Baseball and The Customer Experience

First, let me state that I possess none of the talent of Frank Difford, George Will or Ken Burns when it comes to waxing about America’s favorite past time.  But, despite rumors about it being suplanted by the NFL, baseball still is America’s game; its favorite past time.

So, what does this have to do with customer experience?  In his book Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi talks about our migration from the Information Age to the Relationship Age.  Trust and conversation are crucial in this new economy.  I’ll say it a slightly different way.  Its the experience age, driving an experience economy. 

It hit me while watching the MLB All Star Game.  The pace of baseball creates the foundation for conversation and emotional connection that are at the heart of engagement.  At one point during the t.v. broadcast, the cameras found Steve Bell sitting on the wall chatting with a couple of young fans in between innings.  He had a bag of goodies he gave out including signed balls and baseball cards.  I thought “there is no other sport where you would ever see that happen“.  Why?  Because the pace at which other sports play just doesn’t permit it.

I see it when I take my son to ball games.  He hangs out by the dug out in between innings with his glove.  Players trotting or walking off the field look up and make eye contact with young fans, shake hands, toss warm up balls to wide-eyed little leaguers.  They make a connection.  They engage.  And those are the kind of experiences that create life-long relationships and indeed love affairs with baseball.

So if there’s one key lesson that baseball can teach about engagement and relationships that all businesses should heed, it is this. Slow it down. 


  1. Barry, I really enjoyed this post. As a fan of baseball AND the customer experience, I appreciate the emotional connections afforded by the slower pace of baseball, and the lesson there for business.

    Relationships happen when people take the time to listen, show interest, and make small gestures that can't happen when you're moving at 100mph.

    Thanks for making that connection.

    Jim Watson
    Portland, Maine

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