Frontline Employees Critical to Ongoing Customer Loyalty for Chicago Cubs

It took more than a century (108 years to be exact) for the Chicago Cubs to win a World Series, a dream that came true for Cubs’ fans a little more than four months ago.

Customer loyalty, or in this case, fan loyalty, has held steady for all those years between World Series victories for the Cubs.

What is the secret behind the Cub’s undying customer loyalty?

“Associates, especially frontline associates at the Cubs, have public facing roles that allow them to have daily interactions with customers,” Kelly Linstroth, director of marketing & fan insights for the Chicago Cubs, explained to Loyalty360. “Their engagement is critical to our ongoing customer loyalty success. Marketers can sit in a conference room all day and dream up interesting ideas to engage the customer, but it always comes down to brass tacks. For example, in my prior role at Walgreens, we piloted and eventually launched the nationwide Balance Rewards customer loyalty program. Our frontline operations staff were instrumental in creating a compelling, but more importantly, executable loyalty program.”

Linstroth said the Cubs are very proud of enhancing fans’ experience by providing exceptional service through the team’s Marquee Moments program—like celebrating a fan’s first visit with a First Timer’s Certificate, or delivering a surprise in-seat gift after discovering their special occasion on social media.

“Our associates are the key to this level of service,” Linstroth explained. “Regardless of their role, they’re empowered (and rewarded) to enhance the guest experience.” 

What’s more, Linstroth noted, the Cubs place a “great emphasis” on fan experience and loyalty, both within Wrigley Field and across various channels, giving fans the opportunity to interact with the team.

“From a marketing and product (ex: tickets) perspective, we begin every conversation by asking how this initiative will satisfy the fan,” Linstroth said. “Sample questions include: Does this message resonate with our fans? Will this feature improve the fan experience in some way? From a technical and data-driven marketing standpoint, the sports industry has made strides in recent years to follow the lead of other industries like retail and CPG, by being customer-centric and not product-centric. While I could give many examples, I believe our recent move toward mobile tickets is the timeliest example of our focus on customer experience.”

For the 2017 regular season, the Cubs will leverage the Ballpark app as their secure and convenient option for fans to use mobile tickets.

“The Ballpark app is’s official, free app for mobile tickets,” Linstroth said. “During our historic postseason run last year, we, unfortunately, saw several instances of fraudulent print-at-home tickets.  We had many loyal fans unknowingly buy invalid tickets on the secondary market, only to come to Wrigley Field unable to actually enter the ballpark. The Ballpark app will help decrease fraudulent tickets through its secure process and network. We also recognize our partnership with StubHub as the most reliable vendor for secondary market tickets. In addition to security, the Ballpark app also allows our fans to instantly share mobile tickets with friends and scan for entry into Wrigley Field. We eliminate the concern of having to track down friends to give them physical tickets or losing a hard copy ticket. We look forward to offering additional benefits via the Ballpark app to our fans over time.”

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