket taker," for lack of a better term, beeped loudly and only upon inspection of the paper ticket did we find out that when I had purchased tickets back in March I had bought April 29th, May 1st, and June 4th (supposed to be April 30th).  Coincidentally the Twins are back in town in early June so I obviously chose the wrong Saturday when I was buying the tickets online.

We were directed to a nearby ticket window where I fully expected to pay full price for 4 tickets for tonight's game given that I was holding tickets for a game 5 weeks from now.  I'm quite sure that at any other professional stadium in America that is how the situation would have been handled.  But not at Kauffman Stadium (which is a great place to watch a game, by the way).

I explained my plight to the gentleman behind the glass and he quickly assured me that he could take care of me by exchanging my tickets for the game that was now starting in under an hour.  I was surprised that it was even an option but he cheerfully tapped away on the computer until he found us seats only one section away from where I thought we had purchased seats in the first place.  At one point he even said "I have 4 seats here but they aren't very good so I'm going to find you some better ones."  Wow!!  What amazing service!  His computer was slow and he was very apologetic, even though he was doing me a huge favor.  To top it off, this all happened while I stood there in a Twins jersey and my similarly adorned family stood nearby so it was clear that we were from out of town and were not there to support the local team.  Upon completing the transaction I was told to "enjoy the game" a phrase I heard repeatedly from Royals employees including those at the entrance to the parking lot and we were sent on our way with a cheery smile.  The service was so great that my wife actually went to the ticket window after I left and thanked the employee as well.

We ended up with great seats in section 419 and I was even given a $16 refund because the June game was a Premium Game and tonight's was not.  Most importantly, though, I saw and felt what can happen when a customer is truly enchanted and the Royals will be the team I cheer for except when they are playing the Twins.  My thanks to the employees of the Kansas City Royals organization and complements to the management for hiring and training such awesome people.  Now if only the Twins could win the final game of the series before we have to head back home!